Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 22d. CFA Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

I staid at my Office very quietly all the morning because one of my father’s Tenants complained he could not find me to pay his Rent. He did not come and I a little suspect that it is a take-in.1 I read a Chapter 266of Gibbon and had a visit from Mr. Gourgas which related to the two Farms belonging to the Estate of my Uncle. I could not give him any definite information but suppose some will soon come, so I promised to let him know. We had some conversation with regard to the condition of Mrs. Adams and her prospects. He takes out Administration himself but does not as yet know the extent of the demands upon the Estate. Received a short letter from my Mother postponing her intentions with regard to this Quarter.2

Dined at Mr. Frothingham’s with Mr. Brooks and my Wife. A pleasant day enough. Afterwards I went home and read a little of Spanish and Italian as usual. Evening quiet at home. Read to my Wife from the Appendix to Croker’s Boswell.3


A swindle.


LCA to CFA, 17 March (Adams Papers). Her hope to return to Quincy in early April had given way to a new date in early May.


To the text of The Life of Samuel Johnson which John Wilson Croker had edited (5 vols., London, 1831), he had added in vol. 5 a General Appendix consisting of a miscellany of Johnsoniana including recollections of Dr. Johnson by Miss Reynolds, a selection of letters and prayers of Johnson, a collection of anecdotes, &c.

Friday. 23d. CFA Friday. 23d. CFA
Friday. 23d.

Pleasant day, not so cold as it has been. I read two hundred and odd lines of Virgil’s sixth Book of the Aeneid before going out and hoped it was a sign of improvement for the future. Finished Gibbon’s seventh volume at the Office which was also quite a gain. I again remained at my Office all day for the purpose of seeing my Tenant and he did not come. I lost my walk thereby and did not feel so well for it.

Afternoon I progressed very successfully in Spanish, and pretty well in Italian. I think I shall succeed in acquiring both languages. My Afternoon’s are thus pretty fully taken up, yet I cannot help recollecting my Grandfathers injunction to me, “studium sine calamo sommium.”1 I am doing nothing for my reputation.

We went in the Evening to a party at Mrs. A. Thorndike’s.2 Small but very pleasant. I have no great taste for such things now, but my neglect of them has had the effect of making me a stranger in my native town. This will not do. Returned before Midnight. Omitted Paley.


Although it is not known precisely when JA enjoined CFA to record what he learned or suffer it to be lost altogether, JA did use the same quotation in a letter to CFA’s brothers as they were about to leave Boston to join their parents in England (JA to GWA and JA2, 3 May 1815, Adams Papers. The sentence is quoted in its full context in L. H. Butterfield, “The Papers of the 267Adams Family: Some Account of Their History” in MHS, Procs. , 71 [1953–1957]:334).


The Augustus Thorndikes lived at 1 Otis Place ( Boston Directory, 1832–1833).