Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday. 14th. CFA Friday. 14th. CFA
Friday. 14th.

Morning cold again and clear. I went to the Office as usual and occupied myself with writing. Conversation with my opposite Neighbour Mr. Peabody, and reading Enfield in which I accomplished a portion of the book containing the Account of Pythagoras and his School. But day after day I find the insufficiency of my time. I received a letter from my Father1 informing me of his paying Mr. Johnson2 which puts me at ease about my funds here although the two Tenants, Spear and Oliver have failed to pay. This will not do at all. Miss Oliver owes now $250. Went to the Athenaeum to pay my annual subscription and to try and find a book, but as I really could not see one that I felt as if I wanted, I only obtained a couple for my Wife and went home.

After dinner I continued and finished the review of the Topica, in which I was much helped by reading one of my father’s Lectures upon the subject.3 He seems fully to have studied and written from Antiquity, and I think his Book is much less valued than it should be.

In the Evening, we read French and I continued A Year in Spain to my Wife, after which I put a finishing hand to that Catalogue which has been so long in labour. This is truly delightful as it leaves room for an hour or two more of reading. I this evening accomplished a considerable portion of the North American Review, especially a 402heretical Article on the U.S. Bank by Mr. Bancroft.4 After which, two Numbers of the Tatler.

1.

JQA to CFA, 7 Jan., Adams Papers. For this letter, see below, entry for 25 Jan., note.

2.

See above, entry for 14 Dec. 1830.

3.

In the Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory by JQA, the “Topics” was the subject of lecture No. 9 (1:207–228).

4.

The article by George Bancroft on the “Bank of the United States” appeared in the North Amer. Rev. , 32:21–64 (Jan. 1831). The argument is directed against the conclusions stated in the report on the Bank written by George McDuffie of South Carolina as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, 13 April 1830. CFA discussed the article at some length and with reservations in his letter to JQA, 15 Jan., LbC, Adams Papers.

Saturday. 15th. CFA Saturday. 15th. CFA
Saturday. 15th.

It had been the intention for us to go to Medford and pass the Sunday, but we had not arisen more than an hour before a violent snow Storm set in from the North East and continued throughout the day. I went to the Office and was busy first in my usual affairs and afterwards in writing my weekly letter to my father.1 This and Conversation with Mr. Peabody occupied me until time to return home.

The Storm was such as not to allow of a fire in my Study. I therefore pursued my occupation of copying my letter at home. After which I went on with Middleton’s Life of Cicero. It does not meet my wants exactly as it contains only a sketch of his Actions and the History of the Period. This is interesting and valuable but not what I most need which is a Critique upon his Works.

In the evening French and the account of Spain to my Wife which is more and more pleasant as I go on. After which, for the first time, an uninterrupted space in which to read the North American Review, Article Hieroglyphics,2 and the Tatler.

1.

CFA to JQA, 15 Jan., LbC, Adams Papers.

2.

The authorship of the article, which centered upon the contributions of Champollion, is attributed to Edward Everett; North Amer. Rev. , 32:95–127 (Jan. 1831).

Sunday. 16th. CFA Sunday. 16th. CFA
Sunday. 16th.

The Storm had abated very little when we arose this morning, and it continued during the day, piling its heaps around us. We have had no such storms for two years. I did not stir out of the House all day. My occupation was reading Middleton’s Life of Cicero, and Drake’s Account of the Authors of the British Essayists, which last in it’s original shape I concluded. On the whole I have not experienced disadvantage from this reading. It has given me a view of the History of 403Essay Writing in England which I had not before. The acquisition of new ideas is always of value. The same Author has continued the History since the age of Addison and Steele, which I propose also to examine.1 I did not feel the pressure of time and accomplished a good deal.

Evening, reading to my Wife, from the Book upon Spain. This work of Mr. Slidell’s2 is really an acquisition in it’s way, it does credit to our Country. I afterwards read the North American Review, Article, The American System,3 which is a good Commentary upon Mr. Cambreleng’s miserable misrepresentation of our affairs—A statesman who is for setting a foreign Country over his own by a series of perversions of fact. After this, I read my regular quantity of the Tatler.

1.

Nathan Drake, Essays, Biographical, Critical, and Historical, Illustrative of the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler, 2 vols., London, 1809–1810.

2.

Thus in MS; the reference is to the book by Alexander Slidell Mackenzie.

3.

North Amer. Rev. , 32:127–174 (Jan. 1831); A. H. Everett was the author.