Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 12th.

Friday. 14th.

Thursday. 13th. CFA Thursday. 13th. CFA
Thursday. 13th.

Colder. I went to the Office and after getting through with my usual duties went out to call upon Mr. Hallett, Editor of the Advocate, in return for a visit paid by him to me. I had never seen him before. He is older than I expected and not at all the kind of man, but his conversation is full of information and his appearance intelligent.1 After a considerable stay, I went to the Athenaeum where I obtained a book or two and from thence to a Sale at Mr. Cunningham’s at which I purchased several works which I did not want. What a difference in satisfaction there is upon such occasions. When I buy a really useful book to me at Auction cheap, I am always glad of it. But when my purchase is merely for cheapness I regret it.

Afternoon, continued upon Masonry. Read several papers given me by Mr. Hallett, and began writing over No 7. I found it exceedingly 419hard work. My mind was not quiet. O, the difficulties of writing, and the uselessness of it. Yet day after day multiplies a thousand fold what man writes.

Evening quietly at home. Read Malvina, and began Lockhart’s Life of Burns.2 Apparently a tolerably agreeable book. Afterwards, travelled through two more paragraphs of Wielands. A paragraph is a sentence.


Benjamin Franklin Hallett (1797–1862) was a graduate of Brown University, had practiced law, and had been a newspaper editor in Rhode Island before moving to Boston to become editor of the Advocate in 1831. He soon assumed leadership in antimasonic politics in Massachusetts. A fairly extensive correspondence between JQA and Hallett, largely on antimasonic affairs, began just at this time, on 10 Dec., and continued through almost the whole of JQA’s interest in Antimasonry to 25 June 1836. An exchange of letters between CFA and Hallett covering a much briefer span, Nov. 1836 —July 1837, reflects the shift in CFA’s interests also, but more significantly the change in Hallett’s political stance and the end of CFA’s use of the Advocate for the expression of his opinions. Hallett’s later course, a refutation of his early principles, took him far from the Adamses’ position on public issues. ( DAB ; Bemis, JQA , 2:279–351 passim; Duberman, CFA , p. 46–57 passim. Hallett’s letters to and from JQA and CFA are in the Adams Papers.)


John Gibson Lockhart, Life of Robert Burns, Edinburgh, 1828.