Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 20th. CFA Monday. 20th. CFA
Monday. 20th.

The weather was misty and cold today. I went to town accompanied by my Mother’s woman Mrs. Kirk.1 Went to the Office and from thence to the House in quest of some books and papers. Did some business also and made up Accounts. A person called upon me respecting the building of a Carriage for my father. I went up to see one of his patterns, which I was not altogether pleased with. It was too showy, and not in the very best of taste. I had not time nor inclination to come to a decision about it before leaving town.

92

In the Afternoon, I read a little of Horace, and worked for some time in the Garden setting out the remainder of the Trees obtained the other day. Several of them begin to give significant indications of death. I doubt whether I save many.

Read Madame de Sevigné. She gives all the interest of her letters by lively phrases and happy turns of expression. Such things cannot be translated, nor are they in themselves of value. Such a book is rather a mode of lounging away time. Began this evening Cumberland’s Observer.

1.

Elizabeth Kirk (vol. 3:253) was the wife of JQA’s servant and coachman, John.

Tuesday. 21st. CFA Tuesday. 21st. CFA
Tuesday. 21st.

Heavy rain for the first time. The wind from the eastward, but it became gradually warmer notwithstanding. I passed my morning at home and somewhat idly. Part of it was devoted to thinking over the remaining portion of the task respecting. Anti-Masonry. The Advocate has resumed the publication of my numbers.1 And I feel as if the hand once put to the plough, the whole field ought to be finished. Yet the success of the pieces is not such as to make one feel particularly desirous to continue. I have failed in all my attempts. I have written carefully and laboriously, far more so than most young men of my age, yet I have found no one disposed to allow me credit for it, and all throwing obstacles which act in my mind as a delicate hint that I am not wanted. Is inaction under such circumstances a reproach? Do I make it an excuse for indolence, or is it really a justification. That is a question to consider. Afternoon, Read a little of M. Burtin upon Painting, whose theory I do not quite like,2 and worked in the Garden. Quiet evening at home.

1.

Of the nine antimasonic articles which CFA had written for the Boston Daily Advocate in late 1832 and early 1833, six had been published in December and January under the title “A Brief History of the Masonic Outrages in New York” (see vol. 4:404–431passim, and above, entries for 1–18 Jan. passim). The Advocate had resumed publication of the series on 14 May with No. 7, No. 8 on the 17th, and No. 9 on the 21st (each occupying cols. 1 and 2 of p. 2), all bearing the title “History of the Morgan Abduction” and the signature “F” (see vol. 4:350).

2.

Traité théorique et pratique des connoissances des tableaux by François Xavier de Burtin, 2 vols., Brussels, 1808, is in MQA.

Wednesday. 22nd. CFA Wednesday. 22nd. CFA
Wednesday. 22nd.

Morning clouds but on the whole a very delightful day. I went to Boston. Time engrossed by Accounts of various Kinds and Commis-93sions. Drew up the Acct. of T. B. Adams for the last six months. Called upon Mrs. Frothingham on account of my Wife and was overtaken by a Coachmaker who saw me on Monday. He took me to see the Carriages of Mr. Welsh and Mr. I. Thorndike both of which are his. I liked them partially. They are built far too ornamentally for my taste. In this Country simplicity and richness are the only things persons of the better class of beings in worldly situation, can resort to. I gave him my ideas upon what my Mother wanted and told him to come out to Quincy this Afternoon and see what he would allow for the old Carriage. Thus went my whole morning.

After dinner, I made the final bargain with him, agreeing to allow him five hundred dollars Cash and exchange Carriage with harness. He goes on directly to make it.

Worked in the Garden for some time, and then finished a Letter to T. B. Adams to accompany his Account.1 Consulted my father upon the propriety of finishing my Numbers, which are now published as far as they go. He speaks well of them and encouraged me in regard to their character, although he did not decidedly advise continuing just now. I think at present I shall give them up. Evening quiet at home.

1.

To Lt. T. B. Adams Jr. (LbC, Adams Papers).