Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 24th.

Friday. 26th.

Thursday. 25th. CFA Thursday. 25th. CFA
Thursday. 25th.

Morning clear and tolerably mild. Went to the Office as usual and passed my morning in reading Williston and in business affairs. This Agency is far from being an agreeable business, so many little trifling 196demands and applications, and so much trouble about the rent. But as I have undertaken it, I will carry it through without any winking. Mr. Brigham called upon me to make arrangements respecting the payment of Money due on the Canal Notes.1 agreed to go to Quincy on the first of the month. A letter from my Father received this morning is in very low spirits and advises me to sell stock to make up my payments.2 I am sorry to see this kind of thing operating upon him for it portends more ominously to the ruin of his property than any thing I have yet seen. Mr. Isaac P. Davis called about the Picture of my Father.3 I recommended to him an arrangement with Mr. Curtis. Thus passed the morning.

Returning home to dinner, I found P. Chardon Brooks and his wife there according to invitation, and they dined with us. He is a clever fellow, but evidently feeling under heavy restraint with me. My own character is so grave, that he can make nothing of it. I wish to be on good terms with him as with all the other members of the family, but I fear it is more difficult work to be cordial than one might suppose. After dinner the time was so much consumed, that I had only time to finish two pages of Demosthenes, and a short time to read a debate carried on at the close of the Administration of Washington upon the Answer of Congress to his Speech.4 It is curious, as it developes the principles of the day and the very unfinished speaking of the men. I am somewhat amused by the sense of novelty which every Speaker appeared to experience.

In the evening, I finished Lalla Rookh to my Wife. It is a Poem of much glitter and some sweetness, of too much to cloy, and sicken entirely yet not enough to keep alive. The constant description is agreeable at first but gradually becomes fatiguing. Edmund Quincy also spent an hour or two pleasantly.

1.

Probably Josiah Brigham of Quincy, to whom JQA wrote on canal matters, 13 Jan. 1835 (LbC, Adams Papers).

2.

19 March (Adams Papers). The tone of the letter reflects the discomfort he was experiencing from a “hoarse Catarrh.” He wrote that the sale of State Bank stock was to be resorted to only if other sources of funds to meet the quarterly obligations on 1 April proved unreliable.

3.

That is, about a framer for the portrait.

4.

The debate in the House took place on 13–15 Dec. 1796. It was reported in Thomas Carpenter, The American Senator, or a Copious and Impartial Report of the Debates in the Congress of the United States... during the Present Session, Being the Second of the Fourth Congress, 3 vols., Phila., 1796–1797; a copy, with JQA’s bookplate, is in MQA.