Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 14th.

Friday 16th.

Thursday 15th. CFA Thursday 15th. CFA
Thursday 15th.

Morning at the Office. The day was mild and bright though the Easterly wind prevents any softness in the air. Occupied all the 214morning in reading Graham and was much interested in it. His account seems to be fair and tolerably impartial—Giving to every author in turn his due merit and correcting them properly when wrong. My mind is not firmly made up, I think or it would waver less about my purposes. This subject is I am afraid as yet beyond me. But I will persevere and finish something at any rate for myself, and then we shall see what can be done with it.

My time was very little interrupted. After dinner I went myself to the Athenaeum, where I found Chalmers book, and took the opportunity to look over all the works upon America which I could find there. My general impressions become strengthened but as yet the mass is not woven so as to bear examination. My own impression is that the New England character has not been justly appreciated, that men have taken the start in giving false and unfavourable views of the early settlers which it will take long years to shake off. But whether by previous study or occupations I am the fit person to shake it off remains to be seen. At any rate it would be an honourable quest, and peculiarly appropriate in me, the descendant of one of the clearest of its lines, not undistinguished in its history. My thoughts flow in upon me far too fast to speak them even if I would. But they are only fit for secret meditations.

The evening was passed as usual, reading to my Wife out of Eustace the splendid description of the Church of St. Peter’s at Rome. A magnificent subject. After it, I read Mr. Clayton’s Speech in the Senate,1 and a Lecture of my Father’s. My spirits today exceedingly agreeable.

1.

JQA, in a letter to CFA (6 April, Adams Papers), had enclosed Speech of Mr. [John Middleton] Clayton, of Delaware ... on the Fourth Day of March, ... the Resolution of Mr. Foot of Connecticut, being under Consideration (Washington, 1830), with the statement that it “disputes the palm with that of Mr. Webster.” CFA was more restrained in his judgment of it (CFA to JQA, 17 April, LbC, Adams Papers).