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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0001-0021

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-01-21

Wednesday. 21st.

Morning at the Office, engaged in writing a reply to my father’s last letter. I touched upon the topic so sore between us; perhaps I said too much, but I could not avoid expressing my feeling at any hasard.1 The tone was very subdued. I then discussed other matters of politics. Afternoon, much interested in a Chapter of Adam Smith upon the Banking System, which gave me many new notions. Evening, Mr. Boswell who is still interesting, although one’s opinion of him diminishes as we go along, and Mr. Otis upon the Hartford Convention, whose reasoning is rather specious than solid.2
1. Acknowledging receipt of his allowance, CFA recurred to “the very tender . . . subject” of his angry interview with JQA over finances on 22 August 1828. Instead of using harsh reproaches, his father should have resorted “to the influence of kindness or of reason.” “. . . if there is a disposition on your part so great to aid us,” he added, “let it also be remembered that it requires { 337 } only a fair conviction of the fact, to occasion cheerful and much greater sacrifices ... on our part to prevent it. Until this time at least, it will be admitted, the occasion has not called for them on either side” (CFA to JQA, 21 Jan. 1829, LbC , Adams Papers).
2. Harrison Gray Otis, Letters Developing the Character and Views of the Hartford Convention, Washington, 1820.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0001-0022

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-01-22

Thursday. 22nd.

Morning at the Office, reading the Massachusetts Reports and the third Volume of Kent’s Commentaries. I also took an opportunity to look into Austin’s Life of Gerry and read a few pages upon the old party times.1 Afternoon, read over Adam Smith’s masterly Chapter upon Stock. Evening, Mr. Boswell. My time now passes very pleasantly in regular and constant attention to very interesting subjects, my spirits generally good, and presenting on the whole a powerful contrast to my condition last year, proving to me that my course has been the correct one.
1. CFA’s copy of James Trecothick Austin, The Life of Elbridge Gerry, 2 vols., Boston, 1828–1829, is in the Stone Library.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0001-0023

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-01-23

Friday. 23rd.

Morning at the Office. Occupied in reading some important cases in the Massachusetts Reports. I also read a few pages of Austin’s Life of Gerry where I found a most remarkable letter from my Grandmother.1 Such things perhaps may contribute to make a man too proud, but it is certainly a singular fortune of our’s, to be the descendants of so much talent and distinction on all sides. The dream of ambition is a pleasant one, and had I not much to break my spirit and check it’s luxuriance, none would have been more active and energetic in supporting, or at least attempting to support, the high standard of our race. But as yet I am not certain that my days are not numbered, or at least that there is not to be a complete period to my hopes. My feelings are more quiet now, but not less settled. I hope more and am more prepared.
Afternoon, Adam Smith. In the evening, I went to the Theatre and heard performed, the Marriage of Figaro with the Music of Mozart. I recollect this from the absurd figure that a man made when I saw the same piece attempted some years since at New York. It was pretty well this time, but I was not so well pleased as on last Friday. The Overture was good. Ballet of the Caliph of Bagdad.
1. AA wrote Gerry, 31 Dec. 1796: “The elevated station in which the suffrages of our country have placed our friend [JA], is encompassed with so many dangers and difficulties, that it appears to me a slippery precipice, surrounded on all sides with rocks, shoals and quicksands” (Austin, Gerry , 2:143–145).
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