Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 9th. CFA Wednesday. 9th. CFA
Wednesday. 9th.

The morning was cloudy but turned off quite fine. I began another undertaking this morning in addition to my former ones, to which I have been led by reading Dr. Parr’s Life, that is, the making a Catalogue of my Collection of Books. I propose to turn it to some account by learning the editions and their separate value and object. I began it this morning.

At the Office where I finished the volume of Mitford which I had been reading. The most prejudiced and unfair statements I ever read 257in History, compounded to produce an effect upon the occasional feelings of a people. I returned home quite early in order to go out with my Wife to Quincy. Accordingly we went and much to our surprise we found that my Mother was sick and confined to her room ever since Saturday, with a violent attack of erysipelas.1 My father’s spirits seemed much affected. Indeed I rarely recollect seeing him more dull. The time did not pass pleasantly to me, as the family seemed so disarranged. My father was regulating what he never did before, and Mrs. J. Adams doing nothing but sitting with her hands before her. The Child a nuisance, and altogether not over pleasant. The afternoon passed at my Mother’s bedside, I afterwards conversed a little with my father about his plans and prospects and tried to excite his weakened purpose of writing my grandfather’s life.2 After which we returned to town, and I finished Dr. Parr.


JQA pronounced it the “most terrific attack of St. Anthony’s fire that I ever witnessed” (Diary, 8 June).


“Charles urged me to resume the Memoir of my father’s life, which I have already too long neglected. I have in truth here less time at my disposal than at Washington” (JQA, Diary, 9 June). An 85-page fragment in JQA’s hand of a “Memorial of the Life of John Adams,” dated 5 Aug. 1829 is in the Adams Papers (M/JQA/46, Microfilms, Reel No. 241) and was printed by CFA in JA, Works , 1:13–89.

Thursday. 10th. CFA Thursday. 10th. CFA
Thursday. 10th.

The weather was rainy and unsettled during the morning and cleared off in the afternoon. My morning was not spent profitably. I wasted part at home, and at the Office found it much cut up. Deposited more money to the credit of my father, and gave orders for the binding of some of his books, after which I called at Hilliards in consequence of my father’s telling me he was the Author of the Chapters upon Greece in the Annual Register.1 Tried to read the first part of it upon the domestic History but progressed very little.

Gave orders today for the purchase of a quantity of Shingles in order to begin upon the repair of my Father’s Tenements which I have been meditating. I know of no time more favourable than the present, when I have funds which it is not likely I shall have again. I ordered the Nails and the lead and in this way expect I shall get through with this business very quickly.

After dinner I again began Aeschines for a final reading, and passed an hour in pasting my father’s Crest into his books, a necessary though not profitable work. Evening wasted doing nothing until nine when I read Logic, a little of Sir Joshua Reynolds and my continuation of Catalogue. A bright Aurora Borealis such as I never saw before.


JQA was the author of the chapters on Russia and Turkey, as well as that on Greece, in the American Annual Register (New York, 1830). A draft of the chapters (10–15) in his hand is in the Adams Papers (Microfilms, Reel No. 492).