Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday 16th. CFA Monday 16th. CFA
Monday 16th.

Very cold disagreeable morning. Transferred for the present the Italian to be my morning study. Read a little of the Peruvian Letters which are very easy. Time at the Office variously spent. I was busy in collecting seeds for the Garden at Quincy, and other purchases which with the never failing business of accounts consumed the time. Found Joseph H. Adams had been at my House. He is ordered off and is preparing to start. I intended to have gone to Quincy but the setting in of the rain just as I was about to start prevented me.

Passed my Afternoon in reading the Moorish Letters. They contain a great deal of good sense. I know nothing of their Author however. The dearth of books relating to Spanish literature, speaking historically, is great with me, and I may also add with my father.

Quiet Evening at home. Did nothing—on the whole what a mass of 281my time is profitless. Read an excellent number of the Rambler on that point, this evening.

Tuesday. 17th. CFA Tuesday. 17th. CFA
Tuesday. 17th.

Heavy rain with a high Wind from the Eastward. This will obviate the difficulty about vegetation but it is unpleasant enough in all conscience to the feelings. My mornings work has shortened since the dark weather. I read a little Italian and went to the Office. Had time to go over a little of Gibbon so that my account of my morning did not seem quite so blank. The weather did not admit of my going to walk.

Afternoon quiet at home. Occupied in attending to the Mathematics with Hull. I find I can learn something. My studies of this Science have always been exceedingly superficial. Read a good deal of the Moorish letters the end of which I am at last approaching.

Evening dull, doing nothing. I do not much admire this plan. Continued the wonderful Romance of Napoleon’s history and was a little displeased with Scott’s evident partiality. I also read Paley.

Wednesday 18th. CFA Wednesday 18th. CFA
Wednesday 18th.

Heavy rain with more Wind. I read a little of the Peruvian Letters. Went to the Office, and from thence to the Athenaeum where I lounged an hour without any profit. Returned and devoted a short time to Gibbon. Interrupted in this by a visit from my good friend Mrs. Armstrong whose face I never expected to see again. And indeed I can scarcely say I wanted to. My progress in Gibbon is slow but I hope to be able to persevere in finishing it.

Mr. Brooks dined with us. Not much to be obtained from dinners where the parties are dull. I felt but little disposed to make exertion and he seemed not very lively. Afternoon short, filled up with reading Spanish as I have transferred my Italian to the morning. I find the latter on the whole much the easiest language of the two. It is not filled with so many strongly idiomatic expressions and I think the Dictionary I have is better. But in this I think that there is great room for improvement.

Evening quiet at home. I read a few Chapters in the Bible to my Wife, an exercise designed to be regular, but from some reason or other often omitted. Finished the first division of Paley’s work upon Christianity. It is remarkable for perspicuity and logic.

I have felt today a little depression of spirits. Now and then I am subject to them a little. They always show themselves in a kind of regret that I am not making the most of my time and abilities. Yet I 282have no opportunities. I know I ought to seek them. Have I not? When I reflect how much I am favoured in my situation I know I ought not to allow myself to repine, but I trust it is only from anxiety to support a mighty responsibility to my name, and therefore may be forgiven.