Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 24th.

Tuesday. 26th.

Monday 25th. CFA Monday 25th. CFA
Monday 25th.

The morning opened cold and dark, the weather moderating produced snow, and the day was dull throughout. I went to the Office but was not occupied so pleasantly or properly as I might have been. Mr. Gilbert called to let me know that he declined taking the House owing to the high rent, a thing I very much regret though I do not see how I can diminish it more in conscience. I then went to inquire how Mrs. Brooks was. Mr. B. seemed much discouraged and told me to go and ask Mrs. Frothingham to go out to Medford with him which I did and then returned to give her consent. I do not know what to think of the case, but I cannot help feeling as if it was not yet so bad.

Mr. Curtis called to see me to let me know part of the scandalous transaction of Petty Vaughan and the course thought advisable to be taken in the case by Mr. Lowell.1 Josiah Quincy also dropped in, for a minute only and did not seem able to say what he wanted. Returned home and passed the afternoon reading Mitchell’s Translation of the Knights with Brumoy’s remarks upon the same Play. There is great spirit in the Translation though the Comments upon republican usages are altogether unjust. He gives a dash, I notice at the Americans in one of his Notes, though manifestly ignorant to a great degree of our Institutions.2 This rather affects the correctness of his inferences in the others. Yet he is amusing. As to the merit of Aristophanes I have not yet made up my mind, but La Harpe’s opinion is deserving of consideration. My Cold was very severely upon my Chest all day, but I 143felt on the whole better. I read aloud to my Wife in Clarissa in the Evening. Edward Brooks and his Wife called to tell us his report from Dr. Stevenson, which was rather encouraging.3 I then read part of the Clouds of Aristophanes.

1.

John Lowell, although retired from active legal practice, had in 1817 successfully represented Ward Nicholas Boylston in England in an earlier phase of the protracted effort to recover the funds owed to Thomas Boylston’s estate (MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 2 [1835–1855]: 161). Following the failure of William Vaughan, Lowell was called into consultation on further steps. See JQA, Diary, 28 Jan.; JQA to Nathaniel Curtis and Mrs. W. N. Boylston, 4 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers).

2.

In an explication of Agoracritus, the type of vulgar and unprincipled leader of the people (“The Knights,” Act 4, scene ii), Mitchell remarks: “The picture itself is such as a republic only could furnish, and something like a parallel to it might, I believe, be still found in the free states of America” (The Comedies of Aristophanes, London, 1820, 1:274). The note does not appear in the American edn. (Phila., 1822), which CFA owned and which is in MQA.

3.

Dr. J. Greely Stevenson, whose office was at School and Tremont streets ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831), had been called to Medford for consultation upon Mrs. Brooks’ condition (Brooks, Farm Journal, 25 Jan.).