Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 22nd. CFA Tuesday. 22nd. CFA
Tuesday. 22nd.

Clouds and chilly atmosphere. I went to the Office. Time rather wasted. Read a little of Jefferson’s Letters which are not so interesting as one might expect. He seems to have been fond of the arts and desirous of introducing them into this Country, but his political ideas did not seem to obtain much more basis from the enlarged sphere in which he found himself.

Walk. I am interested in political affairs and wish I could do something in aid of the present excitement, but there are so many that I feel as if I could do but little. Why not try? and not be so confounded indolent as I now am. But I have been so indolent that I cannot wake up and so unsuccessful heretofore that I have no motive to wake up.

After dinner, Maritime Discovery and Ovid. Phaedra to Hippolytus—300The shameless pleadings of criminal love. There is something disgusting in the argument and impudent in the tone which deprives the writer of all sympathy. Evening quietly at home. Belinda.

Wednesday. 23d. CFA Wednesday. 23d. CFA
Wednesday. 23d.

Day cloudy with rain. I went to the Office after reading for an hour the story of Gabriel Desodry or the Exalté a novel of Picard.1 At Office engaged in writing and in conversation. Went to the Athenaeum to get a book and from thence to the House of Mr. John Callender to see his Furniture, which is for sale. There was nothing very material. The house is purchased for Dr. Wainwright.2 It is old fashioned, very much in the style of the two owned by my father at the bottom of the Common. Mr. Callender understood good living. He had things about him in fine condition—Not after the modern fashion but substantially good.

Home. Afternoon reading Maritime Discovery of which I finished the first volume. Ovid’s Epistle Oenone to Paris. Mr. Brooks called for a few minutes. Evening, quiet at home. Belinda. I began a trial of a new Article for the Press.3

1.

A copy of Louis Benoit Picard’s L’exalté ou histoire de Gabriel Désodry, 4 vols., Paris, 1824, is in MQA.

2.

The residence of John Callender, late Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court, was at 26 Mt. Vernon Street, at the corner of Walnut Street ( Boston Directory, 1833; Columbian Centinel, 24 April, p. 3, col. 5). Rev. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, later Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, was about to assume the pulpit of Trinity Church, Boston ( DAB ).

3.

The attempt came to nothing; see below, entry for 28 April.

Thursday. 24th. CFA Thursday. 24th. CFA
Thursday. 24th.

Fine day but cool. I went out early. Read the Newspapers and called at the Office. Then attended the Sale at Mr. Callender’s for the purpose of purchasing by request of Mr. Brooks a set of China which was offered. I did not succeed but bought one or two articles for myself. This kept me until eleven and I wasted the rest of the time. This is too often my only record. Walk.

The President of the United States has sent to the Senate another Message explaining away the most offensive claim in his former one.1 This is a curious Spectacle. The Chief Magistrate of the Nation does not know twenty four hours together what he does mean. Afternoon, I wrote busily upon my new undertaking. I do not know what the suc-301cess of it will be. Probably another self delusion. At any rate it takes up my time.

In the evening, we went to the Theatre to hear Mr. and Mrs. Wood in Cinderella. The music of this piece is still charming although I have heard it so often. Mrs. Wood gives her part an effect which I have not seen equaled since Malibran. Yet some of Mrs. Austin’s notes are sweeter. He is a very admirable singer although the compass of his voice is not great, and he has little or no rich melody, charming as Garcia did or the tremendous Angrisani.2 Home late. The lower parts were performed in a very spirited manner—Although it is a little singular that there are no even tolerable voices.

1.

The supplementary Message in explanation was printed, along with an account of the debate in the Senate occasioned by it, in the National Intelligencer, 22 April (p. 3, cols. 2–3, 4).

2.

The adaptation of Rossini’s Cenerentola had pleased CFA since he first heard it sung by Garcia’s troupe in 1826. The singing of Manuel Garcia, of his daughter, Mrs. Malibran, and of Angrisani at that time, and of Mrs. Elizabeth Austin on later occasions, provided benchmarks for CFA against which the performances of others were customarily measured (vol. 2:54–60, passim; 4:ix, 263–264, 283; entries for 14 Jan., 12, 19 Dec. 1833, above).