Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 22d. CFA Wednesday. 22d. CFA
Wednesday. 22d.

This day was set apart here for the celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of Washington’s birthday. A considerable apparatus was got up to make the thing do,1 but I could not make up my mind to take any part in it. The influence of Washington’s character was undoubtedly highly favourable to the prosperity of this Country and indeed even to it’s existence, and I doubt whether any body surpasses me in my admiration of his peculiar merits, but with me it needs no noise to increase the estimation of them, nor high wrought Eulogy to blunt my discrimination of his true qualities of greatness.

After taking a short walk, I sat down at home and occupied myself busily all the morning in reflecting and writing upon Mr. Gallatin’s Memorial which is a very able Paper. Mr. Brooks and Miss Julia Gorham dined with us and we had a pretty good time. As I gave the Memorial to Mr. Brooks to read, I could not go on writing, so I passed my time in looking over Lord Sheffield’s Pamphlet and the minutes of evidence taken before the Committee of Manufactures some years since upon the subject of the protecting duties.

Evening Mr. J. Gorham passed an hour here after which Miss Julia, my Wife and I paid a visit at Dr. Stevenson’s and spent an hour pleasantly enough. So passed the day. I did not read a book of the Odyssey tonight.


The Boston celebration of the Washington centennial was arranged by a committee of the legislature. The observance included a public procession to Old South Church from the State House, with the principal address delivered by Francis C. Gray. There was also a civic dinner arranged by the 246Council in Faneuil Hall, a parade of the Boston Fire Department, and the ringing of bells at intervals throughout the day (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 22 Feb., p. 2, cols. 1–2).

Thursday. 23d. CFA Thursday. 23d. CFA
Thursday. 23d.

Another shocking day. Snow, rain and wind. At the Office, but passed my time most unprofitably. I neither pursued the subject of Mr. Gallatin’s Memorial nor read Gibbon nor did any thing but consume an hour with Mr. Peabody talking, and then look over Accounts. I do not know how I can justify it to myself to make a confession of this kind so often.

Afternoon, wrote the number I design for the first one over again and as I thought did something to improve it, but of this it is impossible to judge. I am grappling with the results of one of the clearest minds in the Country, and the very effort is one requiring no small share of confidence in myself. But the exercise is good, and I never refuse work. My progress is greatly impeded from the want of a Pamphlet.

Evening, at home with my Wife. Read some of the Minutes of evidence alluded to before and was surprised at the unanimity among the woollen Manufacturers. Yet they were not minded.

Friday. 24th. CFA Friday. 24th. CFA
Friday. 24th.

The weather changed to sharp cold again. This has been on the whole a Winter of greater severity than any I have known since I have lived in New England, whether in regard to amount of cold or it’s duration. At the Office. Occupied in correcting and writing over what I have to say upon Mr. Gallatin’s Paper. There certainly is a good deal worth noticing in it, and the more closely I look at it the more I am satisfied with the fact. But I want very much a channel through which to communicate my opinions to the world. I am living in a town where the whole Press is inhospitable to me and my name. My time was not economized however. Notwithstanding the cold, I took a walk and felt better for it.

Afternoon. Looked over the Annual Registers for two or three years and found a good deal in them that suited my purpose. Of all the things in this world, information is the thing that sets a man on an eminence. Speculation can then be brought to bear with great force upon any given topic. I think this gives the advantage in our day.

We passed a quiet Evening at home and I read a little more of Ariosto. He is rather free as are all his Countrymen. There is genius and imagination in his Poem but not much of the high soaring of 247Poetry. Looked over some numbers of the Albion Newspaper which has good extracts from the prevailing literature in England.1


The Albion was a weekly newspaper published in New York City.