Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 9th. CFA Thursday. 9th. CFA
Thursday. 9th.

The Child still seemed heavy and restless so that I felt uneasy all day with a sensation of undue depression of spirits. I went to the Office as usual and employed myself but my time was broken in upon by various interruptions, more particularly that occasioned by taking in a new supply of Coal to last me as I hope for the remainder of the Winter. Mr. Peabody and I divide half a Chaldron. Read a little of Gibbon but without making much real progress. The Snow was falling all day so that I did not take my usual walk.

Afternoon. Continued reading Quinctilian upon Common places 237and Arguments, all of which was very good. But my progress was not very great. My Wife received a letter from Washington in very good spirits.1 They seem to be doing quite well there.

Evening quiet with my Wife. Continued Leigh Hunt’s book, which is a compound of truth and malignity, of just reflection and a low spirit, of indignation and book making. Afterwards, I went on with the tenth Odyssey, and read a little of Graham’s second Volume of American History,2 with the usual Guardians. My night was again anxious and disturbed on account of my Wife and child.


No letter of about this date to ABA from any member of the family in Washington is known to survive.


See above, vol. 3:27, 213.

Friday. 10th. CFA Friday. 10th. CFA
Friday. 10th.

The Child seemed so much more uneasy and in pain that I concluded to send for a Physician rather than be anxious about her so I called for Dr. Stevenson as I went to the Office. The day was a mild one. Passed my time here much more profitably than usual as I had time to do all my usual business and read a large extract from Gibbon beside. After spending two hours usefully in this way I always feel much better satisfied. Took a walk afterwards and returned home with an unusual feeling of elasticity. The Child had seen the Doctor and he had prescribed for her.

Afternoon, rather drowsy from the interruption of my night’s rest, but on the whole I managed to accomplish a good deal of Quintilian. After all the subdivisions of Rhetoric are too minute. A great deal must, be left to the feeling of the moment, which will prompt figures without a man’s knowing that they are so. The only instruction to any purpose is the knowledge how to add to their effect.

Evening, continued Hunt’s Book which becomes a little tedious after he quits his personalities against Byron. This is a sure sign that what is interesting in the book is scandal and detraction. The eleventh Book of the Odyssey took up an hour and a half of my time. After which I read two numbers of the Guardian. Steele carried on this latter publication almost entirely, alone. His Papers are some of them good but generally a little dry.

Saturday. 11th. CFA Saturday. 11th. CFA
Saturday. 11th.

Morning at the Office. A pleasant day after the Snow. I was engaged in Accounts and Journal until my Client Lyon came in who was very averse to settlement indeed but after reasoning and scolding, 238he paid the demand.1 I settled forthwith with my Employer and then went up to the Boylston Market for the purpose of making a record of the Annual Meeting of Monday last. It was so long that it took me until nearly dinner time. Returned home. The Child seemed to be much better.

Afternoon. Read Quinctilian continuing his Account of the various kinds of reasoning, the acting upon the Passions and the Peroration. My time flies and I do not know that I make the best of it.

Evening quiet at home. Read to my Wife Hunt’s singular character of Shelley and his love of generalities. I also read regularly a portion of the Bible which I do not mention because a repetition of so many duties seems too monotonous. I have some idea of making a Reform in my Diary. It began to rain and then poured violently through the night. Read the twelfth Book of the Odyssey and the Guardians.


Lyon, who was being sued by CFA for another, was CFA’s client only in the loosest, or possibly in an ironic, sense. See above, entry for 2 January.