Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 2d. CFA Wednesday. 2d. CFA
Wednesday. 2d.

Morning very mild, the snow melting pretty rapidly. I went to the Office as usual and was met in the first place by my punctual Tenant, in Court Street1 with his Rent which was due yesterday. This is what I call good. I wish every body else was equally punctual. But Mr. Spear still hangs back. I sat down to read but did not accomplish much this morning. I will say however that I was agreeably disappointed this morning by the receipt of a letter from the publishers of the North American Review with a Check for $21, being in payment of my Article. This quite relieved me from feeling the effect of the failure in Dividend of the Middlesex Canal and came exactly at the right time. I ought to be thankful even for such little marks of fortune, and not repine when any thing looks badly.

Took a walk and went to the Athenaeum. Streets very wet. Afternoon, occupied in reading the Oration against Caecilius commonly called Divinatio being the first upon the business of the Praetor Verres. It is short and in some places rather difficult on account of 415the allusions to peculiar habits among the Romans. Evening. Read to my Wife and afterwards continued with the Port Royal Latin Grammar and the Tatler.

1.

That is, William Tenney (M/CFA/3).

Thursday. 3d. CFA Thursday. 3d. CFA
Thursday. 3d.

Morning at the Office, weather quite mild. Went down directly to attend at the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Middlesex Canal, and afterwards that of the Proprietors. The old statement was read and accepted and the same board of Directors were elected for the ensuing year. On the whole a pretty indifferent way of passing one’s morning. I went however to keep my place at the Board, which I thought it likely I might lose without. I care nothing about it, excepting that as representative of my father’s Stock, I can see how his Interest stands and keep him informed of it. I returned home and found Mr. A. Spear the Tenant of Mount Wollaston, come to pay his Rent, and take up his Note. I was sorry for this not being anxious to receive the Money but as he wanted to pay it, I received about enough to counterbalance the loss of the Middlesex Canal Dividend.

Took a short walk and returned home where after dinner I read the Oration against Caecilius over again. It displays power from the confidence of its tone, the method in which he depreciates his Antagonist, and yet the adroitness by which he avoids the invidious appearance of preferring himself. It is not remarkable for much else, not having any of the necessity for the kind of Oratory, he calls “grave” or sublime. Evening read some of Buffon—His introduction to the Natural History which is written well. After it the Latin Grammar and the Tatler.

Friday. 4th. CFA Friday. 4th. CFA
Friday. 4th.

Morning at the Office. Nothing to interrupt me as a Southerly rain had set in which prevented much going out, and threatened to inundate the City. But it stopped in time to prevent much inconvenience. My time was wasted reading the Reports of the different sides of the Committee upon the question of repealing the 25th Section of the Judiciary Law.1 I think neither of them have much merit. The question itself is a plain one and supports itself by it’s own strength.

I received a letter from my Mother in very good spirits, which I was delighted to find.2 Returned home and passed the afternoon in reading the first Oration against Verres, being the only one which Cicero 416delivered. I did not have time enough to finish it though very short. The Law questions are puzzling. In the evening I looked over Buffon’s Theorie de la Terre3 but did not finish the paper upon it. After which I went on with the Port Royal Latin Grammar and read the usual numbers of the Tatler.

1.

The Boston Daily Advertiser on 3 Feb. reprinted the report of Warren Ransom Davis of South Carolina, chairman of the committee on the Judiciary, submitted to the House of Representatives on 22 Jan., in which the repeal of section 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was recommended (p. 2, cols. 4–5, p. 1, cols. 1–3). The section objected to as unconstitutional provides for direct appeal from a state court to the Supreme Court of the United States. The assault upon it was a part of the states-rights effort to reduce the jurisdiction of the Federal judiciary.

2.

LCA to CFA, 29 Jan., Adams Papers.

3.

The “Théorie de la Terre” constitutes the first four volumes of Buffon’s Histoire naturelle in the edition at MQA.