Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 22d. CFA Wednesday. 22d. CFA
Wednesday. 22d.

This was the coldest morning, we have yet experienced this year, and is no very pleasant presage of what we are about to suffer during this winter. I went to the Office this morning and held myself more to occupation than I have done heretofore. I finished the book called Acts relating to the Colonies, in which is condensed very ably all that can be given upon that side. I am not surprised that Englishmen should have held on so tenaciously as they did for to them it must have been convincing reasoning. My Uncle Judge Adams called for half an hour to see me and talk a little. Nothing else remarkable took place. I went to the Athenaeum to get out one or two books and called to see Mr. Brooks but felt half frozen.

Afternoon, reading Brutus which I almost completed. The style of the latter part is interesting, more particularly as it gives us an insight into his method of pursuing the study of Oratory. It was highly laborious and moreover, it was in one particular1 essentially different from any thing that is pursued in our day. We have no Masters of Rhetoric and Philosophy with whom to argue. Do we gain or lose by it? Evening, Corinne and a little of a new book called Nollekens and 387his times,2 but Mr. Chapman came in and passed the Evening. Catalogue and Tatler.

1.

MS: “particularly.”

2.

John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and His Times, 2 vols., London, 1828.

Thursday. 23d. CFA Thursday. 23d. CFA
Thursday. 23d.

This morning was colder than yesterday and on the whole affords a bitter specimen of the severity of the Winter. I have rarely felt the action of the cold more even when the Thermometer was lower. At the Office as usual, where I read with attention the beginning of the papers of Novanglus, but I have given up the idea of writing upon the subject at present. It is too laborious in this cold weather. I wrote my Journal, and had one or two interruptions with demands to be paid. So my morning passed.

I had engaged with my Wife to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham so that I went down at the usual time. Nobody there but P. Chardon Brooks. I did not enjoy myself much, and returned only to get two hours of Cicero, but with it, I finished Brutus and began a review, which as usual strikes me much more pleasantly. The style seems then to fall into its place so much more easily. I hope to be able at the close to give a connected opinion about the book.

In the evening, Abby having returned, we sat down to read Corinne as usual, but Edward Brooks came in and passed nearly all of it with us in conversation. I did not sit up so long as usual this evening, as my fire went out but I still wrote in my Catalogue, and some of the Tatler.

Friday. 24th. CFA Friday. 24th. CFA
Friday. 24th.

Much milder weather this morning. I went down to the Office as usual. Found there a letter from my Father, requesting information of some missing things, and giving an account of the rest of his Journey. He arrived on the 17th after a pretty fatiguing time of it.1 My time was passed in reading my Grandfather’s letters to Mr. Tudor about the circumstances of the American Revolution.2 It is singular, but I have read these at least twice before and never have derived from them the kind of information I have now. Probably from the fact that I have obtained more information upon the subject generally.

Took a pretty long walk before dinner and concluded that as my father said he wanted information immediately,3 I would go out to Quincy at once. So I started with my man Benjamin Sawtell,4 and arrived there at a little after four. Found Mrs. Kirke had gone into Boston, so that after much delay and hesitation I was compelled to 388force the window of the second story to get into my father’s study, where I found both the Letter book and the Bank book which he missed.5 Having done this, I hastened to return and arrived at home shortly after seven o’clock in time to read Corinne with my Wife, to accomplish some of my Catalogue and to read a little of the Tatler.

1.

JQA to CFA, 18 Dec., Adams Papers.

2.

During 1817 and 1818 JA wrote a number of letters in which he rehearsed the events precedent to the Revolution as he recollected them. Many of these “Letters from the Hon. John Adams, to the Hon. Wm. Tudor, and Others, on the Events of the American Revolution” were published as an appendix (p. 229–312) to a collected edition of Novanglus and Massachusettensis ..., Boston, 1819.

3.

JQA was fearful that his bankbook and letterbook had been mislaid in one of the many trying episodes of the journey to Washington, or had been stolen. However, he admitted the possibility that they had been left behind in Quincy and therefore wished a search made (JQA to CFA, 18 Dec., Adams Papers).

4.

Earlier: “Salter.” See entry for 6 July, above.

5.

A fuller account of this expedition is contained in CFA to JQA, 25 Dec., Adams Papers.