Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 18th.

Friday 20th.

Thursday 19th. CFA Thursday 19th. CFA
Thursday 19th.

My days now pass in so regular a routine, that I feel as if it was hardly necessary in my Journal to do more than repeat. I went to the 80Office as usual and translated and read a portion of Pufendorf as usual. I then read over what I had done and was satisfied with it. On the whole it appears to me clearer than the original from which I took it. This is not saying a great deal however in this particular instance. I paid my father’s Tax and service for this year and settled with Mr. Clapp, the Mason who has done my Father’s Kitchen at Quincy. This leaves me exceeding little of his Funds in my hands and a good many debts to pay. I wish his Tenants were better pay, and gave me less trouble. Mr. C. P. Curtis called upon me to inform me that Captn. Rogers whom I had sued on Henderson’s Account had accepted a Draught for one hundred dollars from Henderson and was therefore desirous of being discharged.1 I was very sorry for this as I had fully expected to obtain this Money. But in this present case the costs will be considerable and probably the satisfaction nothing. I returned home a little dull about it.

Afternoon occupied in reading and translating as usual in Aeschines and found myself at the close of the dry Argument upon the time when and place where a Crown should have been conferred in Athens, which constitute the two first points of the Oration. The remainder being more to the Character of Demosthenes and History of Greece will be more amusing, though I confess I think already he has made a good attorney’s case. As Abby was gone out to drink Tea, I took the time to read Potter’s Translation of The Prometheus Chained of Aeschylus. It appears literal and correct, and gives me a better idea of the piece than I could get from the original. I read La Harpe’s Opinion and that of Cumberland in the Observer. The former considers it as an Epic fragment rather than a Play, to which he says it has no pretensions, the latter admires it’s wildness and striking imagery. Such may be considered the distinct tastes of the two Nations which these Individuals represent, and a good comment may thus be afforded upon the Standard of Taste. I think myself the middle the best ground. The play is essentially poetical and not dramatic, but not more so than most of the ancient plays which have no possibility of assimilating themselves to our present notions of the drama. I called at Mrs. Dexter’s for Abby where we sat for a little while.2 It was rather dull and I was glad to get home.

1.

A reconstruction or the action in which Henderson was defendant must be conjectural and incomplete. Scattered entries in the Diary indicate that CFA, acting under instructions from Thomas Tarbell, who was himself acting for an unnamed principal, had entered suit against one Henderson apparently for debt. Henderson, in turn, seems to have been a creditor, being owed by Captain Rogers, among others. A trustee had been appointed to handle his affairs, but CFA had tried, apparently, to collect directly from his debtors some of the moneys due 81Henderson. His efforts in this direction were thwarted by Captain Rogers’ acceptance of Henderson’s draught for $100, thus making Rogers free of indebtedness to Henderson or to Henderson’s creditors. Having failed to obtain this money and not confident of his case in court, CFA finally offered a settlement of the claim for one-half the amount plus costs.

2.

Mrs. Catherine (Gordon) Dexter, whose late husband Samuel Dexter had been secretary of war in JA’s administration, was particularly fond of ABA; see vol. 2:160, 342. Mrs. Dexter’s residence at this time was at 1 Franklin Place or 28 Beacon Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830, 1830–1831, and entry for 20 Dec., below).