Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. 24th. CFA Thursday. 24th. CFA
Thursday. 24th.

Morning cold again. These alternations of weather are not so pleasant. The Winter still struggles for it’s hold and sometimes gains a victory. I went to the Office as usual and occupied myself almost the whole morning in an examination of papers and authorities in relation 429to the business of Saturday Evening’s Argument. I made a sketch of my remarks and tried to consider them over so as to avoid the trouble of a long Speech. This examination will not be useless to me. For the information it contains will do to lay up. How much information upon every subject a man must hunt after.

I took a long walk to J. D. Williams Store to try some Wine for table use and finally bought some. I find that it is too expensive to adhere to the plan I had fixed upon, to purchase first rate wine. So I bought some good middling quality. Returned home to a Capital dinner of venison. After which I finished the Oration de Signis and began that de Suppliciis, which the Commentator praises far above the rest.

Evening at home alone with my Wife. Finished the Jealous Wife and began the Critic.1 Miss Adams was spending the day at a friend’s. She returned at eight. I read some of the Greek Grammar and my usual Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

Sheridan’s comedy.

Friday 25th. CFA Friday 25th. CFA
Friday 25th.

Morning cold. Went to the Office as usual, and after performing my daily matters, I busied myself in perfecting my argument for tomorrow in case I should be called to make one. This is a good excuse if I should ever be obliged to deliver in public. I really am much inclined to the opinion that if ever I shall have to speak, my power of doing so will have been obtained by these efforts. For I well remember the time when I could not say three words.

Went to Mrs. Frothingham’s to dine without company, P. C. Brooks Jr., Abby Adams, my Wife and I. At dinner much longer than usual and obliged to take a long walk afterwards for exercise so that I did not reach home for study until after five o’clock. As my Wife remained at Mr. Frothingham’s I made it up in the evening and accomplished a large portion of the Oration de Suppliciis which is certainly a Masterpiece of Eloquence. Nothing seems to be left untried to produce one grand, burning whole. Returned for my Wife and took a little Supper. After reaching home, One of our Chamber bells rung in an unaccountable manner two or three times. We were all puzzled. I read the Tatler.

Saturday. 26th. CFA Saturday. 26th. CFA
Saturday. 26th.

Morning clear and pleasant. The Sun is gaining the Battle. I went to the Office as usual and received a letter from my Mother upon the 430matters relating to this Correspondence1 but no Letter from my Father which makes me suspicious that mine has produced a disagreeable effect. For this I feel sorry, but I cannot disavow the sentiments it contains. It may not have been judicious just at this time to express them, but this is at least doubtful. For this may be the very time when truth will have most effect and lead him to make a deliberate revision. I hope this may be the consequence but in the mean time I have no letter.2

I was occupied in reconsidering my argument for this evening and amending it in some passages. Drew up my Accounts also for the month and found myself correct. Returned home and in the Afternoon, Completed the last Oration against Verres, de Suppliciis which is a splendid effort. On the whole, I doubt whether in the way of accusation any thing, can be done beyond this. Whether in arrangement, force of argument, and power of expression, it is equally admirable.

Evening. Mr. Angier at our House. I went to the Meeting of the Debating Society. Owing to the absence of the other side no regular argument was made, the discussion such as it was, had salt enough3 in it. I took part in it, perhaps too much. We did not go home until ten o’clock after which I read the Tatler.

1.

That is, to the Calhoun-Jackson correspondence. LCA to CFA, 21 Feb., Adams Papers.

2.

See entry for 10 Feb., above, and the references there to CFA’s letter of 13 February. CFA’s fears that his father had been displeased by his comments on JQA’s “Reply to the ... Federalists” seem to have been groundless. JQA wrote: “Your observations are all kindly taken and shall be duly weighed.” His failure to respond earlier seems to have resulted from his absorption in the Calhoun controversy (JQA to CFA, 26 Feb., Adams Papers).

3.

See above, entry for 19 Feb., note.