Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday. 6th. CFA Monday. 6th. CFA
Monday. 6th.

The morning was dark and cloudy and it commenced raining, changed afterwards to Snow and assumed the regular appearance of one of our North Easters. I regret that two days more were not allowed to my Mother to get beyond the reach of it all. But I hope she has gained so much on it as to make her Journey easy compared with what it might have been.

I went to the Office as usual and after arranging all my balances, paying off the sum chargeable upon me from my Fathers property, which makes my Investment complete, I sat down and progressed somewhat in my German. But the book I brought from Quincy is altogether too hard to begin with.

Returned home and the storm was so high I was afraid of having a fire in my Study. I sat in the basement room and accomplished twenty three Sections of the Second book de Oratore. They had been read pretty thoroughly before. But now comes the series of Jokes which is somewhat more difficult. I hope to accomplish this better than before. Evening, the usual portion of Corinne and Lady Morgan’s nonsense. After which I completed Addison’s Critique upon Paradise 377Lost with Johnson’s remarks upon the versification. This study has not been without benefit to me. It has served to give me a better idea of the nature of this great Poem. Two Numbers of the Tatler.

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

I find I have got into a regular practice of beginning my daily Journal with an Account of the Weather. Perhaps this is not without it’s use, though in the long run, it may have a tone of Monotony.1 The weather was fine and clear with sharp cold.

I went to the Office as usual and spent my time in my usual occupations, making some little progress in German. My father’s Trunk came in the course of the morning which warned me that he was coming in to take his departure. Received Letters from my Mother this morning, notifying us of her reaching Sturbridge before the Storm. This is not quite so far as I had expected but still it is a good way on.

Returned home, and after having seated myself quietly to proceed with my studies my Father arrived, cold and comfortless from Dedham.2 The rest of the afternoon passed in arranging papers for my father, receiving directions from him upon the various little things he commissioned me with, and copying a series of the Papers which it was necessary to insert relating to the execution of my Grandfather’s will. This is I hope the final charge likely to come upon my father’s property.

Evening, Conversation with my father. I engaged him very pleasantly and could not help wishing that he could stay to give me the benefit of his conversation a little longer. But the Stages were so arranged, he was to start tomorrow morning. Col. J. B. Davis hearing that my father was here, called and spent an hour or two.


In recording the weather as a part of each diary entry CFA was but following the practice of his father and of his grandfather, whose very first efforts at journal-keeping were primarily observations on the weather; see JA, Earliest Diary , p. 33–34.


The date of JQA’s departure had been fixed by the necessity that the executors of JA’s will appear in the Probate Court at Dedham on 7 Dec. to submit their accounts for the Court’s approval and to prepare for the second distribution of proceeds of the estate to the devisees on 1 Jan. (JQA, Diary, 7 Dec.; JA, Will, Inventory, and Estate Papers, p. 109–111, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 181).

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

Morning mild and clear but it clouded up before midday. I awoke with a most excruciating head ach and had been up only a few minutes before it was followed by nausea and vomiting. I have not felt so sick 378for a long time. My father started for Washington at about nine,1 and I felt melancholy at having him go. For this transfer from one place to another, is getting to be a serious thing at his time of life. But so it must be.

I went to the Office as usual and was very busy in several occupations of money concerns that troubled me, being left by my father to be immediately done. The sale of New’s Estate also took place today and I attended it and had it sold to Mr. Grosvenor the highest bidder again for $305.00.2 This over, I found myself so unwell I thought it advisable to go home and barely reached it in time. I was so unwell I found myself able to do little or nothing but lie down and be as quiet as possible. I read a little of Mr. Drake and was not so well pleased as I went on seeing how evidently he is a Bookmaker.3 Finished with two numbers of the Tatler and retired early.


Because of the severe storm and of the reports of bad traveling conditions in LCA’s letters, JQA modified his plans and took the stage for Hartford, planning to join LCA there (JQA, Diary, 7 Dec).


See entry for 14 Oct., above.


In the disparaging sense of making a trade of the compilation of books or, as the current phrase has it, of non-books; see entry for 5 Dec., above.