Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 7th.

Friday 9th.

Thursday. 8th. CFA Thursday. 8th. CFA
Thursday. 8th.

This was the day appointed according to immemorial custom for the annual fast—One of the practices of the puritans of whom I am reading.1 I did not therefore go to the Office, but passed my time in reading the ninth and tenth books of Robertson. They are written with a great appearance of fairness but he did not feel the great points of character he was describing, and his inclination is rather to slur than to praise.

I attended Divine service at Mr. Frothingham’s and heard a good Sermon, to which however I could not listen, perhaps from my unfortunate habit of inattention. This practice of fasting is now in a great measure done away. Few people think it proper to pursue it and perhaps as the circumstances of the Country are changed it is now without what was once its most rational purpose.

The remainder of my day was passed usefully in reading Graham 209in which I made considerable progress and in writing a little upon the subject. It is useless to read much without writing, for the impressions soon wear away from the mind unless stayed by some attempt to fix them more permanently than reading will do. The subject of our ancient history makes itself on the whole much more interesting to me than heretofore, and I think I shall follow it with much more earnestness. No person in this Country who professes to be well informed should be ignorant of it, and I who call myself a young man of distinction should be least of all so. Looked into Marshall’s first volume and found myself following implicitly Robertson and Chalmers.2 The more I see of this work, the less I think of it. Judge Marshall has however revised his first work. Evening, Eustace to my Wife, and afterwards my father’s Lectures. This is a day delightfully spent. How far preferable to the disgusting troubles of the world, yet it cannot always be enjoyed and perhaps the mixture gives it a keener relish.

1.

The spring fast-day, announced by governor’s proclamation, was observed in Mass. on the first or second Thursday in each April (W. DeLoss Love, The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England, Boston, 1895, p. 510–514).

2.

George Chalmers, Political Annals of the Present United Colonies, from Their Settlement to the Peace of 1763, Book 1, London, 1780. See entry for 15 April, below.