Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 13th. CFA Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

The weather is steady and cold. No material variation in the Thermometer from about eight or ten, at sunrise, which is severe winter. I attended divine Service and heard Mr. Frothingham deliver a very clever Sermon upon the Eclipse of yesterday. The subject was a good one and he managed it well. Afternoon went alone and heard Mr. Gannett who is a shocking Proser. I like him less than ever since he has ceased to be regularly inflicted upon me,1 yet he is not so bad as most people find him. He has good intention and earnest zeal, without tact or taste.

Returned home late but felt it my duty to sit down and write a Letter to my father at once, as I found by his of yesterday that his eyes are in bad condition.2 This engrossed all my spare time. And I did not accomplish copying it either. This is a business which I feel as if I ought to do and yet as if I could hardly spare the time.3 Evening, 422French, and a little of Buffon upon the Earth which is interesting. Afterwards, Latin Grammar and Tatler.

1.

During the latter part of 1828 and the early months of 1829, CFA had attended services regularly at Dr. Channing’s church in Federal Street, where Rev. Ezra Stiles Gannett, Channing’s assistant, often preached; see vol. 2:314–358 passim.

2.

JQA to CFA, 6 Feb.; CFA to JQA, 13 Feb., LbC; both in Adams Papers. For CFA’s letter see above, entry for 10 Feb., note, and below, entries for 17, Feb., note, and 21 Feb., note 26 Feb., notes .

3.

The copy of CFA’s long letter in his letter book is in ABA’s hand. From soon after their marriage ABA served intermittently as copyist, but CFA generally made his own copies for many years.

Monday. 14th. CFA Monday. 14th. CFA
Monday. 14th.

Morning cool again. Went to the Office as usual and was occupied with my usual affairs a great part of the morning, so that I had little or no time to take up for reading. A visit from my new Tenant Mr. Gulliver took up a little, and I found him rather better humoured today. I also was busy in preparing the Papers for my application to be admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court.1 A necessary step in the ascending series of a Lawyer’s course. On the whole, Away went the morning as usual, and I was left to account for it as I might.

Afternoon busy with the second Oration of the Second Book against Verres in which I went on somewhat faster than heretofore. Though some passages were a little slighted. Evening quietly at home. Read to my Wife the remainder of Douglas, and two Acts of Sheridan’s Comedy of the Rivals. After which I pursued the Latin Grammar and my regular Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

See below, vol. 4, entry for 2 March. To accompany the papers in support of his application, CFA wrote to Josiah Quincy Jr. under date of 14 Feb. asking him “to communicate to the Committee of the Bar my request to be considered as a Candidate for admission as an Attorney of the Supreme [Judicial] Court” (The Influence and History of the Boston Athenaeum from 1807 to 1907, Boston, 1907, extra-illustrated copy in MBAt, facing p. 50).

Tuesday. 15th. CFA Tuesday. 15th. CFA
Tuesday. 15th.

Morning at the Office as usual—After going to Market which made my time nearly eleven o’clock before I got there. Engaged in writing my Journal, with an occasional interruption from visitors. One upon the Affair with Robert New and the debt due to his Estate by one Byrd who asks time for payment. I told him to settle it with my Attorney. Then Mr. Conant from Weston with a little more money. And so wasted the morning.

At dinner, I received a summons from the parties in the case of Storer and Farmer which I had not heard of before. This is a shocking 423business to be made so public, but I do not now see how it can be avoided.1 My poor brother’s reputation must be mangled in a Court of Law, and that in a suit to which he had no kind of compulsion to belong. I did not get over it all the afternoon, but I still persevered in reading the Oration against Verres which I finished. It was to distract my attention.

Evening, at home, after in vain trying to get tickets for the Theatre.2 I read to my Wife the rest of the Rivals. After which as usual the Latin Grammar and the Tatler.

1.

It had been almost a year since the litigation between Miles Farmer and Dr. David H. Storer in the court of Common Pleas, April term 1830, had been brought to CFA’s notice, and at that time he had thought a settlement reached; see above, entry for 27 April 1830. However, the parties did not reach agreement and the case was continued to the July term when judgment for the plaintiff was entered by default. Appeal was taken by the defendant to the November term of the Supreme Judicial Court, then carried over on technical grounds ( Farmer-Storer Trial , p. 6–7). For an account of the issues, the public disclosure of which CFA found so painful, see vol. 2:403–404.

2.

Richard III and a farce, The Irish Tutor, were scheduled for performance (Boston Daily Advertiser, 15 Feb., p. 3, col. 5).