Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

418 Tuesday. 8th. CFA Tuesday. 8th. CFA
Tuesday. 8th.

Morning at the Office as usual. Occupied in my common avocations for the first hour. Mr. Plumer sent me down from New Hampshire my father’s MS. upon the Letter of the Confederates, which I received today.1 And as I had never read it, I sat down to do so but was interrupted by a request to meet Mr. Child at the Boylston Market which I immediately acceded to and went up there to see what came in my way as Clerk. He gave me up the Papers which I had deposited in their usual place excepting the Transfer book to be kept more conveniently at my Office. The arrangement of all the Accounts took me until one o’clock when I returned, and continued my Confederate Letter.

Afternoon pursued the same, and read a part of the second Oration against Verres which I admire exceedingly. It is a wonderful effort, displaying all the powers of which man is capable. It is by looking at such efforts as this that we wonder at the extent of his capacity. If there is any thing in this world which is calculated to display what man can do in perfection, it is probably to be found in the Orations of Cicero.

My Wife had gone to Medford and I was therefore able to extend my Evening. But I shall reserve my remarks upon my father’s letter until I finish it. Evening, Latin Grammar and the Tatler.

1.

William Plumer Jr. had had for several months the MS of JQA’s “Reply to the Appeal of the Massachusetts Federalists” and had been dilatory in responding to the request for its return; concerning the “Reply,” see above, entry for 31 Oct. 1829.

Wednesday. 9th. CFA Wednesday. 9th. CFA
Wednesday. 9th.

The Weather is now a pretty steady general cold, and for Winter is on the whole not bad, though I am longing for the return of the more moderate Season. I went to the Office and attended to my affairs as usual, reading the second Volume of Enfield. But I was again interrupted by an unwelcome Note from the Misses Haskins informing me that my Tenant Mr. Spear had quitted the House he occupied and left them as they were before. I went up directly and found the thing exactly as I feared, not at all to my gratification. Heard of the death of poor old Dr. Welsh, and took it a little to my conscience that I had neglected to go and see him. Poor old Man, his last days were passed in loneliness and poverty,1 and I felt when thinking of him an indescribable kind of melancholy, which seemed hardly to be justified by the occasion. Mr. Vezey the Carpenter at Quincy, came in and I 419talked with him about the Stone Posts at Quincy which I agreed to have done provided it did not exceed a certain price. But the whole subject was postponed until the Spring. Thus passed the Morning.

Afternoon spent in reading Cicero’s second against Verres in which I did not make much progress owing to its difficulty. Evening, French. Read to my Wife from the Tragedy of Douglas.2 Not much pleased. It is a little singular I never read this before. After this, the Latin Grammar and the Tatler.

1.

In his last year Dr. Thomas Welsh lived apart from his children alone in a boardinghouse at 3 1/2, Sudbury Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830; CFA to JQA, 13 Feb. 1831, LbC, Adams Papers). JQA, responding to CFA’s information, wrote: “The decease of Dr. Welsh affects me on many accounts with a Sentiment of Melancholy. Four of the most trying years of my life July 1790–June 1794, I had been an inmate of his house. All my children had resided in his family. In that middle station of Society, where it is said the greatest portion of human happiness is enjoyed, he had suffered many of its most distressing vicissitudes, and in his last days had been visited with the deepest afflictions” (JQA to CFA, 26 Feb., Adams Papers).

2.

First performed in Edinburgh, 1756, the work of Rev. John Home, Douglas was included in several anthologies of dramatic works. The play doubtless came to CFA’s attention from the circumstance that it was chosen as the first of Master Burke’s repertory of plays being presented at the Tremont Theatre (Boston Daily Advertiser, 31 Jan., p. 3, col. 5).