Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 30th. CFA Saturday. 30th. CFA
Saturday. 30th.

Morning clear, beautiful weather. I went to the Office after walking up to see what was to be done at the Tenements in Tremont Street which I am overlooking. The repairs there must necessarily be considerable, as they have been suffered under Hollis’ management to go to rack and ruin. This is a new leaf turned in the Agency which will as I suspect be the best that has been so turned for fifteen years. Indeed it always seemed to me wonderful that property should have depreciated so fast as my father’s here in Boston has done. I hope that in a little while, I shall bring it up again, but it must take time. The estate in Court Street has been brought up considerably. That of the Tenements will soon be done. That in Hancock Street must be left to next Summer, and the other two will be continued on as well as they can be, until a final disposition can be made of that property.

Engaged at the Office much as usual. Received a Note from Alex. H. Everett requesting the return of my Article. I sent to Quincy for it.1 Occupied after dinner upon Cicero de Oratore and finished the first book with which I have been exceedingly pleased.

Evening, went to Faneuil Hall, for the purpose of hearing Mr. Webster make his famous Speech. The Crowd was prodigious. I despaired almost of being able to hear him, and in effect was obliged to stand all the time. His Speech had commenced when I got there and lasted until after nine when I left.2 It was powerful and convincing if any thing was necessary. But I cannot help thinking that he has been one of the converted. For let them all say what they will, the principles they opposed in 1820 were as good then as they are now whatever might have been the question of expediency. The principle has existed ever since 1789 though in 1820 it was not agreeable here.3 Went to P. C. Brooks’ for my Wife where after waiting a little while to eat a supper we returned home.

1.

The letters from A. H. Everett to CFA and from CFA to JQA are both missing.

2.

At the adjourned meeting of citizens friendly to the election of Nathan Appleton to Congress, Webster rose at 6:30 and addressed the gathering “for about three hours, at the expiration of which time, before he had finished his speech, Col. Perkins moved an adjournment to Quincy Hall at 6 o’clock on the following evening.” An extended summary of Webster’s speech was printed along with a promise of the future publication of the speech itself (Boston Daily Advertiser, 1 Nov., p. 2, col. 1)

3.

The supporters of Lee had republished a passage from a speech by Webster delivered at a time when he, reflecting the then prevailing New Eng-352land view, had opposed the adoption of a tariff for the protection of domestic manufactures. Webster, now a protectionist, devoted a major part of his speech of 30 Oct. to a justification of his changed position. He affirmed that the earlier opposition to protection was to its inexpediency at the time rather than to the principle; moreover, that he had never questioned that the right of Congress to protect manufactures was firmly embedded in the commerce clause of the Constitution (same).

Sunday. 31st. CFA Sunday. 31st. CFA
Sunday. 31st.

Morning cloudy but the day was clear, mild and beautiful. I attended with Abby in the morning at Mr. Frothingham’s Church and heard Dr. Lowell preach a very pretty Sermon upon the fall of the year illustrating the life of man. It is true, the subject is trite, but in the pulpit who expects to hear new things. The search after novelty is there most dangerous, for it drives preachers to violent paradoxes, and artificial trains of sentiment, which injure rather than benefit the true tone of Christian morality. His language was appropriate, his figures animated, his end clear and apt. I know little more required in a Preacher.

Attended in the afternoon alone and heard Mr. Frothingham upon the History of Joseph. It struck me as a Sermon I had heard before with a new piece upon the late sudden death of Mr. Huskisson in England.1 A true moral lesson to be sure.

I felt a head ach today and my general system so much out of order as to make me a little dull. I have experienced some internal palpitation which has troubled if2 it has not distressed me. I therefore did little or nothing but write a little of my Catalogue. Read over the first book of Paradise Lost and two Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

The death of William Huskisson (1770–1830), British statesman, president of the Board of Trade and member of Parliament for Liverpool, excited more than ordinary interest in the United States. He was fatally injured on 15 Sept. at the celebration of the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway. As he went to greet the Duke of Wellington, a political rival, Huskisson fell on the tracks on which the steam carriage Rocket was approaching and was run over (Boston Daily Advertiser, 29 Oct., p. 2, col. 3; 2 Nov., p. 1, cols. 1–4; DNB ).,

2.

MS reads “it.”