Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 8th.

Monday 10th.

Sunday 9th. CFA Sunday 9th. CFA
Sunday 9th.

The morning was fine but cold, and there had been a slight frost which tinged the leaves of the Clover, but Mr. Brooks thought not enough yet to injure the buds. The air continued so cold however throughout the day as to make me think that it would not pass off without nipping the fine promise of fruit. We attended divine service and heard Mr. Newell the Clergyman of Cambridge who graduated there the year before me.1 He has been much praised for his ability and at College he stood high, but I confess that he very much disappointed me. It was artificial, laboured, and not striking. His thoughts were old and common place dressed very gaudily. Thus it is with many who are 232highly praised at Cambridge. They enter the world on too high a scale, and therefore run the chance of falling much more than rising. It is true that this is not always the case for great talent will force it’s way through every obstacle, but I cannot help thinking now as I did when at College that the safest way for a man distrusting his abilities was to begin small and attempt things gradually.

I passed my loose time in reading a review of Mr. Cambreleng’s report written at Baltimore, a pretty good thing and very thoroughly destroying all his sophistry. But Mr. Cambreleng is a thorough paced Englishman, turned New Yorker.2 Evening, Messrs. J. Brooks and Furness, neighbours of Mr. Brooks came in, and the former entertained me with his conversation as usual. I think he is one of the few men you can properly style original.

1.

Rev. William Newell, Harvard 1824.

2.

On C. C. Cambreleng, a spokesman for the Jackson administration in the House, see vol. 2:35, 74, 151. His anti-protectionist Report on the Commercial Intercourse with Foreign Nations delivered 8 Feb. as chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Navigation was ordered printed at government expense ( Niles’ Register , 37:422 [13 Feb. 1830]. In early April in Baltimore had appeared a pamphlet, A Review of Mr. Cambreleng’s Late Report from the Committee on Commerce, by “Mephistopheles,” i.e. Hezekiah Niles or someone closely associated with him in the cause of “the American system” (same, 38: 121, 137–138 [10, 17 April]). The charge that Cambreleng’s position was to the benefit of Great Britain rather than of the United States was included (same, 38:156 [24 April]).