Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 29th.

Wednesday. 31st.

Tuesday. 30th. CFA Tuesday. 30th. CFA
Tuesday. 30th.

A hard rain in the night with occasional showers through the day. Having made an appointment with the maker of the grate to take his measures at my house I went to town. My time was passed in a pretty useless manner with the exception that I finished Marshall’s Life of Washington. It is a work written without much pretension to style or interest, containing a good deal of valuable matter of fact but none of the speculative philosophy which might in this case have worked to great advantage. At the same time, it must be confessed that the use of it is not without danger.1 Perhaps the part of discretion is to avoid it.

Returned home and passed the Afternoon in my usual occupation—Horace three or four of whose Odes I endeavour to read daily and some of the old letters. They are in such a state of confusion that the endeavor to reduce them to order seems absurd. Yet who will ever do it? If I am to judge from the indications of the past five years, certainly not my father. Evening, read aloud some of that amusing book, Humphry Clinker.2


Because of its Federalist bias, perhaps.


On returning Marshall’s Life of Washington to the Athenaeum in the forenoon, CFA had borrowed Smollett’s Works (“Entry of Books Borrowed,” MBAt archives).