Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Thursday. 2d. CFA Thursday. 2d. CFA
Thursday. 2d.

Fine morning though still an East wind. I went to the Office but instead of remaining there, called upon Mr. Walsh and with him I went over to Chelsea in the Ferry boat. There has of late years been a very great disposition to go out a little way into the Country and cut up the great farms for the sake of making out of them numbers of building lots. The success which has attended late speculations of the kind has induced others, so that now there is hardly a spot in the vicinity which is not used. Among others is Chelsea upon which some of the Perkins family have made a settlement.

I yesterday spoke to Mr. C. Coolidge about a plan, for my proposed house.1 He asked me to go over to Chelsea and see one drawn for W. H. Gardiner which is there executing. Accordingly I went. There were two, one small and one larger one. They are in Mr. Coolidge’s style with sloping roofs, and dormer windows with porticoes all round. I could see hardly a single recommendation to them. I begin to think Coolidge’s taste more doubtful. His contrivance is unequalled.

We returned home by way of East Boston. All this is new creation. 402It is cheerful to see such evidences of prosperity here. We only hope it is not most of it on an artificial basis and that time will not show us that speculation is a very dangerous basis to build our calculations upon.

Home, Livy, finished 23d book and read in Hook’s tome,2 an extract from Sir Walter Raleigh demolishing the edifice of national partiality the roman historian has erected. Afternoon, began Burnetts Memoir of his own time,3 a thing I once attempted and failed. Also finished a letter to my Mother.4 A canto of Ariosto. Evening, a few of Spence’s Anecdotes of Pope5 and a couple of Swift’s Drapier’s Letters.

1.

On Cornelius Coolidge, a principal architect of Beacon Hill houses, see Chamberlain, Beacon Hill , p. 281–284.

2.

See above, 21 January.

3.

At MQA is CFA’s copy of Bishop Gilbert Burnet’s History of His Own Time, 6 vols., Oxford, 1823, as well as two additional copies, one (JQA’s) in 6 vols., London, 1725–1734, one in 4 vols., London, 1725.

4.

Adams Papers; a substitute for the unfinished attempt of the preceding day.

5.

CFA had borrowed from the Athenaeum Joseph Spence’s Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters of Books and Men, London, 1820.

Friday. 3d. CFA Friday. 3d. CFA
Friday. 3d.

The day was fine and somewhat pleasanter than any we have had although still with the North East wind. I went down to superintend some repairs at my house in Acorn Street which is vacated after which to the Office, Diary, and Accounts.

Mr. Hallett came in to gain information respecting the state of things at Washington. We talked it over and he gave me further information from Washington which led me to believe that Whitney the Bank hero1 was the source of the Articles in the Globe. I affected to believe it—But I have no confidence in Mr. Van Buren.

He then went on to talk of his relations with Governor Everett, and the state of the controversy between himself and the Advertiser.2 I have observed this with much attention and regret only that the Governor should have allowed himself to get into it. The course of the Advocate is somewhat rough as it always is and hasty but is substantially correct. I told him my belief that Mr. Everett was himself the author of the papers at which he seemed surprised—And that his continuing the controversy was more the result of feeling than of judgment. Mr. Everett from his timidity and defect of moral principle is utterly unfit for political life. Mr. Hallett read me a strong letter from Mr. Lathrop embodying all my ground. I think with care we may sail through this perilous navigation.

Home—Afternoon, engaged in assorting papers. Went over those 403of Mr. Dumas and in this way completed another Volume. Ariosto and some amusing Anecdotes or rather German popular stories collected by Musaeus.3 Evening at home, Mr. T. K. Davis came in and passed it pleasantly.

1.

Reuben M. Whitney of Philadelphia, earlier a director of the United States Bank, in March 1829 was a member of an influential committee whose report called for non-renewal of the Bank’s charter (Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Age of Jackson, Boston, 1945, p. 79, 100).

2.

On 3 June, the Daily Advocate’s editorial was titled “The Advertiser shifting the Question” (p. 2, col. 4). This was followed on the 6th by another, “The Advertiser vs. the Advocate” (p. 2, cols. 2–4).

3.

CFA had borrowed from the Athenaeum Johann Carl August Musaeus’ Volksmärchen der Deutschen, 5 vols., Gotha, 1826.