Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Tuesday 11th. CFA Tuesday 11th. CFA
Tuesday 11th.

Fine day. Usual division of time.

I was at the Office, but the Editor of the Courier sent me an article from the Globe bringing up the whole story of my papers of the Conservative criticizing the doctrine much in the manner it formerly did.1 I think it a good opportunity for throwing in another dose to rectify public opinion, which has been operated upon, I perceive although without any immediate outward demonstration, by what I have already written. I therefore occupied myself both morning and afternoon in producing something which I think would answer.2

Went also with my Wife to make a formal call upon Mr. and Mrs. Webster, he having left a card for me when he returned my father’s visit. This is a poor business. Also called upon Mr. and Mrs. Seaver at Mrs. Carter’s. And did not omit Alcestis. In the evening continued a goodly portion of Miss Martineau who is amusing and egotistical. And sat up late doing the revise of my Article.

154 1.

The Globe, on 4 Dec. (p. 3, cols. 4–5), reasserted the interpretation of CFA’s papers it had made earlier (cf. the entries for 15 and 17 Aug.).

2.

To The Globe’s reiterated charge that “A Conservative’s” articles in the Courier were an expression of Webster’s views and were representative of northern whig positions generally, CFA, again signing as “A Conservative,” replied that the administration organ lumps together all varieties of whig opinion “to drive the South into a concentrated support of the only Northern man who dares in high office to think and act as if he was a slaveholder.” To demonstrate the lack of validity in The Globe’s position, he reveals his support of Van Buren over Webster in the last presidential election. That support ended, however, when Van Buren, in his inaugural address and after, “made himself the instrument for perpetuating the slaveholding policy” (Boston Courier, 14 Dec., p. 2, cols. 1–2).

Wednesday 12th. CFA Wednesday 12th. CFA
Wednesday 12th.

Day fine, distribution as usual, ball in the evening.

I had for once a morning of entire leisure, interrupted only by a visit from Mr. Jones of Weston about some wood, which he wishes to buy of me. I cannot deal with these acute Yankees.1

Read a historical account of the Chapel and of Episcopal service made some years since in a series of Sermons by Mr. Greenwood.2 It is full liberal to the Royalist doctrines. The educated class here are generally rather hightoned. One remarkable circumstance struck me, that is, the entire absence of names well known here. It would seem as if the race had been pulled up by the roots which had been cherished by Episcopacy, at the critical time of the Revolution.

Finished Alcestis. I will now go over one of the most touching dramas that ever was written. Coins and Miss Martineau. But we went to a ball at Mrs. S. Appleton’s which was lively and pleasant. Her house is well adapted to entertaining company, and her parties are usually as tolerable as such vapid things ever are any where.

1.

On Col. John Jones of Weston, see vols. 2:251 and 4:index.

2.

Probably Francis W. P. Greenwood’s History of King’s Chapel, Boston, Boston, 1833. After the Revolution the Chapel became Unitarian.

Thursday 13th. CFA Thursday 13th. CFA
Thursday 13th.

Fine weather, usual distribution. Evening at the Theatre.

I was occupied at the Office in the morning for the most part in looking over papers connected with the long delayed matter of the mortgaged Estate of Mr. Thorndike. At last we have pressed up the execution of the conditions, but have not yet executed the papers. Tomorrow was assigned for the purpose.

Read the whole of Potter’s translation of Alcestis previous to a review of the original. There are passages of no meaning in the transla-155tion which manifestly result from mystery in the text. After dinner coins.

Mrs. Adams and I carried our two children Louisa and John to the Theatre for the first time. Hackett in the parts of Solomon Swap and Monsr. Tonson, and the Spectacle of the Forty Thieves.1 The first impressions of children are always curious subjects for philosophical observation. They depend much upon temperament and as it respects these two were entirely and singularly different. While the one seemed affected in an extreme and almost hysterical manner, the other appeared overwhelmed into silence by the rapidity of his ideas. Hackett is a perfect specimen of the Yankee character throwing out its characteristics in a very striking and laughable manner. He overacts less than I had been formerly led to suppose.

1.

Solomon Swap in Jonathan in England and M. Morbleu in William Thomas Moncrieff’s Monsieur Tonson were among James Henry Hackett’s most popular roles. Jonathan in England was Hackett’s title for his condensation of George Colman’s Who Wants a Guinea? The Forty Thieves was a concoction devised by Stephen Price, manager of the Park Theatre in New York, from a variety of sources (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 2:315; 3:49, 386; on Hackett, see vol. 4:viii–ix).