Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 5th. CFA Monday. 5th. CFA
Monday. 5th.

Morning clear and extremely pleasant. My Wife having been strong enough to dine downstairs yesterday, this morning took a short ride 129with me, so that it was late before I reached the Office. My time was taken up pretty much in the usual way. Writing, reading a little of Boileau, Accounts and talking with Mr. Peabody. Made a purchase or two for the House, and called at Mr. Brooks room. He surprised us agreeably today, by making us a present of six Shares of the Cocheco Manufacturing Stock with a kind Note expressing his pleasure in adding to our revenue.1 The thing was done with great delicacy and goodness, and I felt as if my blessings overpowered me. Mr. Brooks is generous with Judgment. And the consequence is that though this in fact increases the benefit, it takes away from the appearance and the credit he deserves. It will probably make a material difference in my Income and relieve me from the Apprehension I have been under respecting my Father’s Affairs. Should the worst come to the worst, I can now reasonably hope to be no great charge to him. Until then however it is but fair that I should derive a little benefit to my children from my father’s property and not let it all sink in the gulf which he and John are forming for it.

Returned home and in the afternoon, read and translated Demosthenes on the Crown. How much I try and how little I do. My attempt looked mean. Forgot in doing it, that this was the regular day for a Directors Meeting of the Boylston Market. A bad omission.

Evening, reading Fenelon’s Dialogues on Eloquence which has many sensible things, Bacon’s Essay on Superstition, and the Spectator. Bacon prefers Atheism to Superstition. Quaere de hoc.

1.

The note from Mr. Brooks accompanying the shares is missing. CFA’s words suggest that he was under the impression that the stock was a special gift to ABA, perhaps occasioned by the birth of their child. Actually Mr. Brooks made the same gift this day to each of his children; he valued the shares at $1,000 each (Waste Book). The Cocheco Manufacturing Co. of Dover, N.H., was a relatively new company formed from the failure and recapitalization of the Dover Manufacturing Co. (Caroline F. Ware, The Early New England Cotton Manufacture, Boston, 1931, p. 92, 135).

Tuesday. 6th. CFA Tuesday. 6th. CFA
Tuesday. 6th.

Morning clear and pleasant. Took a ride with my Wife and lengthened it considerably as I found her better able to bear it. But it brought me to the Office very late and I had no morning. Mr. Rupp the Clerk of the Boylston Market called and I spoke of the proceedings of yesterday, and doubted the expediency of so large a Dividend, as they decided upon.1 I afterwards said the same thing to Mr. Child whom I met.2 Mr. Rupp gave me one or two desperate debts to collect for the Company which I promised to do with as well as I could. 130The rest of the time was passed in running about town, and finally in going for a book to the Athenaeum.

I have concluded to go back to Cicero and consequently began the Letters to Atticus this Afternoon. It is hard that so great a man should rarely be free from suspicion. Guthrie the translator even denies him credit in the famous Conspiracy of Catiline, and intimates that he made full as much of it as it would bear.3 The idea has certainly crossed my mind when considering the apparent power enjoyed by the enemies of Cicero when accusing him upon this matter, yet on the whole I am led to think it unfounded. Summary punishment was and is a very unpopular, though occasionally a just measure—And we have the evidence of an Enemy, Sallust, besides. Read Bacon’s Essay upon Travel, Fenelon, Boileau’s Longinus and the Spectator, besides translating a page of Cicero, de optimo genere Oratorum.

1.

The newly declared semiannual dividend was at $4 a share where the preceding one had been at $2.50 (M/CFA/3).

2.

Doubtless Joshua Child, secretary of the Boylston Market; see above, vol. 3, entry for 24 April 1830.

3.

CFA’s practice in the afternoon was to read from the Latin text. Apparently he was here reading a commentary on and perhaps some of the translation of the letters preliminary to studying the text itself. William Guthrie was the editor and translator of an edition of Epistles to Atticus published at London in 3 vols. in 1806.