Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 3d. CFA Tuesday. 3d. CFA
Tuesday. 3d.

Morning snowy and cold. I had some doubt about my executing my intention of going to Quincy but as it cleared up at noon decided in favour of it. Passed the morning however in constant labour with my pen, and transacting business. Called to receive my Dividends especially that upon the Dover Stock which makes me comfortable at once. I do not recollect for a long time so thoroughly employing my Morning. Mr. Brooks dined with us and kept me until after three, so that I started late in a Sleigh with my man for Quincy and did not get to my Uncle’s before Sunset. Took tea and transacted all my business with the family, had as little conversation as I could about 213Joseph’s affairs dreading the moans and groans from all quarters, and got home to my own fireside by seven o’clock. My Uncle looks ill and is singularly affected in his Nerves as I never observed before. On the whole this was a day actively spent. I was fatigued in the evening and read only the rest of the sixteenth book of the Iliad as well as my Spectators.

Wednesday. 4th. CFA Wednesday. 4th. CFA
Wednesday. 4th.

Morning excessively cold again. As this is the day fixed by the new System for the Political Year to begin and as business was not done by most People,1 I thought I would remain at home. Accordingly I sat down and occupied my morning in reading Gibbon which has for some days past been suspended. His Chapters upon the Christian Religion are worth studying not so much for the matter as the skilful manner of Attack. Took a short walk to the Office and met Mr. Geitner who paid me his Rent. Returned home and spent the Afternoon quietly. Finished the Treatise de Officiis and a large half of Cato Major or the defence of Old Age. A beautiful trifle thrown off without any effort. Such is the power of Art seconding a happy Nature. In the evening I read to my Wife part of the Canterbury Tales. Afterwards, I read the seventeenth book of Homer’s Iliad and finished the third volume of Gibbon, besides the usual Spectators. On the whole a pretty lazy day for an uninterrupted one.


Whether “Election Day” would be observed according to the usage of former years upon the convening of the General Court despite the change in the political calendar was a matter of uncertainty. The closing of businesses was not uniform; however, the public procession to the Old South Church, the ceremonies on the Common, &c., were carried out much as before (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 4 Jan., p. 2, col. 1; 5 Jan., p. 2, col. 1).

Thursday. 5th. CFA Thursday. 5th. CFA
Thursday. 5th.

The day was cloudy but mild. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied almost all my time in business. After looking over the large amount of my bills for the Quarter, I began to pay them and in a very short space of time disposed of the considerable sum received the other day. I also disposed of several of my father’s Accounts, and received his Dividends. These are again more than a fair average yet the bills seem to be almost inexhaustible. I think on the whole, I shall do well to make all things square in each case. The few days since the business of the year came in have been pretty thoroughly engrossed.

Dined with my Wife at Mr. Frothingham’s. Mr. Brooks, and Miss Frothingham his Niece were the only persons present. The dinner was 214tolerably agreeable although I felt the usual constraint in offering my opinions. Returned home and finished the Treatise de Senectute but as it was late I did not go on with the next, but diverged to look into the subjects of the present number of the North American Review. Continued this in the evening after spending the usual quantity of my time with my Wife and reading to her a part of the Canterbury Tales. Read an article upon Croker’s Boswell, upon Reform in England and upon the Tariff. The first I admired, the second terrified me and the third appeared to me most unusually weak for the Quarter from whence it comes.1 Finished the evening with my usual Spectators.


All were in the January issue of the North Amer. Rev. (vol. 34). The review of Croker’s edition of Boswell’s Johnson was by W. B. O. Peabody (p. 91–119); the article on “The Debate in the House of Commons on the Reform Bill” was by Edward Everett (p. 23–56); that on the tariff was by A. H. Everett (p. 178–198).