Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 15th. CFA Sunday. 15th. CFA
Sunday. 15th.

The morning was clear and cold. We determined to go to Medford, according to promise while this fair weather lasted. Accordingly we started after breakfast as we did on last Sunday, arriving there just before time to attend Divine Service. I went morning and afternoon and heard Mr. Stetson deliver what I did not doubt were sensible Sermons, if I had been sufficiently fortunate to have been able to have attended to them but I was not. My attention would not turn as I would have it so I was fain to give up the Contest and a judgment. Mr. Brooks was much pleased with the Sermon. The day passed otherwise without any thing worthy of notice. I wasted as much time as I always do.

In the evening as Abby was anxious to make some visits among her Medford acquaintance, her father and I accompanied her to Mr. Stetson’s in the first place, where we saw the Parson in his prime condition and his small Wife. They were as usual, the former a wriggling nervous man of sense, the latter a very quiet unmeaning woman. We soon left there and went to Miss Osgoods, two Maiden ladies, daughters of the old Parson,1 who take after him in manners and in drawl, but appear to be tolerably intelligent from the small opportunity I have of judging of them. We went from there to see Mr. and Mrs. Hall with whom we spent over an hour.2 We thus accomplished an 77evening’s work. This business is a little irksome to me, but it is proper and I consider it one of those fitting sacrifices of the married State which I have made perhaps as much for my own good as the general one. We returned home late in the evening and retired soon afterwards.

1.

Dr. David Osgood, Stetson’s predecessor as minister at Medford, had two unmarried daughters, Lucy and Elizabeth. See Medford Historical Register, 2 (1899): 106–118; Brooks, Farm Journal, 12 March 1830.

2.

On Nathaniel Hall and his wife Joanna, see above, entry for 8 Nov., note.

Monday. 16th. CFA Monday. 16th. CFA
Monday. 16th.

The morning was cloudy and very cold. I have not experienced a day yet which felt so cheerless and wintry. We returned to town suffering very considerably from the cold. After warming my body which had become thoroughly chilled, I went to the office. My time was so much taken up with other occupations as to render me unable to continue my translation. Having seen by the Newspaper that the Gold Hunter, a vessel was arrived from Cronstadt, I was obliged to issue a Writ immediately to take one of the Men who was on board in satisfaction of a debt which I have had in my hands to collect for a very considerable time.1 Mr. Titcomb called to see me to talk a little for he never seems ready to pay. Mr. Curtis came to show me the Deed Mr. C. P. Curtis had made in place of my own. It varies only by abridging my own. He gives an opinion accompanying it which I do not agree with—And against which I am disposed to write an opinion. My deed is perhaps too good for the purchaser but not on that account the less acceptable to me who am anxious to give that which I think will bind. Mr. C. also left with me Papers to make an assignment of all the Property belonging to Mr. Boylston in Maine. I had not time to do it today and to tell the truth scarcely felt in the mood.

I returned home and read in the Afternoon a page of Aeschines, translating as much. This business progresses slowly and consumes much time but I flatter myself it is done thoroughly and will show me tolerably well the spirit of the Ancient Orators so that comparing it with Cicero and with our Modern eloquence we may form some accurate idea of their relative merit compared to each other. Evening passed in reading to Abby in Clarissa Harlowe which drags its slow length along. After which a little of the Life of Admiral Blake.2 But from some reason or other I was not satisfied with the day’s work.

1.

Perhaps relates to “Henderson’s case”; see below, entry for 19 Nov., note. The Gold Hunter, Captain Gray, had docked on the 14th (Columbian Centinel, 18 Nov. 1829).

78 2.

By Samuel Johnson. CFA’s copy of the London edition of Johnson’s Works in 12 vols., 1823, is in MQA; the life of Blake is in 9:41–62. CFA copied two passages from it in his Literary Commonplace Book (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 312).