Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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.

Saturday. 25th. CFA Saturday. 25th. CFA
Saturday. 25th.

Christmas day and a very stormy one. It did not prevent me from going to the Office as I considered that staying at home was impossible from the danger of smoke in my study in such a day. I was entirely uninterrupted and passed my time in examining the sayings of the seven wise Men found in Enfield’s History of Philosophy and copying them with my own reflections attached to each.1 They appear to me to embody much real wisdom. I also wrote to my Father a letter which engrossed all the rest of the time left to me.2 The afternoon was also spent in copying the same, and in reading some few Pamphlets connected with the History of the Revolutionary Struggle. This took up all the Afternoon.

Evening passed partly in reading one of Jouy’s publications3 with my Wife in which however she did not take so much interest as I hoped. We were interrupted by Edward Brooks who again came in and talked very pleasantly during a part of the evening. He has latterly come here a great deal, and I am very glad to have him. For he talks pleasantly enough. I finished a volume of my Catalogue this evening, and read two Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

Certain of the apothegms of the so-called seven wise men of Greece were entered by CFA in a commonplace book originally used by GWA (now MGWA/9 in Adams Papers). To each he added a paragraph of commentary or reflection; to the whole he gave the title “Elements of Knowledge.” This was the same title which GWA had given to the entries he had made in the commonplace book, and it is clear from CFA’s note between GWA’s entries and his own that he intended his to be a continuation of his brother’s and something of a tribute to him:

“This volume is one of the remain-389ing memorials of an unfortunate brother, and presents at its commencement one of the best specimens of his mind within my knowledge. O! si sic omnia. Had perseverance only been his to fill the sketch he was so fully able to lay out, perhaps he would still have been among us, our pride and support. But since it was not the will of Providence that it should be thus, all that remains to me is to benefit as much by his good purposes as I can, and supply the deficiencies which in him prevented their execution. I therefore adopt here all that has been inserted and shall continue the extracts, varying only my method of making them as I think may be most advisable. Boston, Decr. 25th 1830”

(Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 295).
2.

CFA to JQA, 25 Dec., Adams Papers. For this letter, see below, entry for 29 Dec., note.

3.

Copies of a number of works by Victor Joseph Etienne deJouy are in MQA, particularly those which are descriptive of countries or cities and in which the central figure is a solitary or wanderer.