Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 5th. CFA Wednesday. 5th. CFA
Wednesday. 5th.

Morning cool and cloudy. I went to the Office. Time occupied much as usual. I wrote, calculated my accounts and went on with Mr. 413Lingard. But I am pretty tired of his perpetual labour to justify that which cannot be justified. His candour is just sufficient however to keep me not absolutely provoked with him. I took a walk with Mr. Cazenove. The political news is of somewhat an alarming character. South Carolina has assumed a warlike attitude. She is about to fence with the Union, and God knows what the end of it will be.

Afternoon. Worked upon No. 5 which I finished and extended. It is altogether the best of the series in my estimation. But what is the benefit of all my labour. Nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit. The amount of power necessary to produce an impression upon the Public is four times what it used to be. Talent has come forward so rapidly under the impulse given by our system of government.

Quiet evening at home. Read Malvina with my Wife, and the Life of John Bacon the Sculptor to her. Afterwards, instead of German, hammered away upon No. 6.

Thursday. 6th. CFA Thursday. 6th. CFA
Thursday. 6th.

Cloudy and cool. At the Office. Received a letter from my Father, mentioning the sickness of my Mother, and apparently in a state of considerable depression. I do not know what the matter can be, but this I imagine, that all is not right in the family.1 Whether the subject relates to my father’s embarrassed affairs or to other concerns I can not pretend to divine. In consequence of his writing that I had not noticed his two last, I immediately sat down, and penned an answer,2 which with the copying took my whole morning, with the exception of the time regularly devoted to walking.

After dinner. Worked in continuation of No. 6, which I finished, and without waiting to scratch them any more, I despatched the three numbers to Mr. Hallett. I ought to have mentioned that the first of the series appeared yesterday,3 with a favourable notice from the Editor.4

My Wife and I went to the Tremont House and took Tea with Mrs. Gorham Brooks prior to going to the Theatre. The piece was a new Play of one Knowles called the Hunchback. The plot is very defective, the events ill combined and the developement meagre, but several single scenes have pathos, force and affect strongly. C. Kean and Hamblin. The former is a mediocre resemblance of his father. We remained only during this Play.5 I could not study. Amused myself with Marmontel.

1.

JQA to CFA, 1 Dec. (Adams Papers). LCA’s condition seems to have been attributable partly to her own discomfort from a return of erysipelas along with an 414attack of “inflammable rhumatic fever,” and partly to her concern at JA2’s “almost total loss of sight” and at the continued ill health of his children (JQA, Diary, 15, 29 Nov., 1 Dec.; LCA to Mary Roberdeau, 21 Nov., Adams Papers).

2.

LbC in Adams Papers.

3.

“The Principles and Grounds of Anti-Masonry,” signed “F,” Boston Daily Advocate, 5 Dec., p. 2, cols. 3–4.

4.

“We ask particular attention to the series of numbers from an able pen, which we commence publishing today.... [We] commend the candid and temperate manner in which our correspondent discusses the subject” (same, col. 1).

5.

The performance at the Tremont Theatre was the seventh and final one of The Hunchback, a play in five acts by James Sheridan Knowles. The play had had its première in London in the spring and in New York in June. Beginning in the fall of 1832 it became for a long time one of the more popular vehicles for Charles Kemble in the role of Sir Thomas Clifford and Fanny Kemble as Julia. Neither Thomas S. Hamblin as Sir Thomas, Charles Kean as Master Walter, nor Naomi Vincent as Julia achieved any reputation in their roles. On the same evening another company was presenting The Hunchback at the Warren Theatre. (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 6 Dec., p. 3, cols. 4–5; Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:558, 607, 617; DNB notice of Knowles.)