Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 21st. CFA Wednesday. 21st. CFA
Wednesday. 21st.

Morning clear but cold. The weather being of that fine Autumnal kind of which we have now so much. To a man in the vigour of health, 52no climate is more agreeable than this at the present season, though when any thing like debility exists the keen air becomes too searching. A great change has taken place in my frame in this regard, for I now relish with much satisfaction the air which two years since cut through me. At the Office, where I wrote a Letter to my Father upon the subjects on which I required information, the rumford and the Boston property,1 at the same time intimating an intention of going to Quincy this week which I upon seeing Mr. Brooks afterwards, regretted as I decided upon going to Medford.

I then walked to the South End of Boston in order to inquire about Mrs. Bittner whom I had long since sued and had execution against her.2 She pleads poverty and I have too much heart to make a lawyer. I must give her time. From thence I went to the Store of Messrs. John D. and Moses Williams3 to make an inquiry about some Wine for ordinary use. I tasted some which I thought quite good, but deferred a decision until I should be able to see one of the gentlemen themselves. My walk did me a great deal of good, and I returned home to dine with a good appetite.

The afternoon was occupied in reading La Harpe and forming Castles in the Air about a review on the subject of eloquence, which I am resolved to attempt even if I never show it. To this effect I have laid down a course of some length for myself. Continued my Catalogue. In the evening I read to Abby the lives of Goldsmith and Johnson in Scott’s Biography of the Novelists. She took much interest in them and I was paid for my labour. She is capable of being made an exceedingly fine and sensible girl, but her powers have been suffered to run to waste in the endeavour to support her natural disposition. My affection for her increases. Finished the Gospel of St. Mark and began that of Luke this evening.

1.

Letter missing. JQA, in acknowledging its receipt, indicates that CFA asked JQA’s wishes on further expenditure for the installation of the Rumford stove in his kitchen and on the policy to be followed in dealing with tenants in view of the likelihood of numerous vacancies (22 Oct., Adams Papers).

2.

Probably Elizabeth Bittner, dyer, of 560 Washington Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830). CFA had sued Mrs. Bittner on behalf of his tenant, Daniel Hollis. Efforts to collect the judgment were protracted; see numerous entries, below.

3.

Wine merchants, they were at 757 Washington Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

Thursday. 22d. CFA Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

I accomplished more this morning than usual before going to the Office, and my library in which my servant had made a Fire was so comfortable I regretted exceedingly to leave it. At the Office my time 53was better spent than usual as I completed a considerable portion of Marshall on the nature of Warranty in Insurance notwithstanding a number of interruptions from various people, some calling for Money, others about the Tenement which Orcutt is about to vacate. This seems to be in much demand as no less than three people have been this morning for it in addition to others heretofore. The only danger in these cases is as to the admission of persons of doubtful character or credit, no security being required. I saw a person today whom I should be willing to admit, as she looked tolerably respectable. The morning passed in this manner rapidly until I found it had reached the time when I promised to go to Medford with Abby. I was obliged therefore to hurry home and found myself just in time. We had a pleasant though a cold ride, as I had not clothed myself as a man should in these times. But in walking in the sun in town, the weather is deceptive. We found Mr. and Mrs. Brooks as usual, Chardon and his Wife, and Mr. Burnap, the Clergyman in Baltimore, a very disagreeable man.1 My appetite was somewhat improved by the Country Air, and on the whole we did justice to the fare. Judge and Mrs. Lyman of Northampton came in after dinner and passed the afternoon.2 They are friends of Mr. and Mrs. Brooks and he is an agreeable and gentlemanly man. At this season the sun sets early and as Abby was desirous of returning home before night, we started at about sunset, and stopping only a moment at Mr. Everett’s to find them not at home, we reached our own house to take Tea and for me afterwards to read a little of La Harpe with the usual five Chapters of St. Luke.

1.

Rev. George Washington Burnap, a distant kinsman of Peter C. Brooks, was a nephew of Massachusetts governor John Brooks (d. 1825); see vol. 1:238, 2:155; JQA, Diary, 26 Aug. 1827; Brooks, Farm Journal, 26 Aug. 1827, 22 Oct. 1829.

2.

Probably Levi Lyman, chairman of commissioners and register of deeds, Hampshire co. ( Mass. Register, 1829).