Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 23rd. CFA Wednesday. 23rd. CFA
Wednesday. 23rd.

Morning after leaving Abby, I went down to the Office and sat reading Marshall a large portion of the time. As I become more regular I find myself better able to allot my time to my duties without obstructing or interfering with any. Mr. Hollis called upon me to tell me he had examined some of the repairs as required and made a report wishing me to go and see for myself with the Carpenter’s assistant whom I had required. I pointed out some time during tomorrow. Another person whose name I did not know called with a plate of the Meeting House at Quincy and to ask my opinion as to its Title. I was a little puzzled, for I felt modest about giving to it the proper name.1 Captain Willis Howes was the Master of a trading vessel between this and Alexandria and called to be paid the freight for certain boxes, which I paid. Mr. Carey sent a Man with Copies of my Father’s inscriptions to his Father and Mother, which I corrected and sent to Quincy.2

Dined with my Wife at P. Chardon Brooks’ where I was amused as I always am, for I calculate when there to do nothing but laugh. The strange originality of his character makes up for some defects in delicacy, and one is induced to smile at what could not strictly be approved. My dinner was a very pleasant one and as Abby staid until evening, I returned there to tea and remained there until near ten o’clock, listening and laughing for I seldom say much. They have been exceedingly kind to us and I feel much obliged to them, as I do not know that I please them—but I have heretofore said so much that I shall only go into needless repetition to continue. So we returned home.

1.

The “plate” was perhaps that made by Abel Bowen from the drawing James Kidder did of the new First Church building at Quincy, built according to 25JA’s directions and from his gift of a fund for its erection and the establishment of a classical school in Quincy. The building, dedicated 12 Nov. 1828, became known both as the “Stone Temple” and, perhaps more properly, as the “Adams Temple.” Bowen’s engraving is reproduced in this volume. See above, p. xi–xii; vol. 2:307; and Bemis, JQA , 2:111.

2.

Alpheus Carey to JQA, 23 Sept. (Adams Papers). On Carey and on JQA’s inscriptions for the marble monument to his parents, see vol. 2:399 and entry for 25 Oct., below.

Thursday 24th. CFA Thursday 24th. CFA
Thursday 24th.

Morning to the Office and then according to appointment to the Houses in Tremont Street to look at the roof of Mrs. Longhurst’s. I found there Mr. Trask who deals in Composition roofing work and examined it with him. From what he said I concluded to have both of them slightly done for the present. The Houses are hardly worth very thorough work.1 Returned to the Office and read Marshall during the remainder of the morning. Mr. Whitney the tenant in Court Street has notified me that he intends leaving that House,2 but I insist upon notice legally given. It is very wrong for a person to quit in such manner. But it seems now altogether probable that I shall have a number of these tenancies on my hands, as Orcutt also quits on the first of the month. I also passed half an hour in forming some kind of estimate of my late brother’s affairs. They turn out rather favourably for him.

After dinner I remained at home with Abby until five o’clock when by her request I went down and paid a visit to Miss Anne Carter. She is just recovering from a cold caught in the evening of my marriage in riding to town with us. She seems frail as a bruised reed, and does not give promise of a long continuance of life. But I said so two years since and she is not yet worse. I am partial to her as a friend of Abby’s, for she was a creditable selection. On my return I found Abby alone, and spent the remainder of the day and evening with her in conversation interesting to ourselves. My happiness still continues, increased rather than diminished by our temporary separation. May it long continue and may we feel ever grateful for the blessings we enjoy. I read to her in the evening Mackenzie’s short tale of Louisa Venoni,3 but it did not strike me as so pretty this time as upon a former perusal.

1.

Mrs. Mary B. Longhurst, dressmaker and milliner, occupied No. 103 Tremont Street at the corner of Boylston Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830, and below, entry for 3 March 1830). The accounts of neither 103 nor of 101 and 105, also owned by JQA, show any repair charges at this time. However, S. and W. Trask were paid $43.60 on 19 Oct. for undescribed goods or services (M/CFA/3).

2.

Prentiss Whitney’s annual rent for the store and the house in the rear of 23 Court Street was $300 for each. He was heavily in arrears in his payments on both. CFA’s difficulties with him extend 26through the fall and spring and are resolved only after suit is instituted. See below, entry for 27 April 1830; CFA to JQA, 2 Feb. 1830 (LbC, Adams Papers); M/CFA/3.

3.

“Louisa Venoni” by Henry Mackenzie is included (3:291–304) in the edition of his Miscellaneous Works (3 vols., Glasgow, 1820) owned by CFA, now in MQA.