Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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.

Monday. 30th. CFA Monday. 30th. CFA
Monday. 30th.

The morning was delightfully clear and pleasant for us to return to town but we did not succeed in getting away very early. So many things were there which I was desirous of picking up before I finally left the House. The Carriage looked a little overloaded, but I could not avoid that. I was merely bringing in the Books which I thought I should need this Winter. Our ride was exceedingly pleasant and we reached home at about 12 o’clock. I went to my Office and there found Mr. Degrand’s Intelligence of yesterday true that Mr. James H. Foster’s Store in Washington Street had been burnt down to the ground.1 This is a severe and disagreeable blow to a man like him though I doubt whether it will deprive him of an enjoyment the less. For I strongly suspect that accumulation is his fancy.2

I was occupied at my Office in arranging and settling my money affairs for the Month and in those of my Father which have got behind hand so much that I was to day obliged to advance a considerable sum to Mr. William Howe on account of his deficit.3 This puts me to considerable inconvenience myself as I am now about settling my own affairs for the quarter, having now been married just three months. I called at the Store of Dorr and Allen, Auctioneers and made settlement with them upon the things I sent them of my brother and received from them a sum which again put me in funds for my brother’s Estate.4 I feel encouraged about this now.

After dinner, at home writing up the deficiencies which my last three days have cost me. This absence is a severe drawback upon me 92and puts a great stop to my plans for my own improvement. Mr. Sparks called upon me this evening and talked upon my Grandfather’s papers which he is to see and compare at his pleasure—at my Study. We digressed upon Arthur Lee and the whole account of the revolution upon which we did not agree.5 I had no time for any thing else and in the evening read to Abby from Clarissa Harlowe.

1.

Foster’s store was in “the very large wooden building, corner of Summer and Washington streets” (No. 224). The fire, which broke out in the building next door, consumed both buildings, neither of which was owned by the occupant. Foster’s stock, valued at $20,000 and on which there had been $8,000 insurance, was only partially destroyed (Columbian Centinel, 2 Dec. 1829, p. 2, col. 5). Shortly, Foster reopened his business at 156 Washington Street, remaining there for thirty years. See Richard D. Pierce, ed., The Records of the First Church in Boston 16301868, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns. , 41 (1961):1000.

2.

Foster, married to a niece of AA’s, had a reputation within the family for canniness in financial matters (see below, entry for 19 Jan. 1830). For many years he had in his charge the affairs of the First Church in Boston, serving as deacon from 1815 to 1862, most of that time as sole deacon, and also for varying times as clerk, treasurer, and moderator. He was also an overseer of the poor. Same, vols. 39–41 (1961).

3.

Probably William Howe, tinsmith, of 7 Marshall Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830), for work done on the Old House.

4.

(Alfred) Dorr & (J. M.) Allen were at the corner of Milk and Congress streets ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

5.

To Arthur Lee’s position in his controversy with Silas Deane and Franklin, recently defended in the Life of Arthur Lee (see entries for 28 , 29, 30 Oct., above), Sparks was strongly antipathetic. JQA disagreed with the Sparks view more strongly than did CFA; see Sparks to JQA, 18 Jan.; JQA to Sparks, 24 Jan., LbC; JQA to CFA, 5 Feb. 1830 (all in Adams Papers). Sparks gave full expression to his animadversions in his review of the book in North Amer. Rev. , 30: 454–511 (April 1830).