Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 17th. CFA Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

Morning cloudy with rain in the afternoon and evening. It was warm and not exactly seasonable weather. I attended Meeting and heard Dr. Lowell preach a Sermon.1 It was not very interesting. My 135own thoughts were much occupied with the letter which my father wrote me received yesterday; and the advice which it contains.2 I have set about reading Lord Kaimes Elements of Criticism though with so many other things begun upon, I feel a little puzzled by this great diversity of things but hope in time to be able to accomplish all that I propose.

Much of my time was taken up in writing a Letter to my Mother.3 She was so low spirited in what she wrote that I think it only a duty to do what I can to assist her. I begin to suspect that all is not precisely agreeable at Washington to her, that the scene presents much she cannot admire and much she is not fond of thinking about. I aimed therefore at being light and airy in my style and at expelling blue devils from her mind. Perhaps I shall succeed as badly as heretofore for every letter I have yet written has brought me a very maussade answer.4 If so I must give up writing.

I heard Mr. Frothingham in the afternoon but was overpowered by drowsiness. The remainder of the evening was passed in reading the Continuation of the Life of Christ in Jeremy Taylor, Clarissa Harlowe to my Wife, and Lord Kaimes after she had retired.

1.

Charles Lowell was the minister of the West Church, corner of Cambridge and Lynde streets (vol. 2:395).

2.

11 Jan. (Adams Papers). Pursuing his suggestion that CFA read more of the theoretical writers on rhetoric, JQA had recommended Lord Kames along with The Philosophy of Rhetoric by George Campbell (2 vols., London, 1776), and the works of the Abbé le Batteux.

3.

A reply to her letter of 27 Dec. 1829 (both in Adams Papers).

4.

That is, sulky or cross. CFA is referring to the correspondence between them since his marriage. His efforts on this occasion seem to have been more successful; see entry for 29 Jan., below.

Monday. 18th. CFA Monday. 18th. CFA
Monday. 18th.

Morning at the Office. Weather tolerably cold. I dropped in to see how the Workmen came on and found Mr. Hollis tolerably busy at his Work. I begin to feel better satisfied with him than I have been. He seems to work with tolerable diligence which is the great thing. Mr. J. Y. Champney called upon me to pay me some rent though not as much as he owes me. I was glad to get any thing. I spent much of the morning for once in reading the Speeches in Williston only going out to try to find the residence of Mr. Trueman for the purpose of returning him a visit.1 I was not successful.

On my return I wrote my Journal and Mr. John Knapp came in to talk to me and give me some idea of the condition of the Boylston Market. His present proposition is to purchase an adjoining Estate which is offered to the Corporation, by which they in their limits will not be 136so confined. He came to know whether I would assent in the name of my Father if such an arrangement were to be made. I told him I could not tell but that I would write for information in time for the annual Meeting which will take place on the first day of February. Thus the morning passed and I returned home to dine.

I found Miss Julia Gorham with Abby who dined and passed the day with her. I wrote a Letter to my Father about this Market Stock,2 and spent the afternoon in reading Mitchell’s Preliminary Discourse to his Translation of Aristophanes. This is another digression but it cannot be helped and I hope to be through it soon. The work is very interesting though the political effect designed to be produced by the work rather weakens the deductions and Statements made of the Athenian character—Taken too in connection with Mitford who is evidently the basis of the writer’s views. There is yet much spirit in the style and a classical taste which is very refreshing. I accomplished the Discourse and a part of the translation of the first play of the Acharnae. The spirit is very well supported in it.

1.

Perhaps Robert Trueman, who lived at 3 West Cedar Street ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

2.

LbC in Adams Papers. The land adjoining the Market had been occupied by a rival market and was needed for expansion. The land had recently been bought at auction by two or three stockholders of the Boylston Market who now offered it to the company at the price they had paid. The proposal was to issue additional stock to the amount of the cost.