Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 28th. CFA Saturday 28th. CFA
Saturday 28th.

Morning damp and chilly, I went to the Office unusually late. After doing my usual business of little things which take up time though I hardly know how to describe them, I went into Court and heard Mr. Webster in the Insurance Cause taking to pieces the Depositions of the opposite side. He has great power in the prodigious clearness of his ideas which leads him to results at once. Admiration of Mr. Webster is not a voluntary thing, for when I have not been near him for some time I begin to think less of him, but the moment I again hear any exhibition of him, I am compelled to award him the merit which is his due. He is a good model to study in order to know what constitutes the particular power which he wields, so as to be able to place it before us for imitation. Clearness of the Mind is the great and essential requisite. I was obliged to leave the Court in order to go and see about one or two little Commissions before the time came for me to leave town and go to Quincy.1

I delivered to Josiah Quincy Jr. the Share in the Athenaeum to be transferred to me, who upon the occasion informed me of his fortune in having a Son last Evening—A great fortune as it had been somewhat questioned heretofore. He has been married two years or more.2 I was really very glad. On going to my Office, I found I had been sent for and I accordingly hurried to get ready to go out of town. My preparations were soon made and I hastened home, found Abby just returned from walking. The town is full of a scandalous affair arising from an elopement of John C. Park and a Miss Moore the daughter of Col. A. Moore, a brother of our profession. It is an affair which will very much injure him, who before stood tolerably well.3

At last we started in my father’s Carriage and rode to Quincy having a very cold and dreary ride—The weather being severely influenced by a chilly North Easter. We reached Quincy before three and in time for the dinner for which we were invited. My father previous to his departure was for going to make a return to the civilities of the Gentle-90men of Quincy and accordingly invited them to dine. The Company consisted of Messrs. Miller, Beale, Thos. Greenleaf, Danl. Greenleaf, Marston, T. B. Adams, Smith, W. C. Greenleaf, myself and my wife, the Revd. Mr. Whitney and Mr. Douglass, Miss M. Foster and the rest of the family.4 My seat was cold and uncomfortable, near the door. But the dinner got through much better than I had expected considering the want of necessaries for large entertainments. They went early and we spent the evening at home in conversation.

1.

A verdict for the plaintiffs, whose case Webster argued, was returned on 30 Nov.; the sum at issue was $12,000 (Columbian Centinel, 2 Dec. 1829, p. 2, col. 5).

2.

Josiah Quincy (1802–1882) had married Mary Jane Miller two years earlier (Columbian Centinel, 8 Dec. 1827). The son was Josiah Phillips Quincy (1829–1910); see DAB and Adams Genealogy.

3.

The marriage of Park to Miss Mary F. Moore, oldest daughter of Col. Abram Moore, had taken place on 23 Nov. (Columbian Centinel, 28 Nov.). Miss Moore’s mother, who was Miss Woodham, had been an actress in Boston. The bride “is said to be without character, and some have doubted whether he or Ned Prescott ought to have felt obliged to marry her. At any rate, Prescott was a Groomsman and accompanied them to Brattleboro, where I am told they are to live. This is a most mortifying affair to poor Dr. Park and his family; and it produces a great excitement in town” (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 29 Nov., Everett MSS, MHi).

4.

Of the sixteen at table, Edward Miller, George W. Beale, Thomas Greenleaf, and TBA were newly constituted Supervisors of the Classical School at Quincy provided for by JA’s Temple and School Fund. Others in the company, in addition to those clearly identified by CFA, were John M. Gourgas Jr. (affianced to ECA; vol. 2:387), John Marston, Mr. Douglass, William Smith, his sister Louisa Catherine Catharine Smith, and their niece Mary Smith Foster (b. 1807), daughter of the James H. Fosters (JQA, Diary, 27, 28 Nov. 1829).

Sunday. 29th. CFA Sunday. 29th. CFA
Sunday. 29th.

The rain poured in Torrents during the Night, and continued in a kind of drizzle throughout the day. I attended Meeting with my Father both in the morning and afternoon and heard Mr. Bowes Whitney preach two sermons in themselves tolerably sensible, but injured from the badness of his manner as well as from the unusual ugliness of himself.1 Personal appearance certainly does produce an effect very sensibly felt in delivery by a speaker. And as to manner, if Men really were only sensible of the difference in the effect of the same piece of composition when properly and when not properly read, they would turn again to their School rooms to try their hands.

Mr. Whitney dined with us, and so did Mr. Degrand who came out here in a Carriage from Boston and who spent the whole day here. This was not over agreeable to me as I do not feel desirous of a great deal of acquaintance with him in a familiar way and yet I do not care about so entirely shutting him out as to make it unpleasant 91to me to meet him at my Father’s, which I shall always be liable to in the future.2 His boldness is disagreeable and his general unpopularity here so great as to attach even to those who are with him. Mr. Brooks has expressed to his daughter a dislike so strong of him as to affect me materially as well in the feeling of restraint which it puts upon my Independence of action, as in the disagreeable situation it puts me into, regarding the Man. He remained here until nearly ten in the evening, talking of all sorts of things very unreservedly although in addressing himself to my Wife he received some rude rebuffs. I felt as if I ought not to check her although I did not know how to approve of it. I had no time for reading of any kind and little for Conversation with my Father.

1.

Nicholas Bowes Whitney (d. 1835), Harvard 1793, was Congregational minister in Hingham ( Mass. Register, 1830).

2.

See above, entry for 2 Oct., note.