Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Tuesday. 22d. CFA Tuesday. 22d. CFA
Tuesday. 22d.

Morning clear but rather colder than it has been. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied in my common avocations. I read a considerable portion of Williston with interest, though the Speeches did not strike me forcibly. They are of too temporary a character to please me. A part of my time was taken up in early preparation for sending in my Account Current, to my Father. I design it to be very thorough and satisfactory. The account was prepared as far as possible 112on one side, but nothing done in respect to the Letter to accompany it. My time was a little interrupted by the visit from Mr. Jones of Weston to bring me a little more of the proceeds of the sale of Wood at that place. This money comes in tolerably well. I do not know that now I shall want to receive any more, as the sum in my hands of my father’s is now quite large enough, and nearly all demands are satisfied. He gave me some unpleasant News about the Horses, saying that one of them was unwell. I am glad I did not take him and have the trouble of him. But I feel sorry that they should be getting sick. This is the worst of Horses.

I returned home at dinner time and in the afternoon studied Aeschines again after a lapse of some time. It grieves me exceedingly that I am unable to go on as I wish, but obstacles seem to be throwing themselves in the way constantly which only fret me to death. Patience is an essential requisite to a man, and although I had supposed that my experience in life had given me no trifling share of it, I do yet find myself frequently mortified by my want of it. I could not quite accomplish my regular purposes, as I went down to see the family, the regular meeting of whom happens once a week, and for this week with my Wife. These meetings are not pleasant from the circumstance that there is no community of feeling in the family. Edward and his Wife are entirely different from Chardon and his, and they all have no points of resemblance with mine. This consideration is deeply painful to me, for I see little in future so far as they are concerned to encourage my natural and good feelings which burn to disclose themselves.1 My own family are now removed from me and they have in some measure lost that interest in me the want of which I feel though my age deprives me of it. But enough of this. It answers only for a Journal, perhaps not for that. The time was passed tolerably.

1.

His dissatisfaction with his aloof posture at these gatherings of the Brooks family in Boston and Medford led CFA to believe that he was considered by them “a great nothingarian who has no better amusement than to sit silent, communing with the stars” (CFA to LCA, 13 Dec., Adams Papers).

Wednesday. 23rd. CFA Wednesday. 23rd. CFA
Wednesday. 23rd.

Morning at the Office. The Officer came and settled with me for Titcomb’s business which clears that Law business from my Docket which has been standing there for a very considerable time. I am very glad it is settled for it had worried me a good deal throughout the Summer.1 I went down to Deposit the sum on hand and to see Mr. Tarbell about the other little affairs which he had intrusted me. He 113directed me to wind up, so that as soon as possible I propose to make a close in the affair. I then met Degrand and found that he had not been yet successful in his transactions for me, which is a matter of trouble to me. The shares of the State Bank have fallen below par so that I gave more for mine than I could have got them at in the Market. But as mine is a permanent Investment, I think the advantage it afforded me in the smallness of the Number more than overbalances the difference in price. I then went to the South End of the Town to see Sharpe the Cabinet Maker and pay him the amount due to him, and to see Mrs. Bittner for the settlement of that demand. She is poor and makes a very long face. I was obliged to make a very short one. This with a visit from Titcomb to talk over matters was quite enough to consume all the time till dinner.

Miss Carter and Miss Gorham, Abby’s friends dined with us. I was out of humour. Afternoon, reading Aeschines and reflecting upon an excellent letter I have received from my Father.2 It is in the spirit of kindness. As a cousin of Abby’s, Miss Bartlett married to Mr. Walker the Clergyman of Charlestown,3 received her Company this evening, we went over with Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Chardon Brooks, a terrible bore but it was done to please Mr. Brooks. We returned shortly, and after a short Supper at Chardon’s, went home.

1.

On the suit against Titcomb, entered at Thomas Tarbell’s instance, see entry for 30 Oct., above.

2.

18 Dec. (Adams Papers). A reply to CFA’s letter of 10 Dec., on which see above, entry for that date, and note. He counsels perseverence in CFA’s tripartite endeavors and suggests: (1) that each part be made auxiliary to the other parts; (2) that CFA reconsider his aversion to theoretic writers; and (3) that in his writing CFA attempt more complex forms, differing styles, and then begin to publish without revealing authorship.

3.

Catherine Bartlett (b. 1797), niece of Mrs. Brooks, was a daughter of Dr. George Bartlett (b. 1760, apothecary of Charlestown) and Mary (Gorham) Bartlett (1767–1832); see vol. 2:168, 270. James Walker was to remain as minister of Harvard Church, Charlestown, until 1839, when he would become successively Alford Professor of Natural Religion and President of Harvard, 1853–1860 ( DAB ).