Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday 2d. CFA Wednesday 2d. CFA
Wednesday 2d.

Morning at the Office. Engaged in making my Translation, which on this morning I completed, and read over the Whole with some gratification. It satisfies me better than any thing I have ever yet attempted, and shows that I have been imperceptibly improving. But there is still much to do. We may express tolerably well the ideas of others long before we shall be able so to dress our own as to make them attractive or powerful. I must strive to do this, for here and in speaking lie the great powers of man. All the rest is the mere trash of the mind.

I was occupied the rest of the time in reading rather an uninteresting article in the Edinburgh Review upon the Utilitarians and Mr. Bentham’s School.1 Just as I was about leaving my Office, Mr. Jones came in from Weston to pay a portion of the Money for the Wood sold the other day at that place. This was very agreeable as I had been exceedingly in want of Money on my Fathers account. I could not wait to talk over much of matters as it was my usual time for dinner. I went to the House and found that Mr. Brooks had been so kind as to make a present to us of some Fenders which was exceedingly obliging in him.2 My father sent in his Trunks. I was obliged to attend to these things so much as again to lose my Greek studies which was 94very provoking. At this rate I shall never come to an end. I succeeded in reading the rest of Agamemnon and all the Commentaries upon it. I do not agree with La Harpe and do admire the piece, though I cannot altogether judge from the translation which makes sense sometimes of what I suspect is at this day thoroughly inexplicable. The latter half does not please me so well as the first, though the prophecy of Cassandra is noble Poetry. But the Chorus makes one laugh in the midst of terrors by the coolness of it’s reasoning and the simplicity of the dialogue.

I had barely time to finish my avocations when my father arrived in town and I went down to see him. He had decided to go off tomorrow morning, and I made arrangements with him in regard to the future. He leaves me this Season with an unusual share of responsibility of which I hope not to prove unworthy. He transferred to me a share of the Quincy Canal, and treated me so kindly as to make me feel, how differently from what I had done.3 Dr. Parkman called for a few moments to see him.4 Otherwise quiet.

1.

The review of Mill’s Essays on Government, 1828, in the Edinburgh for March 1829 (49:159–189), had provoked the Westminster Review to reply. The articles on utilitarianism in the June and October issues of the Edinburgh (49:273–299; 50:99–125) were rejoinders.

2.

Mr. Brooks, in recording the purchase of the fire screens for ABA, describes them as “2 elegant brass fenders for her parlors” (Waste Book, 29 Dec. 1829).

3.

Thus in MS. See above, entry for 4 Sept. and note.

4.

Probably Dr. George Parkman, Harvard 1809; see vol. 2:158.

Thursday. 3d. CFA Thursday. 3d. CFA
Thursday. 3d.

My father left us this morning before daylight in the Providence Stage. I felt his departure more than I had expected. He has been so kind to me and I have been in the practice of such frequent communication with him this Summer as to make me feel as if one of my supports was leaving me. I hope his absence will not be for a long time. He promises to return in April, though I am afraid that circumstances will prevent him from coming quite so soon.

I went to the Office, obtained the Fenders which Mr. Brooks gave us, and made my regular deposits in the Bank, for the Quarter.1 It is now just three Months since I was married and on the whole I have had happiness uninterrupted, as mortals ever enjoy. And let me here as ever take occasion to be grateful to a benevolent Deity for the benefits and advantages enjoyed, and pray that I may never abuse them.

I was obliged to hurry myself and make the arrangements about my Father’s Horses. He left them upon my hands in such a manner 95as to compel me to act at once without hesitation. I therefore went down and employed Mr. Forbes my Stabler in all that was requisite to keep the Carriage in good order,2 and to send the Horses for the Winter to Weston. I think sufficiently well of the Tenants there to be willing to trust them. Thus went the Morning. In the afternoon, after returning from dining at Mrs. Frothingham’s where Abby and I had been invited, I sat down and studied some of Aeschines being resolved not to lose this fourth day of the week. I succeeded in making a translation, and as Abby was out, read until late, thus finishing the fifth of the pieces of Aeschylus, called the Choephorae. One of the most interesting of them all. I read La Harpe’s opinion of it which is favourable. But the French lean too much to Dramatic effect. Went for Abby at eight o’clock. The Night was severely cold.

1.

CFA deposited $300, the first of the regular quarterly payments from Peter C. Brooks they were to receive during his lifetime. This sum represented interest at 6 percent on $20,000 which Mr. Brooks kept on his books as an advance against ABA’s “portion.” While his sons received varying amounts of their inheritance as their business enterprises required, his three daughters, beyond the cost of their homes, received only the interest on sums which increased as Mr. Brooks’ wealth increased and as the sons required larger amounts of capital. In 1829 the Frothinghams were receiving $450 quarterly, the Everetts $500. These sums remained constant until 1833, when the payments to the Adamses went to $400, those to the Everetts to $750. From 1837 Adamses and Frothinghams also received $750 quarterly, the interest on $50,000. From 1840, the Everetts’ payments went to $1, 250 (Brooks, Waste Book).

2.

William Forbes’ stable was at Water and Devonshire streets ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).