Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday 10th. CFA Monday 10th. CFA
Monday 10th.

Morning bright but very cold, for the season. There was a frost more severe than that yesterday morning, but whether it affected the fruit remains to be seen. This is certainly something of a drawback upon this Climate. We returned to town, but I felt cold and out of order all day. Went to the sale of Mrs. Humphreys things, but could not stay owing to the crowd and my disgust at being in such a place. Went from thence to the Office, after having given in my Probate bonds and obtained my Papers of Administration upon New’s Estate. I have now assumed this trust and hope I shall be able to carry it through, without making any mistake. The balance of my time was occupied in copying the Papers.

My afternoon was not spent profitably as I felt heavy and my Greek progressed slowly. I made up much of my deficiency however in the evening. It is a true test of the thorough character of study to review it soon after when the parts which were skimmed over will again present difficulty. But on the whole my former reading was pretty solid.


My wife was unwell all day. Her health is failing totally much to my regret. This is the first trouble of married life and the greatest, as it creates anxiety of the deepest character. The Physician has been attending her for months without apparently bringing about any favourable change.1 P. Chardon Brooks and his Wife came in and spent an hour or so in conversation. They are persons with very good feelings but I am sorry to say that the latter is a little dangerous. I must beware, for I sometimes as I did tonight say a wrong thing. It was again quite cold.


Dr. J. Greely Stevenson (M/CFA/9).

Tuesday 11th. CFA Tuesday 11th. CFA
Tuesday 11th.

The weather was cold and cheerless, and Abby was quite sick with a head ach so that I felt rather dull. Made inquiries about the Horse and received discouraging Accounts again. Indeed after reading what I saw in the Encyclopedia about the glanders, I have little expectation of his recovery. Mr. J. Y. Champney called and paid me the balance of his rent due on the 1st of April. This was unexpected, but it makes me quite easy, on that score. My Tenants now pay very well. I have no arrears excepting Hollis and Oliver. The former will require pretty strong management, for I shall never get any money out of him. The rest of my day was taken up in copying the Papers of Administration and studying the law upon them, which I find to be tolerably complicated. My course is not a perfectly clear one. I read the leading case making Administrators liable in their private capacity for a warranty of the title of their intestate, in the capacity of Administrator. Had no other time.

After dinner I read Aeschines assiduously so that before I went to bed, I had finished the Oration against Ctesiphon. Thus have I done in six days what occupied me before two months. I also passed the evening in reading to my Wife from my Father’s tour in Silesia.1


CFA owned a copy of the edition of JQA’s Letters on Silesia, Written during a Tour through that Country, published without the author’s knowledge at London in 1804, now in MQA. It had borne the title “Journal of a Tour through Silesia” on its original appearance serially in The Port Folio, vol. 1, 3 Jan.–7 Nov. 1801.

Wednesday. 12th. CFA Wednesday. 12th. CFA
Wednesday. 12th.

Morning clear and a little pleasanter, but still somewhat cheerless. This weather coming after that which was so pleasant makes the feeling of it just so much worse. I was tempted to diverge a little from 234my path and drop into Cunningham’s Auction room where I found the books of Mrs. Humphreys going for little or nothing. There were many French and Spanish works which I should have been much pleased to have possessed and for a moment or two the temptation was exceedingly strong to remain. I mastered it however by going away. For me of all persons it is the highest degree of absurdity to purchase books—Having at my own house a very respectable collection of works, and at my Father’s a very large one.

At the Office my time was passed in reading over the laws respecting Administration upon intestate insolvent Estates. And I then devoted an hour to Aeschines, making some progress. But at my Office I have no facilities, and though my business which should properly take up my time here is not sufficient without hazarding much waste, yet in attempting to make any other use of the moments, I find myself as if working out of the line. Afternoon, began Demosthenes, whose Oration I find much harder on this second reading. Probably because I took only the sense when I went before. Evening reading the Tour in Silesia for an hour to my wife, and Demosthenes for two by myself.