Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 17th. CFA Saturday 17th. CFA
Saturday 17th.

My morning at the Office was considerably interrupted by visitors who came for different purposes of business so that although I attempted something in the way of reading, my success was not greater than a Chapter or two of Marshall. Dr. Storer called upon me further upon the business relative to the affairs of my brother, with a claim which I could not at least at present admit. I conversed with him and found that he had involved himself by his hasty character in a scrape which he was anxious to have me help him out in, but I told him I could not, and he left me to arrange as well as he could upon my promise that I would attend to it not as a legal but an equitable claim upon any balance which might exist after the settlement of the Estate. 48I fear it will be but small. But on the whole I have done better than I had expected.

Mr. Conant, my father’s Tenant at Weston called merely to tell me that he thought he should remain on the Farm for the five Years under the new conditions which we made at our last meeting, which makes another disagreeable business off my hands. This Farm is a plague and no profit. Mr. Orcutt came to tell me that he should not move until next Week and that he should try to raise some Money upon Mortgage to settle with me before going to Connecticut. He like many others is driven out of Boston by the pressure of the times. This is the first time that he has been to my Office perfectly sober, and I thought much better of him. His rectitude of principle however still remains. Mr. Payson is the Tenant of the Store below my Office and came to tell me he was ready to move whenever I found another Tenant.1 I must therefore advertise directly. This makes the fourth of my Father’s places of occupation becoming vacant on or before the first of January and I foresee trouble enough with them, and some diminution of revenue. Thus my morning passed and I returned home in order to go with Abby and dine with Chardon. Mr. Heard and his daughter Mary were there.2 Our dinner was good and nothing remarkable passed. I have always the same series of feelings when there, and have already described them so repetition is absurd.

Returned home to read La Harpe upon eloquence and became somewhat interested in his Analysis of Quinctilian. This put me in mind of the Meeting of the Debating Society which I attended. The number was but slender and gave but poor encouragement for the support of the Club, but we notwithstanding had a debate and I made an effort. It was not as happy as those last Winter, and reminded me of the defects of my conversation. But I feel as if practice and a little attention previously, which I could not give tonight, would cure it. Finished the evening at Chardon’s, returning with my Wife at ten, and omitting my reading by forgetfulness.

1.

The firm of (Henry) Payson & (Jacob) Gutterson, dry goods, which had a store in Court Street, was apparently dissolved ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830, 1830–1831). Payson does not appear in CFA’s account books.

2.

John Heard Jr., attorney, and the father of Mrs. Chardon Brooks, lived at 6 Walnut Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

Sunday. 18th. CFA Sunday. 18th. CFA
Sunday. 18th.

Morning cloudy with an air chilly and uncomfortable. I attended divine service all day at Mr. Frothingham’s Meeting House whither I suppose I shall go in future regularly having thus started in married 49life. We heard this morning Mr. Greenwood upon the observances of the world, Courage and fortitude.1 His style is peculiar but interesting and I was interested considerably more by him than by the more musical style of Mr. Frothingham. He is practical and direct, instructing the minds of the plainest of his hearers and not below those of the most cultivated. Mr. Young in the afternoon.2 Text, “Thy Kingdom come.” He writes well and reads well, but his delivery is bad, and he has a defect in his pronunciation which materially operates upon any thing he might be able to say. But I was on the whole agreeably disappointed by him. The Boston Clergy have certainly a very high standard of style in writing introduced by the models of Mr. Everett and Mr. Buckminster.3 It now remains only to create an equal ambition to excel in Oratory. And this led me to entertain the idea of writing something upon the subject and reading for the purpose. I do not know whether I can find time for the purpose but I certainly have the disposition, and something I must soon do I think is certain.

I passed the remainder of the day and evening in reading the Preface to Jeremy Taylor’s Life of Christ which I read twice over with great care. It deserves the perusal, being an argument in support of Christianity as being derived from the principles of Natural Law originally fixed by the Creator and being therefore the revival among men of those feelings which time and corruption had obscured. He argues that the world was established only with two Laws—The love of God, which leads man to be holy and pious, the love of our Neighbour which leads us to act with justice and creates our other social duties, and the love of ourselves which teaches prudence and sobriety. This last however is only subsequent. Thus my evening was useful and I felt better for it. Conversation with Abby and some Chapters in the New Testament before retiring.

1.

Francis W. P. Greenwood was minister at King’s Chapel (Unitarian), Tremont and School streets ( Mass. Register, 1830).

2.

Rev. Alexander Young Jr. held the pulpit of the New South Church (Unitarian) on Summer Street; see DAB .

3.

Edward Everett, before his academic and political careers opened, was, from 1813 to 1815, the successor to Joseph S. Buckminster as minister at the Brattle Street Church (Unitarian). On both, see DAB . For a brief account of the leading figures in the contemporary Unitarian clergy in Boston, including Greenwood and Young as well as Buckminster and Everett, see Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 3:475–476.