Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 12th. CFA Sunday. 12th. CFA
Sunday. 12th.

Morning bright but quite cold. The weather appears now to have become tolerably settled, and not more severe than one expects at this season. I attended divine service during the day and heard in the morning a discourse from Mr. Palfrey upon the subject of Truth. I do not know, whether I am right but this gentleman does not suit my taste much. He is not very agreeable as a Preacher, and there is a kind of Vinegar Acid in the tone, manner and character of the man, that repels his idea if I may so express it. Took a short walk after service before returning home. My Wife was not well enough to go out today.

As I have been pleased with Chapman’s general conduct so far as I have seen any thing of it latterly, and as I have never in any manner taken notice of it, I thought I would ask him to come and dine with me, today. He accordingly came and was very pleasant. His amiable disposition and creditable conduct on the whole have produced rather a favourable impression upon my mind.1 He went to Meeting with me in the Afternoon and we heard Mr. Frothingham, in a finished Sermon upon Social Worship. On the whole the day was pleasantly passed. I read in the Afternoon some of Enfield’s History of Philosophy, and in the Evening conversed with my Wife. Continued upon the Catalogue and read two Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

Following the death of GWA and his own marriage, CFA, in keeping with the reformation he notes in his own be-behavior, had kept aloof socially from most of his old classmates and college friends, particularly those who had shared in his escapades and who remained unmarried. Jonathan Chapman 381was later mayor of Boston (1840–1842); he also became a contributor to the North Amer. Rev. and the Christian Examiner. See Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 3:247; John Langdon Sibley, Private Journal, p. 171–172 (MS, MHi, deposited in MH-Ar).

Monday. 13th. CFA Monday. 13th. CFA
Monday. 13th.

Morning clear and quite cold. I went down first to see the Irish Woman, Tenant of my Father’s Tenement, and warn her to go out as she pays no rent.1 This is an unpleasant business but it cannot be helped. I was wrong in letting her come in. Then to the Office where I did my usual duties and went round to pay a visit or two which I saw to be due. One to Mr. Brooks and another to Mr. Davis in his new office.2 I also went to give in my vote for the City Officers though I could not swallow Mr. Otis. The Working men tried to raise an opposition but it was faint and heartless. Their handbill however made up in violence for their weakness. Mr. Conant called on my return, from Weston with some money on Account and he asked for some repairs which I was obliged to grant. Returned home, and spent the afternoon in reading the third book de Oratore in which I made good progress. The advice given in it, as to the language, and style to be used, applies as well now as it did when it was written. It is writing for all ages and nations. Evening, Corinne with Abby, after which her brother Edward came in and passed the evening, very pleasantly. I had an hour for my Catalogue, and then two numbers of the Tatler.

1.

Mrs. Elizabeth Arey had occupied tenement No. 1 at 101 Tremont Street since 1 Nov. (M/CFA/3).

2.

Thomas Kemper Davis, having been admitted to the bar, had moved into an office at 33 Court Street ( Boston Directory, 1831–1832).

Tuesday. 14th. CFA Tuesday. 14th. CFA
Tuesday. 14th.

Morning cold and cloudy. I went down on my usual walk to see my Irish Tenant, and thence went to the Office. Arranged my usual business and then went down to obtain the Dividend upon the New England Insurance Office Stock which was quite handsome and puts my father’s Affairs here quite above Water.1 This speculation was among the fortunate things of his life. It has saved his affairs here from embarassment several times. And now carries him through what is I hope the last of his undertakings for the Estate of my Grandfather.2

I read the short Account of the American Revolution and was pleased with every part of it but the Note in which bad doctrine is taught. In order to ascertain how far it was supported by its Authorities, I went down and read at the Athenaeum certain papers written 382by Mr. Burke at the period when a secession from Parliament was meditated. I did not find what I wanted.3

Afternoon, reading Cicero and accomplished another portion of the third book de Oratore, which I had read before superficially. It is very good, and relates to propriety of language. Evening, Corinne and a little of Baroness Minutoli’s Recollections of Egypt,4 after which, more of my Catalogue, and two Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

The dividend received on 108 shares was $864 (M/CFA/3).

2.

In addition to the regular payments due quarterly under the terms of JA’s will, portions of the legacies to John Peter de Windt (1786?–1870), Alexander Bryan Johnson (1786–1867), Louisa Catherine Catharine Smith, and T. B. Adams Jr. remained unpaid to a total of $485.63 and payable 1 Jan. 1831 (CFA to JQA, 16 Dec., LbC, Adams Papers; Adams Genealogy).

3.

[W. Shepherd], History of the American Revolution, London, 1830; a publication in the Library of Useful Knowledge issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, London. CFA sought corroboration for the statement therein that “when Lord Chatham was taken ill in the House of Lords, he was about to propose his plan for conciliation with America, and ... that this was generally understood to be a kind of federal union under the British Crown” (CFA to JQA, 16 Dec., LbC, Adams Papers).

4.

Baroness W. A. L. M. von Minutoli, Recollections of Egypt, London, 1827.