Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 29th.

Friday. 31st.

Thursday. 30th. CFA Thursday. 30th. CFA
Thursday. 30th.

Another very pleasant day. I went to the Office as usual and spent my time in preparing my Accounts for the Quarter, in writing my Journal and in continuing the Comments upon the Wise Men. All this took up much time.

The European news seems to give notice of an impending War,1 the effect of which upon this Country remains to be seen. Probably it may be favourable for England though striving will hardly be able to keep perfectly clear.2 I went in to see how Stocks were affected, and was surprised to notice the rise. They are enormously high.

I went to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham where Mr. Brooks also dined. It was very well, returned in the afternoon and found a Client, Mr. Champney in search of me. He wished to secure a debt of his, due by a Cabinet Maker for whom he had been building. His business occupied me for the afternoon and part of the evening. I made two Writs for him, read a little French with my Wife, and a little of Evelina, after which I went on with my Catalogue and read the Tatler.

1.

The latest dispatches from Europe indicated that affairs had assumed “a much more warlike aspect” and suggested that “a general war in Europe is at least probable.” In England Wellington’s ministry had fallen and there were disorders in London; on the Continent the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands had been effected with great destruction of property in Antwerp and a blockade of the Belgian ports by the Dutch, the death of the king of Naples had further unsettled matters in Italy, there had been further changes in the cabinet in France, Prussian troops were reported collecting along the Belgian border, and, most ominous of all, Russia was assembling a large army on her frontier and, it was rumored, had declared war against France, largely as a consequence of the overthrow of the monarchy and the accession of Louis-Philippe. Failures of banking houses in various cities accompanied the crisis. (Boston Daily Advertiser, 29 Dec., p. 2, cols. 1–2; 30 Dec., p. 2, cols. 1–5.)

2.

Thus in MS. By supplying commas following “favourable,” “England,” and “striving” a satisfactory reading is attained. The meaning would be as follows: Probably the effect of a war in Europe upon this country would be favorable, for England, though striving to keep perfectly clear of such a war, will hardly be able to do so.