Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 10th. CFA Sunday. 10th. CFA
Sunday. 10th.

Morning clear but cold and still windy though not so much as yesterday. I continued reading the Account of Franklin’s Journey which is much more agreeable than Mr. Hearne’s book. He proceeded much in the same track, but having more authority and stronger influence to aid him, he was not subjected to similar inconveniencies.

Attended divine Service and heard Dr. Lowell preach in the morning upon the prevailing rage for public Prayer and zealous Religion. He condemns it, perhaps justly but I have had my doubts whether for the less instructed classes it is not beneficial. I do not approve of it myself from any belief in extraordinary influences claimed for it, but 26I do not disapprove of it while it may be supposed to keep men out of mischief. Afternoon, Mr. Newell of Cambridge, a Common place Sermon upon the abuse of Riches, and their general ill effect.

Returned home, and wrote a letter to my Father, with one to T. B. Adams Jr. inclosing an Account of his Affairs for the last six Months.1 I was obliged to consume a part of the Evening before I could complete the copying and therefore did not read Parry. Continued Franklin and was unwilling to leave off, to read my usual Numbers of the Spectator.


LbC’s of both are in Adams Papers.

Monday. 11th. CFA Monday. 11th. CFA
Monday. 11th.

Morning cloudy with a warm South Wind. I read Aeschines, making quite good progress, and went to the Office. My time was much wasted, by attention to the repair of Mr. Welsh’s Office, by attending at the Probate Office to pass my Account which was postponed on account of the re-opening of the Commissions. All these things are perhaps necessary occupations but they involve a monstrous consumption in proportion. I had intended going to Quincy but the rain began about noon and continued all the rest of the day. Mr. Farrar came from Quincy and left me an Account to collect.1 A trifle of law business.

Afternoon spent in reading the Oration pro domo sua, in which I progressed but my way of reading was superficial with a translation. The Spring brings with it to me a strong disinclination to hard study. And perhaps immediately after dinner is the most indifferent time for it. I always feel disposed to write in the Spring, and am now in some degree meditating what I can do in that way.

Evening, reading Captain Parry and the unfortunate result of the third voyage. It seems almost a pity for he had some prospect of discovery if not of finally attaining his purpose. Finished the first Volume of Franklin and read two Numbers of the Spectator.


Probably Isaac Farrar, who rented land from JQA in Quincy; see entry for 5 July, below.

Tuesday. 12th. CFA Tuesday. 12th. CFA
Tuesday. 12th.

We were exceedingly surprised this morning upon awaking to find the ground covered with snow, and a pretty thick drifting storm. After having had so much mild and agreeable weather, this was a very disagreeable return of Winter. The sky cleared however at Noon and the melting process began quickly.


I went to the Office. Not interrupted materially so that in the course of the morning, I accomplished all the principal Articles in the North American Review, which appears to me but a poor number. None of the vigour of good writing. Not much else accomplished. As the snow was still partially to be seen, I concluded it would not be worthwhile to go to Quincy today as I should be unable to accomplish any thing for which I should go.

Remained in my study and pursued the study of the Oratio pro domo sua, which I concluded, but as I propose to review it with more care I shall postpone remark upon it. Pursued Parry in the evening and finished the Account of the third Voyage. He certainly has earned the reputation of a bold and indefatigable Navigator. Read afterward, a part of Captn. Ross’s Voyage in 18191 and the usual Numbers, finishing the first Volume of the Spectator.


Sir John Ross, A Voyage of Discovery ... for the Purpose of Exploring Baffin’s Bay, and Enquiring into the Possibility of a North-West Passage, London, 1819.