Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Tuesday. 2d.

Thursday. 4th.

Wednesday. 3rd. CFA Wednesday. 3rd. CFA
Wednesday. 3rd.

Morning cold but clear, latterly as a violent March Wind arose and dispersed the fog. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied the larger part of the time in reading Williston. The conclusion of Mr. Webster’s Speech came on however and I sat down to read it carefully. It appears to be an exposition of his principles in opposition to the doctrines at present advanced by South Carolina. It is in the latter part argumentative in a high degree, but after all the subject does not form a true foundation for so large and unwieldy a superstructure. I think it may be ranked high as a defensive operation, and in opposition to the host of things laid upon the other side, but in itself it has not the merit which many other of his speeches on measures are entitled to claim.1 I also made some progress in Williston, finishing the Speeches in the deliberative style and beginning the Judicial, with Alexander Hamilton’s defence of Croswell,2 of which I did not think much. I had one or two interruptions, one from a person who came to tell me that my tenant Miss Longhurst had closed her career as a Milliner in Jail, and I am a loser of five hundred dollars without remedy. So much for that besides having another House upon my 178hands. Hollis the Carpenter came and I settled with him for the Quarter ending February 1st. My store is about being on my hands too. All this is trouble, and expense, vanity and vexation of spirit. After dinner I went down to the property and gave directions for repairs in order to get them ready to rent again, as soon as possible. This is now a poor property. Pity it was not sold during the time when land was so high. I returned and read Demosthenes but not comfortably. Evening was passed in reading Lord Kaimes. His strictures are generally clear, but I feel unwilling to give up some passages which are favourites with me, though criticized by him.

1.

Printed as a supplement to the Boston Daily Advertiser for 3 March. See above, entries for 20 Feb. and note, as well as 27 Feb. and note. 20, 27 Feb. and notes there.

2.

On an indictment for a libel on President Jefferson, delivered in 1804 before the N.Y. Supreme Court (Williston’s Eloquence at 4:261–290).