Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 17th.

Friday. 19th.

Thursday. 18th. CFA Thursday. 18th. CFA
Thursday. 18th.

A beautiful morning. I took a vacation from writing today in order to give myself some variety. Office where I passed two hours as usual in examining Accounts and writing Diary.

At eleven I returned home for the purpose of taking my child Louisa to the exhibition of mechanical figures by Maelzel. He has made a collection of all the extraordinary pieces of workmanship which have occupied the attention of ingenious men. A tight rope dancer with music, a lady playing the piano, a boy drawing, and a little figure imitating the motions of reading, rising, bowing and sitting down. Besides these are a little spider, a lizard, a mouse and a man. The latter by far the most difficult and the least successful. This last cost three year’s labour and is not worth an hour’s. Yet the exhibition is a very curious one to grown people and pleasing to children.1 It lasted about an hour after which I returned to see Mr. Brooks and from there to Durand for the purpose of making an arrangement for his sitting.2

Home. The Afternoon and evening devoted to a perusal of the whole debate of 1790 which exhausts the subject. I noted all the points.


Although John Maelzel’s reputation had been won by creating automated novelties and spectacles for adult audiences (see below, entry for 16 July and note), he was also an early and successful deviser of entertainments for children, to whom he offered special attention ( PMHB , 84:72, 79–80, 82 [Jan. 1960]).


CFA, pleased with the portrait of 161his father, commissioned Durand to paint a likeness of Mr. Brooks as a gift for ABA; see entries for 22, 25, 27, and 30 June, below, and vol. 2:ix–x, above. The portrait is reproduced in that volume, facing p. 304.