Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. 28th.

Saturday 30th.

Friday 29th. CFA Friday 29th. CFA
Friday 29th.

This was the coldest morning we have had this Winter—The Glass being at about zero. It is not often in this latitude that we have it much more severe, though we do have it as much so once or twice every season. I went to the Office and then called at Mr. J. H. Foster’s to select some Papers for the Offices in order to prepare them to let well. The Weather is not favourable for the repairs. Received a letter from my Mother in much better spirits, which rejoiced me very much.1 For I have so long been in the habit of receiving dull letters from her that this moderate one is quite agreeable.

My morning was passed uninterrupted by visitors of any sort. I read much of Williston, especially the speeches upon the admission of Louisiana, and had my opinion somewhat raised of the oratorical powers of Mr. Quincy.2 Called in to see Mr. Blake on the subject of the Militia, but as Chapman was indisposed, the Committee did not succeed in gaining a Meeting. Stopped to ask Mr. Brooks who reported things at Medford much as they were. Mr. Curtis called to speak of Mr. Petty Vaughan’s matters, and I then submitted the case to him concerning the Frame of the Picture, and agreed to write to my Father upon the subject. I did accordingly write the Letter in the Afternoon,3 and passed the remainder in reading a most interesting review of the Works of Demosthenes in the Edinburgh.4 The writing is masterly. It is wonderful to look at this and not be struck with the prodigious inferiority of our periodicals. And the reading only interested me the more deeply in the study of Oratory, fascinating in the greatest degree. I could now lay down my mind to the application with the utmost ease. My zeal is revived and much increased. The whole evening was thus taken up and I finished all my work except Lord Kaimes to whom I returned, but I shall be compelled to give more than one perusal to him.

1.

24 Jan. (Adams Papers).

2.

The speeches of Josiah Quincy (1772–1864) and of George Poindexter delivered in the House, Jan. 1811 (Williston’s Eloquence, 2:415–454).

3.

LbC in Adams Papers; see entry immediately preceding.

4.

The Auger translation was reviewed in three issues of the Edinburgh Review, 33:226–246; 36:82–110 and 483–516 (Jan. 1820, Oct. 1821, Feb. 1822). CFA elaborates his opinion on the series in a letter to JQA, 14 Feb. (Adams Papers).