Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 17th. CFA Tuesday. 17th. CFA
Tuesday. 17th.

Another very agreeable morning. I went to the Office as usual but owing to the want of a book again wasted my time. My last number appeared in the Daily Advertiser this morning and adds one more to the list of my labours of love. I wrote my Journal and went over Accounts which with more than an hour consumed in other occupations out, as going to the Athenaeum and Commissions for my Wife, on the whole made away with the time.

Mr. Brooks and Mr. Frothingham dined with me upon venison and we had a very pleasant time. The former incidentally asked me who was the Author of the numbers upon the Treasury Report in such a 223manner as to be highly flattering to me. On the whole this little trifle pays me for the labour I have taken. After dinner, I read the first book of the Rhetoric to Herennius and found it a meagre summary of the various Works of Cicero, having little or nothing original to recommend it.

Evening. Read to my Wife a part of a Canterbury Tale. After which I read over the 21st Book of the Iliad and began a short biography of Fuseli the Painter.1 Nothing further excepting the usual numbers of the Guardian.


That contained in John Knowles, Life and Writings of H. Fuseli, 3 vols., London, 1831, which work consisted largely of Fuseli’s lectures. See above, entry for 8 Nov. 1831; below, that for 22 January.

Wednesday. 18th. CFA Wednesday. 18th. CFA
Wednesday. 18th.

Morning rainy but warm. I went to the Office as usual. But as I did not recollect my materials for study, my time was again spent idly. Read the Newspapers and Mr. Clay’s Speech.1 And mused upon the course which political events are taking. It is now totally impossible to foresee to what they tend, but I hope to something safe. The elements of our Government are however a little too floating. Looked over my Accounts. Paid one or two bills and attended to my father’s affairs. These with Commissions of various kinds consumed the morning.

Afternoon. Read the second book upon Rhetoric nearly through and had no occasion to change my opinion. Went with my Wife this evening to Mrs. P. C. Brooks Jrs. and found there, Miss Mary B. Hall, Mr. Brooks, Gorham and his Wife, Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham, and Edward Brooks. Quite a family affair. Inasmuch as I have become more accustomed to the members of it, and more at my ease, my time was passed more pleasantly. We returned home at ten, but I had no time to do more than read one or two pages of the Life of Fuseli, and the Guardian.


Henry Clay’s speech on the tariff in the Senate on 11 Jan. was reprinted from the Daily National Intelligencer in the Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 18 Jan., p. 2, cols. 2–4.

Thursday. 19th. CFA Thursday. 19th. CFA
Thursday. 19th.

Morning very mild and pleasant. It would seem as if this month and the last had changed their places. I went to the Office and after my usual regular occupations, spent some time in reading the fourth volume of Gibbon’s History which contains the Romance of Julian. I call it a Romance because the Author evidently writes with great relish. He sets before us the fair side of the Picture very strongly. But 224this is perverting history. Spent half an hour in conversation with Mr. Peabody and an hour in walking.

Returned home and passed the Afternoon in reading part of the books 2 and 3 to Herennius. They continue the abstract. As a book to consult for the purpose of filling up a skeleton of a subject I should think it might be useful. But it is dry as a work to read.

Evening. Read a part of the Canterbury Tales to my Wife but we were interrupted by a visit from Judge Hall who came and passed an hour in conversation. He looks old and haggard. He says he is taken up very much by the business of his Office. Perhaps this is a very fortunate thing for him. His situation is now so lonely. After he went, I continued the sketch of Fuseli’s life and read some critical Articles inserted at length. But I do not think the Account makes a favourable impression. Read the twenty second book of the Iliad and the usual numbers of the Guardian.