Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday 25th.

Monday 27th.

17 Sunday. 26th. CFA


Sunday. 26th. CFA
Sunday. 26th.

It was seven o’clock before we reached Utica, so that Mr. Joy won his bet and the Champagne was procured and put on board. We stopped only long enough to walk to the Hotel and see the Newspapers. I thus failed in my intention of calling upon Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, a fortunate circumstance as it turned out, for I learnt afterwards her illness and death about that time.1 Utica appears a large and flourishing town and I somewhat regretted we had not an hour or two more to see it more fully. Here ends the beautiful Scenery along the Canal which continues along the line of the Mohawk for seventy miles.

The wild Country now begins which although uninteresting to others is a good deal so to me. We were now upon one of the long levels of the Canal of seventy miles so that we met with no delay, but passed through a series of small towns which have started into existence in consequence of the Canal traffic. We got rid too of the crowd of boats.

My experience on the Canal is that the conveyance upon it is of three sorts. That of Passengers exclusively which is done in boats designed for the purpose, called Packets which go with three horses and take precedence of all other craft. That of Passengers and freight together which is done by dividing the space in about equal portions and devoting the stern cabins to the former and the main hold to freight. Boats so built are called line boats. The third are the freight boats which are of two sorts—the one, common flat bottomed scows, the other what they call Lake Boats, to which a mast may be fitted and in this manner they may be used in the lakes or the Hudson River for sailing. These Lake boats come down heavily laden with plank and by their draught of water often get aground and thus embarrass much the canal transportation.

In the evening, we retired to bed earlier. Some little political chat. Mr. White and Mr. Curtis are both warm Webster men, but they said very little about him. I explained my democratic opinions somewhat at length2 I think any thing much better than concealment. And our wealthy people always appear to me to talk too superciliously.


The wife of Alexander Bryan Johnson of Utica was Abigail Louisa Smith Adams (1798–1836), daughter of JQA’s brother Charles.


In a move directed at Daniel Webster’s presidential ambitions, CFA had taken an active role during 1835 in effecting a coalition of Massachusetts Antimasons and Democrats to support Martin Van Buren; see vols. 5:xxiii, xxvi–xxvii; 6:xvi–xvii.