Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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.

Friday 25th. CFA Friday 25th. CFA
Friday 25th.

Morning rainy and unpleasant. After lounging at home as usual considerably longer than I should have done properly, I went to the Office and passed some time quite uninterrupted in reading Marshall. I found little or nothing today however which struck me as new. Called upon Mr. Brooks for the sake of the visit, conversed upon his intentions for the Winter and regretted to find that he intends remaining there.1 This makes me feel thankful however that I had not another Winter to go through in my character of suitor. Mrs. Brooks is wrong in remaining there and it will much surprise me if she survives the season. Her spirits will not stand the still-dullness of her own condition.2 But I saw that the plan was approved and so I uttered not a syllable of opposition. Indeed from delicacy I would not wish to intrude my opinion.

Mr. Curtis called upon me for a few minutes in relation to Mr. Boylston’s affairs and to know when my Father would be in town. In regard to this, I had expected that he would come tomorrow, but the letter which I especially directed to be sent to Quincy, has been regularly found in my Box each Morning since Wednesday, so that in despair I called upon Abby Adams at Mr. P. Foster’s and gave it to her to take this afternoon.3 There was a thunder shower in the afternoon so that I remained at home and read a portion of a History of the United States by a certain Mr. Graham, which passes through my hands from Mr. Sparks to my Father.4 It is said to be the best extant. Abby went after the rain to see her friend Miss Carter. In the evening I read to her Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling or rather the first portion of it.5 But she did not appear so much interested as I expected. Afterwards a little of La Harpe.

1.

Until 1827, the Brooks family each year moved into Boston from Medford in November, remaining until May. However, in that year Mr. Brooks sold the house on Atkinson Street in which they had lived for 24 years, the neighborhood being no longer suitable (Waste Book, 16 July 1827). Thereafter they planned to remain at Mystic Grove the year round (same, 1 Jan. 1828). In 1829 Mr. and Mrs. Brooks were alone in the house for the first time, their children married or living in Europe. However, Ann Frothingham and her children spent the summer months with her parents, and Charlotte Everett and her children, the winter months.

2.

During her long illness Mrs. Brooks suffered periods of aberration and melancholia (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, Jan.–April, Nov.–Dec. 1829 passim, Everett MSS, MHi).

27 3.

Phineas Foster, a merchant, was married to Frances Harrod, a sister of Mrs. TBA. They lived at 5 Bulfinch Place (vol. 2:260; Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

4.

The 1827 edition of James Grahame’s The History of the Rise and Progress of the United States ..., 2 vols., London, in MQA has CFA’s autograph. It was a book which continued to interest CFA; see below, entries for 3 April–1 May 1830 passim; 13 April, note.

On Jared Sparks (1789–1866), currently the owner and editor of the North American Review , see vol. 1:79, 312; DAB ; and numerous entries below.

5.

The Man of Feeling is also included in Mackenzie’s Miscellaneous Works (3:1–147); see preceding entry.