Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 29th. CFA Tuesday. 29th. CFA
Tuesday. 29th.

Morning cloudy with a cold wind and altogether uncomfortable. I read Boswell as usual and went to the Office where my time was taken up in my regular duties of drawing up Accounts and writing my Diary. As this is nearly the close of the Quarter, it made me a little more busy than usual. I therefore accomplished the work of du Haillan but rather superficially.

Went to the Boylston Market and drew up the Record of the Director’s Meeting of yesterday. Then a short walk and I stopped in to see the furniture of Wm. H. Eliot’s House which is about to be sold.1 It is very genteel, and just what I should have thought expedient for a gentleman of fortune. His moving from it a little surprises me. Probably he was governed by circumstances different from his immediate wishes.

Afternoon, copied my last Letter to my Father and that to Mr. Stetson and read the second Oration against Catiline which did not appear to me particularly remarkable. Evening, Parry, Boswell and the Spectator.

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1.

William H. Eliot’s home was at 9 Beacon Street. The contents of the house were to be sold on the premises on 30 March ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830; Boston Daily Advertiser, 29 March, p. 3, col. 6).

Wednesday. 30th. CFA Wednesday. 30th. CFA
Wednesday. 30th.

The weather was cloudy this morning with a warm Southerly Wind and very heavy showers at Intervals. I finished Boswell’s Tour to the Hebrides this morning. This work is amusing, but it ought to have been read before the Life of Johnson to give it a proper effect, as the latter work contains much the best Picture of the Dr’s mind. None has ever been so fully laid bare to the public, and none could exemplify more strongly in itself the singular medley of weaknesses and power of which the human mind generally is composed. I do not know that such books are a blessing, for they tend to destroy all the Romance about perfection of character which though occasionally it may do harm, yet will more generally produce good in leading us to think favourably of our powers of virtuous action.

At the Office, where I passed my time in reading the Analysis of the Republic of Plato.1 Went afterwards to the Athenaeum, thence home, and in the afternoon read the Third and fourth Orations against Catiline. They are able, and breathe a spirit of Patriotism which though it sometimes goes a little on Stilts, is on the whole very admirable. The composition of all but the fourth is simple. The arrangement of that is tolerably artful.

Evening, continued Parry, to my Wife; after which the third Volume of Kotzebue containing the Science of the Expedition. After which the Spectator.

1.

In Bibliothèque de l’homme public, vol. 4, with CFA’s marginalia.

Thursday. 31st. CFA Thursday. 31st. CFA
Thursday. 31st.

Morning clear and warm but very windy. I continued reading Kotzebue’s third Volume this morning and was interested in his Account of the South Seas, and the habits of the Islanders although I do not think that he makes out much with a great parade of learning. He refers to former Navigators to show he has read them and to give information which he ought to have given, or else not have pretended to say any thing about it.

Went to the Office where it being the last day of the Quarter I was very busy in making up my Account, copying it out and writing a Letter explanatory as usual.1 This was however stopped by one Mr. 20Loker from Weston who bored me two hours about a County Road which I did not care about hearing. What annoyances these men must be to a Country Lawyer.

Took a short walk and dined at Mrs. Frothingham’s with my Wife and Horatio Brooks. Returned home. Copied my Letter, and read one half of the Oration for Murena—In which one sees more of Cicero’s Speaking for the occasion. Read Parry in the Evening. More of Kotzebue and the Spectator. Horatio Brooks lodged here.

1.

CFA to JQA (LbC, Adams Papers).