Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

1 Tuesday. March 1st. CFA Tuesday. March 1st. CFA
Tuesday. March 1st.

The soft weather still continues. I went to the Office as usual and passed my time rather more profitably than heretofore. For having accomplished the usual duties I sat down and read with some attention the rest of Enfield’s History of Philosophy. This is on the whole a valuable book, valuable for reference after it has been read. It has succeeded in giving me what I have long felt the need of, a general view of the subject. I shall now feel better prepared to progress with the philosophical works of Cicero.

Took a walk, but I felt the enervating effect of the air, and a little of that bilious disposition which the Spring Season always produces in me. After dinner, Miss Adams paid me a visit in my study and conversed with me upon the subject of her affairs. I obtained from her what I concluded to be her desire, in order to send it to Washington, and was engaged for the rest of the day in finishing and copying my letter to this effect.1 My father has not written to me lately. I hope nothing has offended him.

Evening passed with the ladies. I tried a little of Buffon but did not make much progress. Port Royal Greek Grammar and the Tatler.


Abigail S. Adams had fixed upon May for her marriage. In conformity with “the general practice here for the Lady to furnish her House,” she planned expenditures for furniture for two or three rooms in Mr. Angier’s house in Medford. Her requirements therefore on 1 April would be for $625 from the legacy to her from JA being administered by JQA until she reached her majority or married. The $2,500 then remaining in her account, she wished to be put in trust for her (CFA to JQA, 28 Feb., LbC, Adams Papers).

Wednesday. 2d. CFA Wednesday. 2d. CFA
Wednesday. 2d.

Morning mild again. The continuance of this weather shows a final stop to the Winter. And the immense masses of snow that have been gathering in our Streets for months now vanish like mist before the warm rays of the Sun. I confess this is cheering, to me for it seems like the reanimation of the world, as if the heavy weight which was pressing upon Nature was to give way to life and joy.

I went to the Office and from there to the Supreme Court for the purpose of being admitted to the bar of that Court, which in due time was done. This constitutes me an Attorney to all intents and purposes.1 2Returned to my Office but finding little to do, I went to the Athenaeum and passed an hour in considering the subject of my Article and the correction of it.2 Also looked into the third volume of Bradford’s History of Massachusetts,3 which I found pretty much what I supposed.

Took a walk with Edmund Quincy and returned home to dine. Found the family in trouble from the domestics, which I settled by dismissing another of the Household. Afternoon, Conversation with my Wife upon it. She is not exactly in condition now to be troubled. Read a portion of the Oration for Caecina which is a question of pure law and therefore difficult. Read also some of the Institutes of Justinian. Evening, quietly at home, Greek Grammar and the Tatler.


The Boston bar was divided into three classes: attorneys at the Common Pleas, attorneys at the Supreme Judicial Court, and counselors at law ( Mass. Register ). Advancement from one class to the next was largely, though not wholly, determined by length of experience in practice.


See above, vol. 3, entry for 23 February.


Alden Bradford’s History of Massachusetts for the period from 1764 to 1789 had been published in 2 vols. at Boston in 1822; a third volume, 1790–1820, was published in 1829.