Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 3d. CFA Sunday. 3d. CFA
Sunday. 3d.

The morning was bright and clear though somewhat colder than I had been accustomed to for the few days past. I had no time to do any thing at home, as we went to Medford according to agreement immediately after breakfast. I suffered a good deal from cold during my ride. But having reached there before Service began, we went down in the Carriage, and heard Mr. Stetson preach a Communion Sermon in which I did not take much interest. Then at home, time passed as usual pretty much. The afternoon, we again went to Meeting, and heard Mr. Hedge of West Cambridge, an old Classmate of mine.1 I listened to his Sermon with attention. It was prettily written, but in a style rather singular for a Country Clergyman, whose parishioners do not much understand the nature of the sublime and beautiful. Their philosophical heads turn much more upon the practical and the simple.

We returned home and found Edward Brooks and his Wife just come to pass the afternoon. They were lively and pleasant, talked about the Ball, and made the time pass so rapidly that I hardly was sensible of it. These are on the whole the most to my taste of all the family. After tea, Mrs. Everett and I went to Mrs. Hall’s to pay a short visit. They were all very dull and I was amazingly tired of my visit. Mary, the daughter is a Woman of strong mind and pleasing conversation but they are a doleful set at present owing to certain misfortunes which are upon them strongly.2 We left them and spent an hour 124with the Miss Osgoods, a pair of old maids, daughters of the famous Parson Osgood of well known memory. They are tinged with old and disagreeable prejudices which make them to me very unpleasant, but as they are kind to my Wife, I cannot object to them. Returned early and retired as usual.

1.

On Frederic Henry Hedge, see vol. 1:425 and DAB .

2.

See above, entries for 8 Nov. and 16 Dec. 1829.

Monday 4th. CFA Monday 4th. CFA
Monday 4th.

We returned to town as early as we could make it out, which was not however before 11 o’clock. The heavy rain which had fallen in the Night gave us a beautiful day, and the ride was pleasant, but I had not reached my Office before I found that my business called for me. A Number of persons had called to receive their dues upon the arrival of the first of the year. I was very busy in making up my Accounts, but a little disappointed in my receipts which were not very considerable. My Uncle, T. B. Adams called in and made the usual settlement at the Commencement of the Quarter. Mr. Gilson came in and settled with me as to the little Law business I had done for him.1 My Cash Accounts do not please me over much. There seems a deficiency in promptitude of payment, which I do not at all admire.

In the afternoon I called at Mrs. Foster’s to see Miss Abby S. Adams and pay her the Quarterly Interest. Stopped in at Miss Oliver’s but found her unprepared to settle with me. This business being done, I had barely time to go home and read a few pages of Sophocles, before it became time to go to the annual meeting of the Proprietors of the Athenaeum. This was the first which I had attended. There was little or nothing remarkable which happened. Col. T. H. Perkins was chosen President instead of Mr. Quincy who withdrew.2 I returned home and passed the Evening in reading Clarissa Harlowe to Abby, after which I saved time enough to finish my Letter to my Father.

1.

Perhaps Asa Gilson of Gilson & Foster, stablemen, of Hawley Place or Joshua Gilson of Gilson & Livermore, grocers, of West and Mason streets ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

2.

President Josiah Quincy of Harvard had resigned the presidency of the Athenaeum because of his “transfer to Cambridge.” On Col. Thomas Handasyd Perkins, see vol. 2:151. CFA took his elevation to the presidency as a mark of the shift taking place in the direction of civic enterprises to those who had acquired wealth in commerce, remarking that since the institution “is now supported by the wealth of the Merchants, it is but fair the most liberal among them should have the credit” (CFA to JQA, 3 i.e. 4 Jan., Adams Papers). By the application of such a measure, Col. Perkins was uniquely qualified. The building at No. 13 Pearl Street in which the Athenaeum was housed from 1822 had been the mansion of and was the gift of Col. Perkins’ late brother and partner, James Perkins. The construction in 1826 of the lecture hall and gallery in the rear of the library had been made possible by gifts of $8,000 125each from Col. Perkins and James Perkins, the younger, and by matching funds raised by subscription (Josiah Quincy, The History of the Boston Athenaeum ..., Cambridge, 1851, p. 70, 96–97). Abel Bowen’s engraving of the buildings is reproduced in the present volume; see above, p. xiv–xv.