Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 11th. CFA Saturday. 11th. CFA
Saturday. 11th.

Morning clear and pleasant. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied first in reading a letter from my Mother, giving an Account of her perils as far as Hartford. She has had a pretty bad time of it since the snow fell. My father however had arrived safe.1 I occupied part of my morning reading the President’s Message which has just arrived. It is a strange mixture of singular doctrines not before heard in the Executive Chair of this Union.2 Part of my morning passed in preparing a draught of my opening of the debate for the Committee of the Society that meets this evening. And a part I felt obliged to 380occupy in walking. My health ought not to be trifled with, for that is the foundation upon which every man should build.

Afternoon, finished the second book of Cicero de Oratore, and was pleased with all the latter part of it in which he describes the various duties of an Orator, clearly and in brief. A peculiarity of this book is, that in it he makes his Speaker contradict every thing he said in the other. In the evening, I went out to the Debating Society as usual, where we had a pretty good sized Company. The old discussion was continued and finished. I said only a very few words. Wrote a little of my Catalogue, and read two numbers of the Tatler.


LCA had arrived at Hartford after a difficult trip in the evening of the 8th; JQA, after an even more rigorous journey, had joined her in the early afternoon of the 9th. Giving up plans to proceed by land, they took passage on the 10th on the steamboat Victory from Hartford to Saybrook and onward to New York on the 11th (LCA to CFA, 9 Dec., Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 8–11 Dec).


The President’s message, delivered to the two Houses on 7 Dec., appeared in the Boston Daily Advertiser, 11 Dec., p. 2–3.

Sunday. 12th. CFA Sunday. 12th. CFA
Sunday. 12th.

Morning bright but quite cold. The weather appears now to have become tolerably settled, and not more severe than one expects at this season. I attended divine service during the day and heard in the morning a discourse from Mr. Palfrey upon the subject of Truth. I do not know, whether I am right but this gentleman does not suit my taste much. He is not very agreeable as a Preacher, and there is a kind of Vinegar Acid in the tone, manner and character of the man, that repels his idea if I may so express it. Took a short walk after service before returning home. My Wife was not well enough to go out today.

As I have been pleased with Chapman’s general conduct so far as I have seen any thing of it latterly, and as I have never in any manner taken notice of it, I thought I would ask him to come and dine with me, today. He accordingly came and was very pleasant. His amiable disposition and creditable conduct on the whole have produced rather a favourable impression upon my mind.1 He went to Meeting with me in the Afternoon and we heard Mr. Frothingham, in a finished Sermon upon Social Worship. On the whole the day was pleasantly passed. I read in the Afternoon some of Enfield’s History of Philosophy, and in the Evening conversed with my Wife. Continued upon the Catalogue and read two Numbers of the Tatler.


Following the death of GWA and his own marriage, CFA, in keeping with the reformation he notes in his own be-behavior, had kept aloof socially from most of his old classmates and college friends, particularly those who had shared in his escapades and who remained unmarried. Jonathan Chapman 381was later mayor of Boston (1840–1842); he also became a contributor to the North Amer. Rev. and the Christian Examiner. See Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 3:247; John Langdon Sibley, Private Journal, p. 171–172 (MS, MHi, deposited in MH-Ar).