Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

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.


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).

Friday 14th. CFA Friday 14th. CFA
Friday 14th.

Fine weather. Distribution as usual omitting Greek.

My morning was entirely taken up by the various little forms incidental to the execution of the papers of Mr. Stanwood. I have been so long delayed that I determined if possible to push the matter right through to it’s termination. Having therefore got Mr. Goddard and Mr. Stanwood together, I waited until all the papers connected with the subject were ready drawn up and all the difficulties and impediments were removed and then we got through thus terminating this business. A very disagreeable affair from beginning to end, and my delay prevented my Greek. Coins, and Evening Miss Martineau and Crevier.

Saturday 15th. CFA Saturday 15th. CFA
Saturday 15th.

Fine day. Distribution as usual. Concert in the evening.

My time at the Office was taken up in a great degree by a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Kirk who had come into town for a settlement of their Summer wages Account. This took up a great deal of time.

Home where I began Alcestis over again. After dinner, coins and looked over parts of Cook’s Medallic History of Rome which is rather a superficial affair.

Mr. Brooks came in to tea and after it Mrs. Adams and I attended 156another concert of Mr. De Begnis. The music by himself and Russel, most of the latter old songs, the former is good as a comic performer. He sung an air from the Fanatico per la Musica very well, as also a duett from the Matrimonio Secreto.1 Strange that the Italians should be so musical a people. All other music sounds thin and poor, contrasted with their’s.


Il Fanatico per la Musica by Gaetano Rossi and Matrimonio Segreto by Cimarosa were operas, often performed.