Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 8th. CFA Thursday. 8th. CFA
Thursday. 8th.

Fine morning. I went to the Office but did not improve my time to the utmost. In the first place I was busy about Commissions for an 256hour, then went to the Athenaeum besides taking a walk at one. So that I only made up my Diary, in itself a tolerable Job, and read Mr. McDuffie’s Paper upon the Bank of the U.S.1 Our political affairs are becoming more and more black. For my part I see little prospect for us.

In the Afternoon I continued the Aeneid, finishing the second and part of the third books. The Child seemed slightly better, although very fretful and apparently suffering. The total want of power to convey an idea of its sensations to others makes the sickness of an infant extremely distressing.

Quiet evening at home. I read part of Goethe’s Memoirs which seem to me to be rather a record of trifles remembered by an old man. Mr. T. Davis came in and spent part of an Evening very agreeably. He has a great deal of conversation and that of a sensible kind. After he went, I continued Montesquieu, and my study of the Bible.


The speech of George McDuffie in the House on 27 Feb. in support of the United States Bank was reported in the Daily National Intelligencer (28 Feb., p. 2–3; 29 Feb., p. 2–3). His “paper” on the subject is probably his report as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, which on 10 Feb. accompanied the introduction of a bill to recharter the Bank (Daily National Intelligencer, 11 Feb., p. 3, cols. 2, 4).

Friday. 9th. CFA Friday. 9th. CFA
Friday. 9th.

This was one of the lovely days of which we have but a very few in the Spring season, though those few are perhaps the more valued on that account. I got out early this morning and went to the Office. My time was consumed without much profit to myself. Went to the Athenaeum and passed so much time in lounging there that I lost my usual quantity of exercise. The consequence of which was rather less appetite than usual.

In the Afternoon I passed a quiet time reading the rest of the third and a part of the fourth books of the Aeneid, the morality of all which is not the less doubtful because he makes it originate from Gods and Goddesses. The pious Aeneas is little better than a rascal for the desertion of Dido after seducing her. But Poets cannot make out their Story without such aids. And after all it is agreeable to nature. Evening at home. Nothing material. Finished Montesquieu, which is a very valuable Treatise.

Saturday. 10th. CFA Saturday. 10th. CFA
Saturday. 10th.

Another delicious day. My time was spent for the most part in the Street. I was engaged in Commissions for my Wife, of Furniture, but 257was unable to get any to suit me. The walking besides my regular exercise fatigued me considerably. And the day was weakening. Deacon Spear called to see me with reference to the auction to take place at Mr. Farrar’s, and also upon Affairs in general. I gave him my general instructions as to what was to be done and agreed to go to Quincy next week on the same business. I was informed by him as well as from other sources that my uncle the Judge was now lying very low without probability of his going many weeks more. I do not know that this is to him a misfortune but it is bad that his death should happen while my father is absent.

Quiet Afternoon at home. Continued Virgil and read the fourth and part of the fifth books. The latter containing the Games in honour of Anchises. An imitation of the Games in Homer, at the funeral of Patroclus. The boat race is an improvement. Quiet evening at home. Began Scott’s Life of Napoleon Bonaparte.1 A book which will probably lead me fully into the history of a period about which my head is not now quite clear.


CFA was reading the edition now at MQA, published at Philadelphia in 1827 in 3 vols.; see below, entry for 26 April, note.