Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 18th. CFA Thursday. 18th. CFA
Thursday. 18th.

I am twenty four years old this day. And what have I done to make the reflection of this age agreeable to me? Little or nothing. Time is flying and I am almost stationary. The past year has brought with it new cares and new relations. I am now a father as well as a husband and son. I believe I am duly grateful for the many blessings which I enjoy, and if I am anxious, it is only because I cannot altogether fulfill the measure which is set for me. My labours are not small and yet my progress is mortifying. On the whole this Anniversary was one of 115melancholy reflection upon myself, though not with any mixture of shame. I believe I may congratulate myself that I am innocent of any criminal neglect or violation of duty, and relying upon divine assistance to guide me in my further progress, I may hope that if I do not sustain the reputation transmitted to me, I shall at least place no spot upon it.

Morning finished Vida, who to my taste is very inferior to Horace. He is diffuse and weak though smooth. There is good sense, and judgment in his Verses and perhaps in point of method he is superior to his predecessor.

My Wife was quite weak this morning, and seemed to suffer a good deal. I went to the Office and finished copying the last of the Bible Letters; the thing now is to compare them, and the case is done. T. B. Adams Jr. called to see me and, I followed him down soon to see the Gallery of Paintings for exhibition. It is good but contains a very small proportion of pictures not before exhibited.1 Returned home and in the Afternoon read Cicero’s Letters to Cassius, Trebonius, and others in the 12th book, at the time of the final struggle for liberty. Read Bacon’s Essay on Death.

Evening with my Wife after which I read over the first Chapter of Grahame for further study. I want to fix firmly the early History. Read the Spectator as usual—Sir Roger at the Theatre.


The annual exhibition at the Athenaeum Gallery had opened on the preceding Monday and had already had a newspaper review (Boston Patriot, 15 Aug., p. 2, col. 2; 17 Aug., p. 2, cols. 3–4).

Friday. 19th. CFA Friday. 19th. CFA
Friday. 19th.

Morning warm and clear. The rain appears to have ceased for some time. I went to the Office after passing an hour in reading Boileau’s Art Poetique. One of the most finished specimens of versification extant. If any thing the artificial construction so apparent is the thing least calculated to please. Poetry certainly is pleasing in a negligé dress though not slovenly. Yet I admire the vigour of the style, the point of the verses and the finish of the measure. Nothing in French exceeds it in its way. But I do not think that he equals Horace in the passage imitated from him, which I have already noticed.

Went to the Office where I met again Mr. Peabody who has just lost his Father1 and has been absent from Boston a good while in consequence. Corrected several of my fathers Bible Letters. Richardson called to pay me a visit and to inform me of his engagement to be married, upon which I congratulated him.2


Afternoon, reading Cicero’s Thirteenth Book, many letters of which are merely recommendations. A few more interesting. Read Bacon’s Essay upon Unity in Religion. Great as his mind was, he could not take in the possibility of general toleration of religious differences. And yet the Puritans have been condemned for not knowing the thing to be practicable.

Evening. Walked with my Mother to Mrs. Frothingham’s. Saw her husband and passed half an hour with him. Returned, read more of Grahame, and two numbers of the Spectator. My Wife has been tolerably but is still very weak, the child seems comfortable.


An obituary notice of Oliver Peabody of Exeter, N.H., appeared in the Boston Patriot, 24 Aug., p. 2, col. 6.


John Hancock Richardson was married to Lydia Anne Thaxter, daughter of Levi Thaxter, in Watertown (Columbian Centinel, 7 Jan. 1832).