Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

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

Cloudy but very mild. Went to the Office and was engaged there very constantly all the morning. Drew my Dividends, and began the serious work of paying off all my bills which have been sent in. It is at least a gratification to me that I have been able to meet them, but it is a matter of some surprise how rapidly they accummulate. Two months ago, I had hardly any. My Summer’s residence at Quincy had expunged them nearly all.

Took a walk as usual. After dinner, resumed Anquetil, but finding myself grow indolent I determined to brisk up and work away upon No. 8, the third draught of which I finished. How little good have those numbers effected. And I have slaved away at them merely to add one more to my already serious number of failures. I will slave no more. If it is productive of nothing but mortification, why should I voluntarily incur it at every step I take? Why should I endeavour to wriggle out a little larger hole for myself when I can move my arms and lie comfortable without stirring? After all the present jobs are done I will lie on my Oars.1

My Wife and I went to take Tea at Edward Brooks’. His wife is better. Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham were there also.2 We had a pleasant evening and returned only in time for me to read the World.3

1.

On CFA’s oft-sounded dissatisfaction with the reception given his writing, never operative as a deterrent, see vol. 3:xxxv–xxxvi.

2.

ABA’s eldest brother Edward and his wife Eliza, along with Ann, sister of ABA, and her husband, Rev. Nathaniel Frothingham, are familiar figures in CFA’s diary; see also Adams Genealogy. Edward was assuming increasing control of his father’s large business interests; Frothingham was the minister of the First Church, Chauncy Place, in Boston.

3.

The most recently undertaken in CFA’s long-pursued reading of all the British essay-periodicals. See vol. 3:337–338; 4:405.

Friday. 4th. CFA Friday. 4th. CFA
Friday. 4th.

Astonishing weather. No frosts and the air like April. I went to the Office. My time is very much taken up by accounts. My father’s collections come in with amazing slowness, and I make up as I go both from his and mine.

In consequence of conversation last night I read the North American Review upon Mrs. Trollope. Good but as Mr. Frothingham said very coarse. I think unnecessarily so.1 I am getting tired of censuring however. I feel more and more that in this world it is more easy to censure than to praise, that every person involves himself in cases where a 4double construction of his conduct can be admitted and therefore that a man should do to others as he would that others should do unto him.

Took a walk. Afternoon, I wrote more of Anti Masonry. Decided upon withdrawing my Article for the North American Review and wrote a Note to Mr. Everett to that effect.2 That is one step. Went to the Theatre, with Gorham Brooks and his Wife. Opera of Massaniello. Music of Auber. Some pretty things but in general too noisy. Sinclair very good in a Barcarolle and leading a Chorus. One or two other Choruses also well got up. I came home on the whole very much pleased. Miss Hughes not so good. There is much of the Melodrame about the piece. On the whole, good.3

1.

The essay-review (vol. 36:1) of Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans was by Edward Everett.

2.

CFA customarily felt that articles he submitted to the North American Review were subjected by its editor, A. H. Everett, to intolerable delays and postponements. His article in defense of the Puritan cause, submitted in July 1832, finally did appear after numerous vicissitudes in the July 1833 issue (see vol. 4:428).

3.

John Sinclair and Elizabeth Hughes, whom CFA had heard with no greater enthusiasm during the preceding season (vol. 4:283), were appearing with augmented chorus and orchestra in a production at the Tremont Theatre said to be “in a style of excellence hitherto unattempted in this country.” Masaniello reached its climax in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (Columbian Centinel, 1 Jan. 1833, p. 3, col. 5).