Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

315 Tuesday. 7th. CFA Tuesday. 7th. CFA
Tuesday. 7th.

The morning opened dark and cloudy. So much so that I felt myself obliged to advise Abby to remain here a little while longer. Feeling as if I was bound to keep an Appointment which I had made with Daniel Adams the Pumpmaker1 I went in but he disappointed me and did not come. It poured with prodigious violence during the last part of the time. I in fact accomplished very little during my stay. Some few small Commissions for Abby and my Mother, were finished, and I hastened after giving directions for transferring some things to Quincy by the baggage Waggon to make my way back as well as I could. Luckily for me the rain held up while I was going.

My father attended the Meeting of the Proprietors of Neponset Bridge and dined with them at Squantum. I was glad to be at home. My afternoon was passed without occupation, as I carried my Catalogue to town. I read for my amusement a part of Sevigniana or a collection of beauties from the Letters of Madame de Sévigné.2 They are amusing and perhaps make the pleasantest way of reading that lady’s voluminous Correspondence. But this occupation does not quite satisfy me. Something more serious ought to be my study.

Evening a conversation with my Mother in which I explained to her my views in the course which I had thought proper to adopt and gave my opinion of the disadvantages attending John’s proposed course, perhaps more freely than was necessary.

1.

Daniel Adams, pump- and block-maker, had a “stone store” on India Wharf ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

2.

JQA’s copy of the edition published at Paris in 1768 of Sévigniana, ou recueil de pensées ingenieuses ... tirées des lettres de Madame la marquise de Sévigné, is in MQA.

Wednesday 8th. CFA Wednesday 8th. CFA
Wednesday 8th.

The rain poured all day and precluded the possibility of our moving an inch. So that I made the best of it and commenced reading Rollin’s Maniere d’etudier les Belles Lettres.1 The critic in the French Dictionnaire Historique thinks it superficial and confused,2 yet so far as I have gone it strikes me there is great merit and clearness. His method is perhaps not perfect, but in a work like this which is to give mere advice perhaps the best way to give it is the pleasantest or most agreeable manner. Not a regular course which must be studied but an easy one with occasional variety to keep up the attention. I pursued it nearly all day with little or no cessation as I had not any means to vary it properly. Took up however a book upon Gardening which I exam-316ined with a view to some improvement in the cultivation of the garden here in future, and to the cultivation of an Orchard at Mount Wollaston, a project entertained by my father and myself. Evening, Conversation with my Mother and having no work retired early.

1.

De manière d’enseigner et d’étudier les belles lettres by Charles Rollin, rector of the University of Paris, along with other works by him, had been among the favorite books of JA. See JA, Earliest Diary , p. 52; Adams Family Correspondence , 1:142–143; 2:40–41. His copy of an edition in English is now among his books in MB. At MQA there are two copies, one owned by JQA and published at Leyden in 1759 in 4 vols., the other also in 4 vols., Paris, 1741.

2.

Dictionnaire historique et bibliographique portatif. The edition at MQA was published at Paris in 1777 in 3 vols. and has JQA’s bookplate.