Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 25th.

Friday. 27th.

Thursday. 26th. CFA Thursday. 26th. CFA
Thursday. 26th.

Morning opened cloudy and with rain. I sat in my Study after breakfast and wrote a letter to Mr. Sparks1 besides doing some other little necessary things. As it was the day devoted to Thanksgiving, I was unable to have a command of my time, sufficient to sit down to any serious occupation. I only read two or three of the pieces in the Melanges Litteraires of Voltaire, which only tended to confirm me in my great admiration of the particular elegance of that Author.2 Writing as he did upon all subjects it is wonderful to perceive how delightful he can be upon them all. We were called for and so I stopped.

We rode to Medford with Mrs. Frothingham, and Mrs. E. Brooks. The day was rainy throughout and what might be strictly called gloomy. But I did not feel it quite so much as heretofore, although far from being in very exalted spirits. We found on arriving, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Everett and children, my father, Edward Brooks and Mr. Frothingham the two latter just arrived before us. The time passed pretty much as such time has often passed before, in the demolition of eatables which were given us in fair quantity and quality. I sat next to Mr. Frothingham and Eliza Brooks and did not derive much pleasure from their Company. The former is not a man to my taste, the latter is a pleasant woman but reserved and distant. The dinner passed off tolerably and in the Evening as Abby and I were to return with my father tomorrow morning, the Company left us to return before dark. We were therefore at home alone, and passed the evening very quietly in Conversation upon miscellaneous matters. It was a little sleepy but on the whole passed off well. I feel a species of constraint here which I cannot get over in any way and it troubles me exceedingly for I am aware that it hurts me with Mr. Brooks and with the rest. Strange to say, I feel it no where else excepting here and at home when they are present. For with strangers it seldom happens.

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1.

(LbC, Adams Papers). Upon request of Jared Sparks that he be allowed to examine and copy JA’s letters on public matters during the Revolution and JA’s second mission to Europe with a view to their publication in The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, JQA had brought to CFA’s house 21 volumes of JA’s letterbooks and written Sparks that he might have access to them there (13 Nov., LbC, Adams Papers). CFA repeats the terms and offers the use of his study for the work any mornings in the week.

2.

In the Deux-Ponts, 1791–1792, edition of the Oeuvres complètes of Voltaire in 100 vols., Mélanges littéraires is vol. 68. JQA’s copy is in MQA.