Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Monday 23d. CFA Monday 23d. CFA
Monday 23d.

A fine clear day again with the air mild as before the snow. I find my Article does not yet appear. What is the meaning of it? Some long letters from Mr. Hallett at Washington tolerably clever but a little too laudatory. Office where Mr. Walsh came in and talked. Nothing of particular importance. I attended to my usual details, took a short walk and then returned home. Livy, the fortieth book of which I finished. This contains pretty much all of the pure and uncorrupted text, most of the remaining books being intelligible only through supplied passages.

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Afternoon reading Burnet. A singular author for a Bishop. One can feel marvellous little respect for such a man and yet his style displays his mode of thinking and makes the book interesting. I read a little of Forster

Evening finished a volume of the affected and ridiculous Willis, and yet he is amusing. After this I sat down and wrote another paper upon the currency. These are the result of labour, and reflection, they can not I am confident be written by every man, yet I cannot get them into a Newspaper without delay. How very encouraging to the cultivation of any occupation not having for it’s object the mere pursuit of money. I do not expect much from their success but they amuse and occupy me worthily.

Tuesday. 24th. CFA Tuesday. 24th. CFA
Tuesday. 24th.

A fine clear day being a continuation of the beautiful weather we have had and exhausting the severe season rapidly. I went to the Office. Time divided between the usual duties and Mr. Walsh and after him Deacon Spear from Quincy. He came apparently to tell me that the Directors of the Quincy Canal Company were anxious to have my opinion upon the course they thought of adopting, which is to stock the debt. I told him, I thought it was a good plan, and if they wished me to attend the meeting I would do so. He talked of various other matters besides. After he was gone I dropped in to see Mr. Davis and sat a few minutes when Mr. Walsh came in. We commenced talking upon the favourite subject of his project of a Newspaper when an interruption drove us all out. Walk with Mr. Walsh and home to Livy. Afternoon, amused myself with Buffon’s Account of Man.1 Then Burnet. Evening at home. Alone with my Wife and no book. Very uninteresting. 2 To bed early. My articles do not yet appear.

1.

The Histoire naturelle of Buffon; see vol. 3:319–320.

2.

The symbol and the blank space following it are as in MS. Explanation is wanting.

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

A very beautiful day. I went to Market and from thence to the Office. My first number upon the currency appeared today1 I attended a Meeting of the Directors of the Middlesex Canal and heard the annual report of the Agent. It is on the whole flattering as the result of the first years competition with the Railroad, and I think promises well. The reduction of tolls is about five thousand dollars from the Lowell 172trade diverted.2 Hereafter it may be more but I should incline to doubt. The usual Dividend was recommended and declared, although a part of it is made up of the receipts of last year which were reserved. No heavy repairs are however contemplated for next year and the Agent for the first time since I have been at the board makes no recommendations.3

I returned to the Office and was busy in usual way. To the Athenaeum to gather facts for writing. Home. Livy. Miss Anne Beale dined and spent the day with us. Afternoon, read Buffon’s description of Man, until I was interrupted by Mr. Ayer who came to ask some questions about the house. He says all his hewing is done and he hopes to finish sawing shortly. I enjoined it upon him not to lose the present snow in the process of carrying the timber up. Afterwards, Forster, a political discussion. I am wasting my time with this author. Evening Mr. Beale came in and we talked upon Quincy matters. There was a very magnificent Aurora Borealis this evening which I went out to see. Afterwards, writing.

1.

CFA’s articles entitled “Mr. Webster and the Currency,” signed “A.,” appeared in six installments in the Advocate, the first on 25 Jan., the last on 8 February. Manuscript versions in CFA’s hand, together with newspaper clippings, are in the Adams Papers (M/CFA/24.14, Microfilms, Reel No. 320).

2.

That is, the reduction in revenue from tolls ... on freight formerly carried between Boston and Lowell but lost to the new reilroad.

3.

On the Adams family interest in the Middlesex Canal and on its history and prospects, see vols. 3:150–154; 5:18–19.