Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 27th. CFA Sunday. 27th. CFA
Sunday. 27th.

Did not rise very early this morning. But I hope to be able to do so for my time now slips away exceedingly fast. For the two past mornings I had succeeded in starting early but again fell back on this. As I did not feel desirous of reaching Medford very early, I read a little of Brumoy’s Preliminary Discources and two of Blair’s Lectures upon Oratory which interested me very much.1 They are full of interest to a young man who like myself is endeavouring to fix some school for himself to pursue. And they contain much advice which had occurred to my mind spontaneously. The whole study is exceedingly fascinating, and if I could only give my whole time to it, I should be pursuing the most anxious wish of my heart. I feel favoured in many respects, by the independence which I enjoy, by the circumstances of birth and character which I need not be ashamed of. Now if I can fill up the rest of the outline, I can enjoy a respect and consideration in society to be excelled by few individuals in the Country. I can support the the name at least respectably among us.

But I was obliged to think of going to Medford and so at eleven, I 117started and going through Milk row and Cambridge arrived just before dinner. Found the family as usual, excepting that Mrs. Brooks appeared to me suffering, though with a better appetite than she has had. We dined, and went in the afternoon to hear Mr. Stetson who preached a tolerably sensible Sermon upon the close of the year; This gentleman has some power, but his great corpulency is a drawback. We returned and spent the evening at home quietly. I had little or nothing to do, so occupied myself in looking over the Pages of the New Almanac gotten up under literary patronage. But, I should have preferred to have been at home pursuing a more useful purpose.

1.

CFA undertook to read Hugh Blair, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, in pursuance of JQA’s advice to study some of the theoretical writers on oratory (above, entry for 23 Dec., note, and CFA to JQA, 3 i.e. 4 Jan. 1830, Adams Papers). Editions published at London in 3 vols., 1793 and 1796, are in MQA, the earlier having JQA’s bookplate.

Monday. 28th. CFA Monday. 28th. CFA
Monday. 28th.

The morning was cloudy when we arose, but it afterwards cleared up and became a beautiful day. One of those mild Winter days which make perhaps the pleasantest weather we have. We breakfasted and returned to town very pleasantly. It was very late however before I reached my Office. My time seemed scarcely a minute, for I found upon my Table two Letters from my Father which I read with much interest1—Though one of them in reply to my inquiries about the violated letter satisfied me it had been done at the Post Office. I had not done examining these when Richardson came in and sat some time with me. The time passed so rapidly that I did not profit at all of the morning. My only work was the accomplishment of a proper portion of Journal.

Richardson dined with me, and was very pleasant, and I felt more easily at my Table than I have commonly done. He did not remain long afterwards so that I had time to complete a portion of Aeschines. The invective is the feeblest part of this Oration. By men who were conversant with the facts it is not wonderful that he was condemned. Mr. Mitford however follows him as if a heated partizan was as good an authority as the most unbiassed Judge, because he was not contradicted in his assertions, though he well knew, that frequently the best mode of refuting assertions of an extravagant nature is by leaving them alone. It is not probable, had Aeschines possessed the power of answering Demosthenes, that he would have noticed many of the violent charges of the latter against him, though Mr. Mitford thinks 118differently. I read also one of the Prefatory Discourses of Brumoy upon the Greek Theatre.

As Abby was out this evening, I went to call for her at Mrs. Carter’s.2 Her friend Anne being word omitted to entertain her and Miss Gorham. I spent an hour there much in my usual way, without any benefit to myself or any body near me. I like Conversation but it must not be trivial. We returned early. The night was beautiful for the Season.

1.

21, 22 Dec. (Adams Papers). The first of these relates to the broken seal on JQA’s letter of 9 December.

2.

On Mrs. James Carter, mother of ABA’s friend Anne, see vol. 2:158. The Carters lived on Summer Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).