Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Tuesday. 26th. CFA Tuesday. 26th. CFA
Tuesday. 26th.

Morning bright but cold. The severity of our Winter is coming upon us quite rapidly. But it is now so far in the Season that luckily it cannot last very long. I went to the Office as usual, and was occupied in making up my Accounts and those of the agency. I called upon Mr. Brooks to inquire how Mrs. B. was and was told she was much the same. But they had hopes that she would now improve. I then went to pay Hilliard and Co. their Account against myself and my father. This being done, I went back to my Office and was called upon by Richardson who sat for half an hour talking but apparently in rather low spirits—His father being about to go away and leave him in charge of the family.

Mr. Tenney came up to tell me he had not got his security but would shortly have it and spoke so well and so confidently that I thought myself foolish for having got into difficulty about him. I think I have got rid of that concern. Now still remains the one in Tremont Street, and these Offices, which are matters for future meditation. Mr. Curtis also came in to show me Mr. Lowell’s Opinion about Mr. Boylston’s affairs. It is clear but a little discouraging. Returned home and after dinner occupied in writing a revised copy of my Essay in a book,1 and continuing the Clouds of Aristophanes. A most singular work—Especially the passage inserted in the middle of it, which would lead one to suppose that it belonged to some other Play, and requires many more perusals to become master of. Mr. Sparks then called upon me to 144ask about the papers copied, and left some which I looked over directly. They contain nothing but what is creditable to him in an extreme degree,2 in my mind. His patriotism was not exceeded by that of any man during the whole of our revolution. I read in the Evening a part of Clarissa Harlowe to my Wife though my Cold was so severe that I was unable to do more than grunt aloud. After she retired, I went on with the Wasps of Aristophanes.

1.

For his exercises in composition, CFA often used the blank pages in volumes in which GWA’s literary projects had been left unfinished. It was in one of these, GWA’s literary commonplace book, that CFA copied a version of his Essay on Eloquence (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 294).

2.

That is, to JA.

Wednesday 27th. CFA Wednesday 27th. CFA
Wednesday 27th.

Morning cloudy with a chilly air. At the Office as usual and for once without interruption and without particular business. Received a letter from my Father containing the Deed of the Boylston Estate to Gleason, and a Power of Attorney to me to appear and vote about the affairs of the Boylston Market.1 He expresses satisfaction at my manner of proceeding, which is all that I can possibly desire. I then went to see Mr. Brooks, first however going to return two visits—One to Mr. Trueman and one to Genl. Lyman which were due long ago.2 This being off my mind, I felt much better. Mr. Brooks said, his wife was a little better, but the physicians discouraged him by giving no hopes of a recovery. I have long foreseen this, though it is a most melancholy thing to think of. For his family are scattered to the winds immediately upon it. There is no more of that kind of union which has heretofore so strongly prevailed.

I passed the remainder of the morning in reading Williston, and was much pleased with the Speeches this morning, on the Embargo.3 There is much animation in them. They read better. The afternoon was passed in finishing the Wasps of Aristophanes of which Mitchell has made two pieces. They might well be so for all the connection they have with each other. I then read Brumoy’s version of the same pieces and after reading the Edinburgh and Quarterly Review I believe I shall have established a tolerable knowledge of the Old Comedy of the Greeks.4 I regret however that Mitchell did not himself translate the Clouds, for Cumberland whom he has followed though correct is a little tame. He gives one no definite idea of the peculiar character of the Poet. Brumoy is good in his criticism though Mitchell has transferred much of the valuable matter to his Notes. Read to Abby in Clarissa which on 145this evening was very interesting. It snowed violently during the afternoon.

1.

JQA to CFA, 22 Jan. (Adams Papers).

2.

Theodore Lyman Jr. (1792–1849), political enemy of JQA, preceded John T. Winthrop as commanding general of the 3d Brigade, 1st Division, Massachusetts Militia (“City Guards”) in which GWA had been a major. ( Mass. Register, 1827, p. 105; 1829, p. 107; on Lyman, see also DAB .)

3.

The speeches in the Senate, Nov. 1808–Feb. 1809, of William B. Giles and James A. Bayard are in Williston’s Eloquence at 2:391–410, 486–516.

4.

The articles would seem to be the essay on the ancient and modern drama in the Edinburgh Review, 49:317–361 (June 1829); the reviews of Frederick Schlegel, Lectures on the History of Literature, Ancient and Modern (principally on “The Clouds”), and of Thomas Mitchell, The Comedies of Aristophanes, in the Quarterly Review, 21:271–320 (April 1819); 23:474–505 (July 1820).