Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 4th. CFA Sunday. 4th. CFA
Sunday. 4th.

The morning was cool but clear. After some deliberation, we decided upon going to Medford, and as usual went in Mr. P. C. Brooks’ gig which we borrowed. Having arrived there, we went to Meeting with Mr. Brooks all day, and heard Mr. Parkman of Boston preach two Sermons. One upon the dangers of adversity, and another which though I liked parts of it, is entirely out of my recollection. Mr. Park-205man has certainly improved very much within a few years. He has parted considerably with an ugly whine he used to have, which made a sensible thing appear in his mouth silly. I am inclined to believe that this gentleman by reason of some eccentricities of appearance and manner has been very considerably underrated. After all, sterling merit lies in the mind and heart.

The remainder of the day was passed much as usual. I was occupied in reading several articles in the American Quarterly, Mr. Walsh’s production,1 which in this last Number has considerable talent, and smartness, though I cannot say that I admire much the sentiment in one or two instances. The Evening was passed in conversation with Mr. Brooks who was very pleasant. His kindness of manner produces an effect to bind me here to attend him at least once a week, when much happens in regard to Charlotte which I would much prefer to have had omitted.


On Robert Walsh (1784–1859), of Philadelphia, editor of the American Quarterly Review, 1827–1837, see DAB .

Monday. 5th. CFA Monday. 5th. CFA
Monday. 5th.

The day was bright and clear. We returned to town after breakfast, and I went to the Office directly. My time was taken up first in writing my Journal and next in settling my accounts. I went down to claim my Dividend upon the Stock of the State Bank which paid this morning at the rate of 2 and a quarter per Cent,1 a small matter but better than nothing. I received and deposited the sum. The rest of the morning was passed in reading though not without such interruptions as to render Marshall very difficult to understand. I cleared out the room opposite in order to have it ready to let. I had my Carpet shaken and set in my inner room so as to have it ready to occupy myself for the summer, and arranged my Accounts with regularity and method. Returned home and passed the Afternoon in reading Mr. Graham’s book, in that portion which relates to the State of Virginia. It is very well but it does not come quite up to my expectation, being for a shorter period than I had supposed and embracing much less of the Colonial History. The Account is however a fair one, as coming from an inhabitant of the old Country, and treats the whole principle with more of a philosophical and less of an angry turn than any preceding Writer. Why may I not attempt an Essay upon the subject.

I had time also to look over some Copies of papers taken by Mr. Sparks order relating to minutiae of the Treaty of 1783, but not in themselves over interesting. The evening was spent in reading Clarissa 206Harlowe, to which I gave a final close. It has taken more time than it deserved,2 still the book has merit, much thought and moral influence. I afterwards began my father’s Lectures upon rhetoric, and was surprised agreeably by them, for they contain almost every thing which in my new Articles, I had thought to have said, and express it much better. I never read them before.3


That is, at $1.35 a share (M/CFA/3).


Reading aloud in the evenings from Richardson’s Clarissa had begun on 31 Oct. 1829 and been pursued with fair regularity save for one hiatus (above, entry for 18 Feb., note).


Delivered by JQA as the first Boylston Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard, 1806–1809, they were published as Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1810. For a lengthier tribute, see CFA to JQA, 17 April (LbC, Adams Papers). See, further, Donald M. Goodfellow, “The First Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory,” NEQ , 19:372–389 (Sept. 1946). Of the three copies in MQA, one bears GWA’s signature and JQA’s bookplate; one was presented by JQA to TBA in 1810; and one is without indication of ownership.