Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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.

Wednesday 28th. CFA Wednesday 28th. CFA
Wednesday 28th.

Morning cool but fine. At the Office as usual and but little interrupted. A Copy of the Life of Arthur Lee being left here for my Father I was tempted to look over it to find the papers which were said to relate to some misunderstandings between the American Mission in France during the revolution. I had heard the disclosures were important but I found little that was new. This is a new publication from the pen of R. H. Lee.1 Richardson called in for a few moments but had little or nothing new. Orcutt called to tell me he could not raise the money, but did not yet despair. I suppose I shall be compelled to take his property. He then talked upon other subjects so as to detain me until dinner, a practice not pleasant of his, but I think his honesty about this debt meritorious.

At home, Miss Julia Gorham dined and passed the afternoon with my Wife. I continued my Catalogue, finished Auger’s Treatise upon the habits of the Greeks, read over La Harpe’s Sketch of Demosthenes and nibbled at the beginning of Aeschines, but as it was late, I postponed the attack until tomorrow when I am resolved to begin. In looking at the Greek today I felt a little more encouraged about it, and gave myself a little more credit than I did for my acquisition at College. Miss Julia Gorham remained here until after tea when Abby went to pass the Evening at her sister Susan’s, and I accompanied her. We found Mrs. Frothingham there and Chardon and her husband soon after came in. We had as usual a little sociable Supper and a very 60pleasant time. These things are always agreeable because they are easy. And I feel now very differently about them than when I was engaged for I feel as if I had a kind of right to be considered a part of the family, and therefore much less sensitive as to the opinions which may be formed of my conduct.

1.

Richard Henry Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, LL.D.... With His Political and Literary Correspondence, 2 vols., Boston, 1829. The author was a great- grand nephew of Arthur Lee; his biography was based on the extensive papers of the Lees in his custody and was one of the earliest (and most unsatisfactory) compilations of sources for the Revolutionary history of the United States. Lee dedicated the work to John Quincy Adams, stating in his dedicatory letter that JQA would find in Arthur Lee’s writings “a spirit of patriotism congenial with your own.” The copy of the biography in MHi was presented by CFA in 1849. CFA had a natural interest in Arthur Lee’s correspondence because Lee and JA had, together with Franklin, been fellow commissioners from the Continental Congress at Paris in 1778–1779, had corresponded extensively, and had made common cause in the bitter and protracted dispute over the conduct of Silas Deane, JA’s predecessor as joint commissioner. For JA’s contemporaneous and retrospective accounts and views of the “misunderstandings” to which CFA alludes, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:304 ff., 345–350; 4:43, 68 ff.