Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 10th.

Friday. 12th.

Thursday. 11th. CFA Thursday. 11th. CFA
Thursday. 11th.

Morning cloudy, but mild. Went to the Office as usual, and passed my time in writing my Journal. Mr. Hurlbert is a man who was burnt 184out of his premises last Fall and now applies for this Store beneath. After a little conversation and some provisions on both sides, I let him have the Store and two rooms overhead for the sum of three hundred dollars, an arrangement which suits me very well, for the rooms above I cannot let for any other purpose, and now are better disposed of than lying waste.1 I immediately went to give directions to Hollis and the others for the purpose of beginning. This relieves my mind a little. If I could now only get rid of the other two houses. This arrangement compelled me to be very active and brisk in trying to get rid of the dust and rubbish which has accumulated in the garret above. I have been anxious ever since I was in the Agency to do it. I read consequently but very little of Mr. Williston.

Returning home, I found Miss Elizabeth Phillips passing the day with Abby. I forgot to mention the fact of the decease of Winthrop Gray this morning. He has lived a worthless life and leaves little regret behind him. The great misfortune of his life was the possessing too much property too early.2 I passed the afternoon in reading Demosthenes quietly and pleasantly at my Study. The progress I am now making is considerable. My spirits were a little improved today though still not excessively bright. I passed the remainder of the evening in finishing for my Wife the School for Scandal. The latter scenes of the Play delighted me as much as ever. The brilliant wit of them is astonishing. But after all there is more point than nature, though nature not exaggerated would probably on a representation prove very flat. After Abby retired, I sat up and read further Walker’s Rhetorical Grammar though I found nothing in it extremely remarkable.

1.

Jesse P. Hurlbert dealt in paper hangings ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831). His long tenancy in the Court Street building here begun, ultimately included the house in the rear and office space as well (M/CFA/3). For the two rooms, seemingly on the fourth floor, which he was allowed to use, for storage perhaps, he paid the increased cost of the insurance on the building.

2.

Winthrop Gray (1804–1830), a first cousin of ABA, was the oldest son of Mary (Brooks) and Samuel Gray. Having squandered “a considerable fortune” by “every species of dissoluteness” and contracting diseases brought on by dissipation, he died at “Tremont House” after surgery following convulsions. (CFA to LCA, 13 March, Adams Papers; Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 10, 12 March; Peter C. Brooks to same, 22 March; both in Everett MSS, MHi.)