Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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).

Thursday. 10th. CFA Thursday. 10th. CFA
Thursday. 10th.

Morning cold. At the Office as usual, where I spent my time in the occupations usual with me, after which I sat down and made considerable progress in Enfield. The Account of the philosophy of the Middle Ages is curious and wonderful for it manifests a strange stage of perversion of the human intellect. Afterwards I took a walk previous to going according to invitation to dine at Mrs. Frothingham’s. I found Edward and Mr. Brooks were to be there with Abby and myself. The party was tolerably pleasant and I left it to attend the funeral of poor old Dr. Welsh. Had some conversation about him with Dr. Shattuck1 and found it was as I had thought, that he was in a desolate situation and felt himself to be so. And that this operated upon his mind to shorten his career a little.

Returned home and instead of spending the remainder of the afternoon in reading Cicero, I thought I would devote it to the rest of my father’s Paper. This is among the ablest of all his controversial efforts, and appears to me convincing. But it’s present is not the best shape in which it could be put. The substance of it is singularly powerful, and when divested of the acrimony which runs through the tone, would be calculated to produce a great effect. It requires however 420repeated reading.2 Evening Conversation with my Wife after which the Latin Grammar and the Tatler.

1.

Dr. George Cheyne Shattuck; see vol. 2:202.

2.

In his letter to his father on 13 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers), CFA wrote similarly of JQA’s “Reply to the Appeal of the Massachusetts Federalists,” but at much greater length and included his reasons for not favoring publication of it until a later time and until its tone was modified.