Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. 14th. CFA Thursday. 14th. CFA
Thursday. 14th.

Morning misty but cold. The fog seemed to attach itself to every thing and freeze as it came, so that every thing presented a white and glossy appearance in the Streets. The grass had the white frost on it which we so often see in the Autumn and the Trees were clothed with uncommon beauty. I went to the Office and was engaged in overlooking my Workmen in the business they were about. They go on pretty briskly. But I heard something so much against the character of my Tenant that I felt very much depressed about it, and to counteract any danger of the kind drew up a Lease which will bind him. My satisfaction is that my repairs must sooner or later have been done, and so I shall not have been hasty. But my prospect of letting it will not be very good if I cannot get the present applicant to take it.

My morning was pretty much taken up in bustling without coming to any precise result. I went upon change, resolved to finish the affair of my father’s Investment and purchased five shares of the State Bank of Mr. Degrand at 59 1/2. This is reinvesting the money I paid for my Shares with one hundred and twenty dollars beside—All I can do.1 I then calculated my power of meeting the Note on the 29th and concluded to send to Mrs. Longhurst and try her as a resource.2 Returned home and passed the afternoon in reading, and correcting my Essay which I like less and less. When shall I ever be satisfied? But I corrected freely, and thought it was improved. I then read the first part of the Oedipe of Corneille which I thought tolerably poor.3 It is a Frenchified Drama, in the strictly ludicrous sense. The evening was passed at home quietly reading Clarissa without interruption, after which I had time to finish an article in the North American Review upon the American System.4


In GWA’s estate were nine shares of State Bank stock which upon settlement of the estate would become the property of JQA. CFA had purchased 133three of these shares from the estate at par in December mainly to provide cash needed in the Agency account at that time. Adhering to his policy of keeping Agency funds fully invested and taking advantage of the decline in the market, CFA used the cash which had accumulated in the interim to restore the three shares to JQA’s holdings and to add two more. The transaction was completed in the following week with the transfer of the remaining six shares in GWA’s name to JQA. (M/CFA/3)


Despite his failure to collect any part of the $405.49 by which Mrs. Longhurst was in arrears (CFA to JQA, 2 Feb., LbC, Adams Papers; M/CFA/3), CFA was able, on 28 Jan., to meet the due date of JQA’s sixty-day note to the executors of JA’s will.


CFA owned an edition of Oeuvres de P. Corneille published at Paris in 12 vols., 1824, now in MQA; “Oedipe” is in vol. 7 of this edition.


The (unsigned) article relating to British opinions on the American tariff system was by Alexander H. Everett, North Amer. Rev. , 30:161–216 (Jan. 1830).

Friday. 15th. CFA Friday. 15th. CFA
Friday. 15th.

Weather misty, and in going to the Office, I found the sidewalks so slippery as to be in a degree dangerous. I stopped at Mr. J. H. Foster’s to decide about a paper for the Entry and rooms in Court Street, talked with him a little and made a selection which might by some be thought tolerably pretty. Overlooked the workmen as they were going on, and felt satisfied on the whole with the Work. I have hurried them pretty rapidly and feel tolerably content so far. I then finished the draught of the Lease and delivered it to the proposed Tenant for reflection and consideration. He seemed so willing to take them that I could hardly entertain a suspicion. But in this world caution is an essential thing. I recommenced my Letter to my Father, but had only time to write one half of it before dinner—The time having passed thus rapidly without my being able entirely to account for it’s passage.

I was reminded that I had engaged to dine at Mrs. Frothingham’s. So I went at the appointed hour, and found assembled Mr. and Mrs. P. C. Brooks, Abby, a certain Miss Emily Lee and myself as the company. Being between the two latter I felt a little awkward and so did not enjoy myself over much. I felt much anxiety also weighing upon my mind in regard to this Agency business. After dinner I went down to the Athenaeum without much purpose and so I did very little. I looked over books and wondered how little I had read. My principal end however was to obtain a Catalogue1 which I did. I then read a large part of the third Volume of Captain Hall’s Travels and consumed my time until seven when I went in to hear Mr. Alexander H. Everett deliver his second Lecture. My opinion is very well settled that this is not his line. As a Writer he has few equals but his defect is that which is universal, in manner. I returned to Mr. Frothingham’s and after a little Supper we went home.


See entry of 30 Dec. 1829, above. An earlier catalogue of the Athenaeum’s books added before 1827 had been published in that year.