Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

March. 1830. Monday. March 1st. CFA March. 1830. Monday. March 1st. CFA
March. 1830. Monday. March 1st.

The morning was much colder than any of the preceding for a very considerable number of days, and the ground was frozen hard and stiff. We started to return to town in Mr. Brooks’ Carriage with him. The riding was hard and rough. Having arrived we went directly to my Office, where I found a letter from my Father.1 It was long and quite pleasant, and revived me considerably. At the same time, I had a letter from Miss Longhurst my Tenant,2 declaring her inability to pay and throwing herself upon my mercy. Here is a deficiency of five hundred dollars at once, making over a thousand dollars loss of rent during this Winter, a circumstance exceedingly hard for my father’s funds here. But I must struggle along. This fact leaves another House 176empty for she must move, and I must do as well as I can with the House. But it is a little hard that all these things should fall at once upon me in the first taking of my Agency. I found the Store empty also. But I believe this is tolerably provided for. I was then occupied in writing my Journal and drawing my Accounts out for this month. Every thing in the way of rent is falling backward, and I am excessively disturbed about it. My demands upon the first of April it is now tolerably ascertained cannot be met by the balance upon this Quarter. And I had like a fool expected the surplus would be nearly two thousand dollars. So much for anticipation. My morning was pretty much taken up in this manner, and I returned to dine.

The Afternoon was passed in a useless though necessary labour—That which my father wished of having his name pasted into his books. My Wife and I were engaged all the afternoon and yet we accomplished only a small portion. The Evening was passed in reading Romeo and Juliet to my Wife—She never having read the Play, a singular circumstance being one of Shakspeare’s most beautiful efforts. I finished the three first Acts. This is a difficult Author to read aloud. He has so many breaks and bursts and difficult obsolete expressions. I did not feel fully satisfied with myself but hope to find in this exercise means of improvement. Afterwards Lord Kaimes. There was a considerable Fire seen in an easterly direction.

1.

21 Feb. (Adams Papers); on literary matters, particularly on oratory, ancient and modern.

2.

Letter missing.

Tuesday. 2d. CFA Tuesday. 2d. CFA
Tuesday. 2d.

Morning cold and Cloudy, making quite a dull day. I went to the Office as usual and was quite uninterrupted all the morning. My father’s Affairs trouble me considerably for now I have all my Tenants in arrears, and they do not come to me to make settlement but leave me to go to them, which is mighty disagreeable. Mr. Gay came to tell me that Whitney had put his case in their hands, and to beg that I would compound for three hundred dollars. I told him I thought it hard, but he said that I had better take it. Upon reflecting and consulting Mr. Kinsman I thought I would take 350 and will make the proposition tomorrow, as a final one, if rejected I then will refer it to my father and finally to arbitration, which will prevent going to Law. This is a monstrous disagreeable business but so it is.

I passed most of the morning in reading Williston and finished most of the Speeches of modern time in Congress, many of which hardly 177merit insertion in a Collection of Eloquence. The Speech of Mr. McDuffie however is an able effort, it stands well compared with the rest.1 Mr. Webster’s second part reached us this morning.2 It is better than the first and really powerful, but I cannot help feeling regret at the occasion being so small. As my Wife passed the day at Mrs. Frothingham’s, I went to dine there and had a time pretty much as usual. Returning to my room, I resumed Demosthenes but after such an interval that my relish for it today was injured. I completed my usual quantity however. The abuse of Aeschines is a little in bad taste, according to our present notions. He speaks of his Mother in a manner which would in these days provoke a duel. In the evening, I finished reading to Abby, Romeo and Juliet, and commenced King Lear, but my voice was so husky that I hardly did it justice. Afterwards I continued Lord Kaimes. Beauty of language.

1.

The fourth volume of Williston’s Eloquence contains speeches delivered in the House in Feb. 1826 by George McDuffie and Henry R. Storrs on an amendment to the Constitution to provide for the election of President and Vice President by a uniform system of voting by districts and to prevent their election from devolving upon the respective Houses of Congress (p. 97–192), and speeches delivered in Congress between 1824 and 1827 on a variety of topics by Peleg Sprague, Edward Livingston, James Barbour, Henry Clay (p. 193–260).

2.

Boston Daily Advertiser, 2 March, p. 2–3.