Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. 21st. CFA Thursday. 21st. CFA
Thursday. 21st.

Morning clear again after the showery weather which came on last Evening. I went to the Office as usual, but passed a large portion of my morning at an Auction Room. The sale of the library of Edward J. Lowell took place today.1 I could not help moralizing when I thought of the difference which had taken place between the views this young man had held out to himself and the actual state of things. It is melancholy to think that all our hopes and wishes, our ambition, our useful exertions hang upon so frail a tenure as human life. Lowell was a young man of great promise, few in this Community stood as high as he. He is now a fit subject to point a moral and adorn a tale.2 I bought little or nothing as his books sold high.

Completed the purchase and transfer of the Fire and Marine Stock and settled several demands against my father and myself. After din-344ner, finished the second book de Inventione and resumed the same to review. My aim is to master the subject in all its forms.

Evening, went to Faneuil Hall to see and take part in a primary Meeting of the People.3 It was large and respectable. Mr. J. B. Davis, A. H. Everett, Austin,4 Gorham and Sullivan addressed the Meeting, and generally with more power than I had expected. On the whole, it was a favourable specimen of a Caucus, better than any I had seen.5 Mr. Webster was received with great acclamation. He adjourned the Meeting, and I returned home to find my Wife suffering severely from one of her remedies.

1.

The library of a “professional gentleman deceased” consisting of about 400 volumes on the civil and common law and 600 other books was auctioned beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Cunningham’s Auction Rooms, corner of Milk and Federal streets (Boston Daily Advertiser, 21 Oct., p. 3, col. 4).

2.

Edward Jackson Lowell (1805–1830), Harvard 1822, regarded in Boston as one of the most cultivated and promising young men of his generation, died at the home of his brother in Waltham during the preceding month (Boston Patriot, 11 Sept., p. 2, col. 5; 16 Sept., p. 2, col. 3; Ferris Greenslet, The Lowells and their Seven Worlds, Boston, 1946, p. 191–196).

3.

The National Republican caucus held at 6:30 p.m. announced its sponsors as “Friends of American Industry, Liberal National Policy, Internal Improvement, the Rail Roads, and the preservation of the Public Faith toward the Indian Tribes” (Boston Daily Advertiser, 21 Oct., p. 2, col. 3; 22 Oct., p. 2, col. 2).

4.

James T. Austin, Commonwealth attorney ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

5.

The speeches of A. H. Everett, Jeremiah Evarts, and William Sullivan were printed in the Advertiser, 25 Oct., p. 1, cols. 3–6; 27 Oct., p. 2, cols. 4–6.

Friday. 22d. CFA Friday. 22d. CFA
Friday. 22d.

Morning clear and pleasant. At the Office as usual. Occupied in my Occupations of account and in settling some outstanding demands, until eleven o’clock, when I took up one of my books purchased at the sale yesterday. It is a work upon diplomatic style by one Meisel and so far as I have read contains some very good precepts indeed.1 I was pleased with the simplicity of his advice and its aptness. A man in writing about a thing should always exemplify his advice as much as possible by his practice.

Returned home and passed the Afternoon in reading over the second book of Cicero de Inventione. I do not think more of it on a reperusal. It is on the whole a dry production. Useful to such as myself who are examining the subject with attention but totally without interest to people in general. It wants clearness, its allusions are intricate, its advice too multiplied. The mind cannot embrace at once so rapid a variety of points.

In the evening I attended a Ward Meeting of the friends of Mr. 345Appleton to organize the system of voting, and returned home to read a little of Mr. Todd’s Account of Milton,2 which I do not like so well as that of Dr. Symmons. Two numbers of the Tatler.

1.

In the copy at MQA of Cours de style diplomatique by H. Meisel, 2 vols., Paris, 1826, is a notation in CFA’s hand: “Bought at the sale of Mr. E. J. Lowell’s Library. October 21st 1830, $2.00.”

2.

Two copies of Henry John Todd’s “Some Account of the Life and Writings of John Milton” are in MQA, both owned by JQA. One was published independently (London, 1809), the other is vol. 1 of Milton’s Poetical Works in 7 vols., published in the same place and year.