Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday. 26th. CFA Monday. 26th. CFA
Monday. 26th.

It was impossible to desire a more agreeable day than this. The air was soft and entirely different from that which is our usual climate at this season. I cannot help enjoying it’s mildness, though I am far from complaining of that which is more severe. After breakfast Abby and I returned to town in the little Carriage. I went to the Office as usual and spent the morning in reading Marshall without much interruption, Mr. Clapp, the Mason being the only person who came, in order to inquire at what time he could go to Quincy which I told him.1 I had expected to see Orcutt but was disappointed.

After dinner, Abby and I went to pay a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Alex. H. Everett who have just arrived from Spain.2 He is one of those who have suffered proscription by the New powers and is now arrived to see what he can do with himself here. I confess for my own part that I do not easily perceive any cause for him which would be at all eligible. He has not what may be called an active character and here what can be done without one? He looks very well and has grown quite showy in his dress since I last saw him. She has become quite European and a little affected, I think, but always a pleasant woman. Our visit was short and I returned to my study to commence operations seriously as a student. I devoted a short time to continuing my Catalogue and then opened the subject which I am about to commence with the study of Auger’s preliminary Dissertation to the Works of Demosthenes.3 Singular as it may seem to myself I am resolved to attempt the Orations for the Crown in the Original.4 And I started in the Work fairly today. This is the only way to begin the subject of Oratory with any view to understand. I studied uninterruptedly until nine, when I went to Mr. Frothingham’s for Abby who passed the Evening there. Edward Brooks was there and we had a comfortable Supper enough.

1.

James Clapp of Chambers Street, near Poplar, Boston, contracted to do repairs at the Old House to the kitchen and chimney, for which he was paid $60 on 19 Nov. ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830; M/CFA/3).

2.

Alexander Hill Everett (1790–1847), a brother of Edward Everett, had been a law student in JQA’s office and subsequently JQA’s private secretary in Russia. During JQA’s administration he had been chargé d’affaires at The Hague and most recently minister to Spain. Within the year he would become, with his brother-in-law Nathan Hale, owner and editor of the North American Review . His wife was the former Lucretia Orne Peabody. See vol. 1:294–295; 58 DAB . Whether the Everetts were already living in their house at 38 Summer Street is doubtful ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

3.

Demosthenes and Aeschines, Oeuvres complètes, trad. en françois ... par M. l’abbé Auger. The edition published at Paris, 6 vols., 1793, owned by JQA, is in MQA. Auger’s “discours préliminaire” is at 1:1–151.

4.

Aeschines and Demosthenes, The Orations on the Crown. An edition in the original Greek with English notes by Alex Negris was published at Boston in 1829; the copy in MQA has CFA’s bookplate and numerous marginal notes in his hand.

CFA’s translation, here begun, was carried on until early January (CFA to JQA, 10 Jan. 1830, Adams Papers). A fragment of the translation of Aeschines is preserved in CFA’s literary commonplace book (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 312); of Demosthenes, among some papers on eloquence in a folder of literary efforts (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 317).

Tuesday. 27th. CFA Tuesday. 27th. CFA
Tuesday. 27th.

Morning fine but colder as the warm Clouds had dissolved in rain during the night and left us a Clear sky. I went to the Office as usual and was less interrupted than common. P. P. F. Degrand came in to give me my Newspaper which he had taken from my box to take to Quincy but as he did not go, he returned it to me. He told me that Mr. John Hubbard had yesterday assigned his goods and chattels away to others in order to rid himself of his liabilities as a Member of the Canton Factory.1 A fraudulent proceeding as I suspect though it will not be considered as censurable by the majority of men. That does not alter the stubborn nature of the fact. I then went to obtain the numbers of the Gazette containing the notice of the Estate of Thomas Boylston, for my Father, and tried to see Mr. Tarbell about the remnant of my Law business but I could not find him.2 The rest of the morning occupied in reading Marshall on Insurance—The nature of loss, and general average. There is little satisfaction in reading over particular cases when the principles are the desirable things. And the principles of Insurance lay in a pretty narrow compass.

In the afternoon, having worked an hour upon my Catalogue, I sat down and finished Auger’s preliminary discourse, after which I was induced to look into Mitford and became again infinitely provoked with his impudent perversion of History.3 This consumed the two hours devoted to study in the Afternoon, and the Evening was passed with my Wife. She begins to feel the irksome loneliness of new married life considerably and this produces occasional depression of spirits. I regret it particularly as I fear now there will not be a termination to these sufferings and that my dread will be realized, but I still trust not.4 Evening closed with five Chapters of Luke.

1.

The factory failure is probably that of the Neponset Woollen Co. in Canton, Mass., which under the presidency of Harrison Gray Otis had been formed in 591827 to take over the plant of the Boston Manufacturing Co. after its failure. See Daniel T. V. Huntoon, History of the Town of Canton, Cambridge, 1893, p. 545–546. The slump in textile manufactures, with resultant failures, was so severe in 1829 that various stratagems were resorted to, including giving away shares of stock, to avoid assessments. See Caroline F. Ware, The Early New England Cotton Manufacture, Boston, 1931, p. 91–92, 134–135. John Hubbard was probably the merchant of that name residing at 7 Somerset Street; see entry for 28 Sept., above.

2.

Thomas Tarbell was married to Lucy Tufts, daughter of Cotton Tufts Jr. (1757–1833) and Mercy Brooks (1763–1849) who were doubly related to AA. See Adams Genealogy. CFA had had a room at the Tarbell home, 11 Avon Place, from 10 Nov. 1828 to 23 June 1829, and friendly relations had been maintained. Tarbell, an importer and merchant, had interested himself in and sought to forward CFA’s legal progress both by putting small claims for collection into his hands and by sending him other clients with claims to be prosecuted. Those claims, aside from his work on matters relating to JQA’s affairs and as his agent, seem to have constituted the sum of CFA’s practice during his first year or two at the bar. See numerous mentions in vol. 2; and below, entries for 30 Oct. 1829–1 Feb. 1830passim.

3.

William Mitford, The History of Greece, which CFA read while at Harvard, is frequently mentioned in vols. 1 and 2.

4.

See below, entry for 8 Nov. and note.