Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 30th. CFA Wednesday. 30th. CFA
Wednesday. 30th.

Morning at the Office as usual—The weather a continuation of the fine season of warmth we so unexpectedly enjoy. I was engaged nearly the whole of my time in copying my Letter to my Father and finishing the Accounts previous to their transmission. I completed every thing so as to feel rather awkwardly when Dr. Lewis came to pay his rent and wind up his Lease. I begged him to postpone it which is a prayer I seldom make in cases of payment. I am going to have some trouble with that House. From some cause or other, George had very little while he was in the Agency. And now it comes all at once upon me, with the repairs which it will be necessary to make to put1 upon the Houses so as again to rent them. I wrote fully upon the subjects and 120intend as far as possible to relieve myself from responsibility in the matter. Many persons called upon small affairs of different sorts too numerous to mention.

I had only leisure to look over a small portion of the Catalogue of the Athenaeum which is just now published.2 There are many good books, but too many which seem to have very little value attached to them. I suppose this a fact necessarily resulting from the Constitution of the Corporation, by which popular works are demanded, to please the taste of Proprietors who read only those. Returned home, and having wasted an hour of the afternoon in paying attention to the affairs of my Wine Cellar I read a considerable part of Aeschines. Having left off the slow process of translation, I go on faster, but my schemes and my projects are so numerous that they puzzle me a little. In the evening, I read to my Wife a portion of Clarissa Harlowe where it is becoming most interesting. We were interrupted by Edmund Quincy who spent an hour in conversation in a very tolerable manner.


Thus in MS.


Catalogue of Books Added to the Boston Athenaeum since ... January 1827, Boston, [1830]. The extensive additions suggested to CFA that the institution had “incurred very heavy expenses in large Collections of Books” (to JQA, 3 i.e. 4 Jan. 1830, Adams Papers).

Thursday. 31st. CFA Thursday. 31st. CFA
Thursday. 31st.

Morning Cloudy with a little rain, but yet quite warm. I went to the Office and was busy nearly all the morning in making up my Bills against my Tenants for the ensuing Quarter. My accounts on the whole present a pretty fair prospect. I have increased my Property a little during the past year, as well by my own efforts as by my father’s kindness. But it still remains a little problematical to me whether the proceeds of my Income will entirely defray the expenses of my family establishment. We have as yet sailed before the Wind, having had no heavy expenses to weigh upon us. But when they come I shall then feel as if there was a trial to be made, and what may prove a severe one. It is my endeavour now so to increase my resources as to be able more firmly to meet any such events as may happen, and to be able to ease off the load of my dependence should it happen to press too hard, at any future moment. My Father’s Affairs here look tolerably well.

My time was so nearly taken up with all this that I only read a few pages of Mr. Bayard’s Speech on resisting the aggressions of France, and that not with the attention which the subject deserved.1 Returned home and spent the Afternoon in reading Aeschines as usual with 121whom I made great progress. Received a very pleasant letter from my Father, and sent him my own business Letter for the close of the year.2 Thus the day passed agreeably enough. In the evening I had but a short leisure to read any of Sophocles in the Translations of Potter and Francklin,3 for we were invited to a Ball of the Bachelors of the City. We accordingly went at the Hour of Nine and passed three Hours in dancing as usual upon occasions of a similar nature. I did not enjoy myself as much as I had expected. I do not know why because there were many young Ladies who seemed to be pleasing. But my wife was not well and for the first time I found that my situation was essentially altered. I was no longer the unmarried man. And there was a tedium and ennui attending what I did which had not formerly been the case. I was glad to get away and so was my Wife.


Probably CFA is referring to the speech “On the necessity of resisting the agressions and encroachments of France” delivered in the House in May 1797 by Robert G. Harper, the only one on this subject included in Williston’s Eloquence.


26 Dec.; CFA to JQA, 31 Dec., LbC (both in Adams Papers). CFA’s review of the year, while noting some favorable developments in the Agency, dwells upon the depressed state of Boston real estate in 1829. He reports that rents have fallen by 25 percent within six months, that four or five hundred houses and stores are vacant, this of his own knowledge and on the authority of Mr. Brooks.


In MQA, along with the translation by Francklin, is R. Potter’s translation of The Tragedies of Sophocles, Oxford, 1819.