Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday. 30th. CFA Friday. 30th. CFA
Friday. 30th.

The morning opened with continued rain. This is the fifth day that we have not seen the Sun. A fact neither useful nor agreeable to us apparently. Mr. Brooks and Mr. Frothingham decided to go to town, so that I thought I would not. For some days back I have not felt very well from some cause or other which it is beyond me to divine and it did not seem to me altogether prudent to hazard the damp without a coat. Mr. Frothingham having today a use for his and I not possessing here any of my own.

I finished the Volume of Batteux upon Oratorical style, and the remarks upon Historical and Epistolary Style which are very good. The translation of the Oration for Archias though good in its way only explains the more clearly the deficiency of the French language and 291the fullness of the Latin.1 Cicero was a master, and I must sit down when I get home and read his works as I have all along intended. They are all worth study.

But my reading now has come to an end here at Medford, so that for the remainder of the day I was obliged to recur to the Edinburgh Review most of which I read. This number has nothing in it very remarkable. A criticism upon a wretched poem which never had any merit though a good deal of popularity.2 The evening was taken up in reading Mr. Stewart’s answer to Mr. Channing’s election Sermon.3 He is an orthodox writer upon a subject not over interesting, but he handles his pen powerfully enough to take with one.4

1.

Charles Batteux, Oraison de Cicéron pour le poëte Archias (Latin and French), Paris, 1763.

2.

Apparently, the reference is to the anti-American Vision of Judgment by Robert Southey which is discussed at some length and unfavorably in the course of a review of Southey’s new poem, Sir Thomas More; or Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (Edinburgh Review, 50:528–565 [Jan. 1830]).

3.

A week before there had been published A Letter to William E. Channing, D.D. on the Subject of Religious Liberty by Moses Stuart (Boston Patriot, 24 July, p. 3, col. 1). Stuart was a professor in the Andover Theological Seminary, and the pamphlet was part of the continuing attack emanating from the Seminary against the Unitarian wing of Boston Congregationalism of which Channing was a leader (Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 3:474).

4.

Thus apparently in MS; the meaning may be “to take one with him.”

Saturday. 31st. CFA Saturday. 31st. CFA
Saturday. 31st.

The day was not perfectly pleasant though clear—An East Wind coming with a peculiar chill over me, as I did not feel perfectly well. To sick people that wind is very dreadful, to those in firm health it matters exceeding little. Abby went with me this morning for the purpose of taking a bath.

I found that my Article was in the Patriot,1 after which I read Walpole and wrote my Journal. Business is now multiplying upon me, and that not of an agreeable kind. My investment proceeds but slowly and I fear will not be effected at all. I went down to see a Mr. Watson on India Wharf who asked me five per cent advance upon some Fire and Marine Insurance Shares. A price I was totally unwilling to give. Saw Brown and Degrand, but they neither of them had any thing.

Returned to Medford early. In the afternoon Edward Brooks and his wife paid a visit and drank tea. Mr. Brooks was out to see his brother in law, Mr. Hall who has been sick. Evening quiet.

1.

In CFA’s third letter on railroads, signed “A Calm Observer,” he quotes at some length from a recent article in an English periodical on the complexity of running a railroad and the great expense attached to it; he deplores both the fail-292ure of many citizens who are opposed to a railway subsidy to attend the town meeting and the behavior of the proponents who did attend; and while acknowledging a probable present majority against his position, he prophesies a day when they will be in sackcloth and ashes (Boston Patriot, 31 July, p. 2, col. 4).