Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday 9th. CFA Sunday 9th. CFA
Sunday 9th.

The morning was fine but cold, and there had been a slight frost which tinged the leaves of the Clover, but Mr. Brooks thought not enough yet to injure the buds. The air continued so cold however throughout the day as to make me think that it would not pass off without nipping the fine promise of fruit. We attended divine service and heard Mr. Newell the Clergyman of Cambridge who graduated there the year before me.1 He has been much praised for his ability and at College he stood high, but I confess that he very much disappointed me. It was artificial, laboured, and not striking. His thoughts were old and common place dressed very gaudily. Thus it is with many who are 232highly praised at Cambridge. They enter the world on too high a scale, and therefore run the chance of falling much more than rising. It is true that this is not always the case for great talent will force it’s way through every obstacle, but I cannot help thinking now as I did when at College that the safest way for a man distrusting his abilities was to begin small and attempt things gradually.

I passed my loose time in reading a review of Mr. Cambreleng’s report written at Baltimore, a pretty good thing and very thoroughly destroying all his sophistry. But Mr. Cambreleng is a thorough paced Englishman, turned New Yorker.2 Evening, Messrs. J. Brooks and Furness, neighbours of Mr. Brooks came in, and the former entertained me with his conversation as usual. I think he is one of the few men you can properly style original.


Rev. William Newell, Harvard 1824.


On C. C. Cambreleng, a spokesman for the Jackson administration in the House, see vol. 2:35, 74, 151. His anti-protectionist Report on the Commercial Intercourse with Foreign Nations delivered 8 Feb. as chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Navigation was ordered printed at government expense ( Niles’ Register , 37:422 [13 Feb. 1830]. In early April in Baltimore had appeared a pamphlet, A Review of Mr. Cambreleng’s Late Report from the Committee on Commerce, by “Mephistopheles,” i.e. Hezekiah Niles or someone closely associated with him in the cause of “the American system” (same, 38: 121, 137–138 [10, 17 April]). The charge that Cambreleng’s position was to the benefit of Great Britain rather than of the United States was included (same, 38:156 [24 April]).

Monday 10th. CFA Monday 10th. CFA
Monday 10th.

Morning bright but very cold, for the season. There was a frost more severe than that yesterday morning, but whether it affected the fruit remains to be seen. This is certainly something of a drawback upon this Climate. We returned to town, but I felt cold and out of order all day. Went to the sale of Mrs. Humphreys things, but could not stay owing to the crowd and my disgust at being in such a place. Went from thence to the Office, after having given in my Probate bonds and obtained my Papers of Administration upon New’s Estate. I have now assumed this trust and hope I shall be able to carry it through, without making any mistake. The balance of my time was occupied in copying the Papers.

My afternoon was not spent profitably as I felt heavy and my Greek progressed slowly. I made up much of my deficiency however in the evening. It is a true test of the thorough character of study to review it soon after when the parts which were skimmed over will again present difficulty. But on the whole my former reading was pretty solid.


My wife was unwell all day. Her health is failing totally much to my regret. This is the first trouble of married life and the greatest, as it creates anxiety of the deepest character. The Physician has been attending her for months without apparently bringing about any favourable change.1 P. Chardon Brooks and his Wife came in and spent an hour or so in conversation. They are persons with very good feelings but I am sorry to say that the latter is a little dangerous. I must beware, for I sometimes as I did tonight say a wrong thing. It was again quite cold.


Dr. J. Greely Stevenson (M/CFA/9).