Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

319 Monday. 13th. CFA Monday. 13th. CFA
Monday. 13th.

Morning cloudy but with a cold East Wind, which was extremely disagreeable. I took the Bath however being quite determined to persevere as long as it would be tolerable. After breakfast I went to Boston accompanied by Mr. Frothingham. At the Office, writing my Journal up which has for two months past had a tendency to run constantly behindhand, owing to the irregularity of my presence in the City. I then thought it would be as well to prepare a list of debts of the Estate of Robert New in order to set about a Commission of Insolvency. All which was done. A Commission applied for and granted.

I then thought it would be advisable to go down and see the condition of the Tenements in Tremont Street which are empty. Found two of them deserted and the new occupant of the other dissatisfied so that I do not see but what I shall have them all three upon me at once, and this affects my spirits. More care and responsibility. Returned to my Office and from there went off again to Medford. Afternoon reading Rollin upon Rhetoric. A subject in itself so full of good matter cannot fail to be interesting, but this Author affords little matter which I have not seen before. The fact is that after a certain point all is repetition. Quiet evening. Gorham Brooks paid a short visit here.

Tuesday. 14th. CFA Tuesday. 14th. CFA
Tuesday. 14th.

Morning cloudy and cold, with a drizzle from the Eastward. Went to town as usual. My first business was to go to my House to look at it’s condition and being there I made several alterations in my Library to meet the new acquisition of Buffon—My father having sent one of his Copies for my use.1 I feel always a great deal of pleasure in being in my study. It seems to be a literary atmosphere, in which I can indulge my favourite pursuits. But I could not stay at present. One fortnight will I hope see me back there.

One or two applications for the Tenements, a little of Hutchinson, and Accounts consumed the greater portion of the morning. Returned to Medford and found Mr. and Mrs. Everett with their children there to dine. Our dinner was pleasant as usual. My afternoon passed without any material occurrence excepting the doing nothing. A business of all others the most easy and least profitable.

Evening, Rollin upon the Eloquence of the Pulpit. He quotes much from the Fathers but on the whole his account is dry. The criticism of the Dictionnaire Historique appears in this case to be correct. His doctrine is superficial leaving no impression upon the mind. A mere 320series of passages from distinguished authors will hardly suffice, to get an understanding of style. They are various and confuse rather than teach.


The Histoire naturelle of George Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, published at Paris in 1800 in 74 volumes is in MQA and bears JQA’s bookplate.