Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Monday. April 16th. CFA Monday. April 16th. CFA
Monday. April 16th.

I was later than usual at my Record owing to some arrangements 121about taking a bath, and was compelled to omit my Geography, but the remainder of the day was busily employed. Wrote a letter to Abby, and prepared for the reading of Tacitus.

My undertakings for this Summer are to be Grotius and Puffendorf in the Law of Nations,1 Coke Littleton in Law,2 and Tacitus in the Classics. No very small work. God prosper the undertaking.


Three sets of Hugo Grotius’ Droit de la guerre et de la paix, published in La Haye in 1703 and in Basle in 1746 and in 1768, are among JQA’s books in the Stone Library, which also contains two copies of Samuel Pufendorf’s Le droit de la nature et des gens, published in Amsterdam in 1734 and in 1795, once belonging to JQA. Among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library is a copy of Grotius’ The Rights of War and Peace, London, 1738, as well as a London edition, 1729, of Pufendorf’s Of the Law of Nature and Nations ( Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 111, 204).


Edward Coke’s famous Institutes of the Lawes of England, London, 1628–1644, in four parts, which consisted of Sir Thomas Littleton’s treatise on tenures with an elaborate commentary by Coke, long the standard authority on real property in England and America. For JA’s set of Coke’s Institutes, published in London, 1628–1681, 4 vols., see Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 54.

Tuesday. April 17th. CFA Tuesday. April 17th. CFA
Tuesday. April 17th.

Finished my Record and Geography in very good season. I also devoted my morning assiduously to law until the mail arrived which brought me letters from Abby and from George.1 I was too much taken with these for a time to continue my study to the close of the regular time. But I spent the remainder of the day in reading part of Campbell’s Rhetoric, Burke’s French Revolution and some little study of the previus history before taking up Tacitus. After dinner, ride with John and spent the evening with the family.


GWA’s letter is missing.

Wednesday [18 April]. CFA Wednesday [18 April]. CFA
Wednesday 18 April.

Performed my morning duties with all propriety. Instead of law however I was engaged in sitting to Mr. King for three hours after which my time, excepting half an hour reading a life of Tacitus, was devoted to writing to my dear Abby. In the evening, attempting to amuse the family.

Thursday. April 19th. CFA Thursday. April 19th. CFA
Thursday. April 19th.

I was engaged in the regular performance of my duties throughout the day, until four o’clock, when I desisted as I was obliged to prepare myself for dinner at Dr. Watkins’s. We found assembled, Messrs. Hall of the Marine Corps, McKeever of the Navy, and Ramsay of 122the Army, Columbus Munroe1 and two gentlemen lately arrived to take situations in the Branch bank of the U.S. in consequence of the troubles and removals which have occurred lately. The dinner was a pleasant one and the Champagne circulated freely; we were detained until after ten o’clock. It was more of a drinking set-to than any thing I have seen very lately. But we were all prudent. McKeever is a pleasant fellow and Hall really a gentleman. Walked home and went to bed fatigued and a little disgusted.


Lt. Joseph C. Hall, of Maryland; Lt. Isaac McKeever, of Pennsylvania; Lt. George Douglas Ramsay, of Virginia; and Columbus Munroe, a clerk in the Washington post office (Force, National Calendar, 1824, p. 157, 138, 113; Washington Directory, 1827).