Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday 8th. CFA Friday 8th. CFA
Friday 8th.

Morning fine. I went to the Office as usual but was so much interrupted that I could do little of my reading. The first visit that was paid me was by Rufus Davis the revolutionary veteran whose business had been entrusted to me by my father. He is an odd looking character and full of the wildness peculiar to the poorest of that Class. I cannot say that I admired my Client but as I was obliged to pay him some attention on my father’s Account I thought I would do it out of Charity. I carried him to the Pension Office but Mr. Lilly, the person who had seen me and directed me how to act, was absent and nothing could be done so that poor Davis must go to the trouble of coming again and I must also again be bored.

A man came to apply for my father’s House in the rear of Court Street and in consequence I was obliged to go and look over it with him and look at it’s very miserable condition. I engaged to repair if he would take it, and he agreed to let it go till tomorrow before giving an answer. I was obliged to send for the workmen in order to go and see how soon it might be put in order for occupation. My talking with them consumed much time, and Mr. Jones coming in from Weston kept me afterwards for a considerable time after my regular season for dinner. I settled with him. Mr. Curtis called to give me a Deed to make out for the Boylston Estate. Thus was I full of occupation.

The afternoon was passed in reading Aeschines and after my usual portion of this, the Oedipus of Sophocles in the translations of Potter and Francklin. The time in this manner went rapidly until evening when I went down to hear the Lecture of Mr. A. H. Everett before the Society of Useful Knowledge. It was a historical view of the State of Society in the World, in which he examined the different doctrines of perfectibility, improvement, the reverse, and a stationary condition. His manner is tolerably good, but not equal to his brother’s. I was on the whole tolerably well satisfied. On my return I tried to read Clarissa but was prevented by Mr. Degrand, and Nathl. Hall who paid short visits here, the latter to take leave,1 so that we read but little of Clarissa.

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1.

Rev. Nathaniel Hall (b. 1805), younger brother of Rev. Edward Brooks Hall and nephew of Peter C. Brooks, was on the point of his departure for Cuba, having in his care his brother, who was ill (Brooks, Waste Book, 9 Jan. 1830).

Saturday 9th. CFA Saturday 9th. CFA
Saturday 9th.

Morning at the Office. Weather fine as usual. I was very busy all the time. Chapman sent over to me his report for the Debating Society which I signed as a Member of the Committee and returned. Then came the applicant for the House, who after some conversation upon the subject agreed to take it from the first of February at the old rent paid by Mr. Whitney, abating the Taxes.1 And I thought it wise to close with him at once and undertook to have the House prepared for his reception by that time. I then took up my Journal, after which the Deed which Mr. Curtis had left for me to do. This took me some time. Then I filled up an Indenture of Lease for my new Tenant to sign. Thus my whole time was pretty much occupied.

After dinner, I continued Aeschines as usual and came to the close of the argument, the Peroration being now the only part which I have to read. I do not like so well this close for it displays a degree of timidity not held before, and not becoming in a man who is Accuser, and has therefore brought his risk upon himself. I then sat down and attempted a continuation of my Essay upon Eloquence which I brought down tolerably well to a close, a few remarks only remaining to be added as generalizing. I read it all over and was better satisfied than I had expected. From thence I went to attend the meeting of the Debating Society. The subject this evening was not an interesting one, it was upon the question now agitating the Community of legalizing Medical Dissections by furnishing bodies to Physicians, from the Alms Houses and other Establishments where those die who have few friends to feel for them. The discussion was much more interesting however than I had expected and we were detained a considerable time by the Speakers upon it so that I returned not until ten.

1.

William Tenney became the tenant of the house at the rear of 23 Court Street on 1 Feb., remaining there until May 1833 and paying his $75 quarterly rent with punctuality (MCFA/3).

Sunday. 10th. CFA Sunday. 10th. CFA
Sunday. 10th.

The Weather we have so much enjoyed has at last come to an end. We arose this morning in darkness, with a storm raging without. I did not myself feel over well, and this is so rare an occurrence with me now that I feel restless under it. I did not go to Meeting this morning, but took the opportunity to write a Letter to my Father,1 containing a 129kind of Analysis of the Oration of Aeschines which I have just finished. I put some labour into this in order to show to my Father that in my reading I am not trifling. And though it is a little amusing that I should address such a thing to him yet I hope he will feel gratified by my exertion if not entertained by my subject.

My Wife was quite sick all day with a violent cold which weighs upon her. I went out in the afternoon to hear Mr. Pierpont preach.2 His sermon was tolerable. It’s difficulty was that it was not sufficiently clear. But he has much merit in his correctness of reading. I cannot say that I quite like his tones, or his breadth of pronunciation of particular words, but on the whole I was pleased. I returned home, finished four pages to my Father, and passed the Evening in reading Clarissa aloud. I was much fascinated with this part of the Book and began to think that Richardson merited his fame, an impression which I had not fully given to me, I admit, hitherto.3 But the conduct of Clarissa after her dishonour is a noble effort of the mind. I afterwards sat an hour continuing my Essay on Eloquence.

1.

Letter in Adams Papers.

2.

John Pierpont was the minister of the Hollis Street Church (Congregational), Boston ( Mass. Register, 1830).

3.

Thus in MS.