Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 29th.

Friday. 31st.

Thursday. 30th. CFA Thursday. 30th. CFA
Thursday. 30th.

Dull morning but it afterwards cleared away. I remained at Quincy. In the hope of improving my time better, I this day moved my place of study to the Office, and devoted a considerable portion of the morning to reading the first Chapter of Neale’s History of the Puritans.1 My winter’s examination of English History has given me a pretty good idea of the subject of this book. Yet I may here pick up bits.

I take up the work as preparatory to a general view of American History which it is highly necessary for me to take. The very extraordinary slowness of my father in doing any thing with the Papers which were a legacy to him for the purpose of using, and his perceptible 97advance in age warn me of the necessity of gathering what I may for some distant occasion.2 My present leisure could not be better employed.

I have finished the Epistles of Horace and begin the Epodes. Afternoon, a walk to Payne’s hill in quest of rent. I pick it up by driblets. It is hardly worth the trouble—I mean my Commission for which I do it. Evening, Madame de Sevigné and the Observer.


Daniel Neal’s History of the Puritans ... to 1688 is in MQA in an edition in 5 vols., Newburyport, Portsmouth, and Boston, 1816–1817.


Upon his retirement from the Presidency, JQA had projected as an occupation for himself the writing of a biography of JA and had in a desultory fashion, under CFA’s persistent urging, composed some of it. However, he never summoned the necessary enthusiasm for the task and was drawn ever farther away from it by his return to the political arena (see vol. 3:257; 4:175, 352).