Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

The day was exceedingly unpleasant although considerably warmer 286than it has been. I read a little of the Letters of Ortiz, an Italian book that I purchased at Mr. Eliot’s sale.1 Went to the Office. Passed an hour in writing and Accounts after which I was obliged to go out in quest of Fuel for my House. This involved a walk to the Southern extreme of the town. And I consumed the whole of my time in it before dinner.

The afternoon was all taken up at the Boylston Market there being a Meeting of the Directors to consider the expediency of making certain repairs &ca. There was a vast deal of discussion but no great conclusion. And I had little or nothing to do but to keep myself warm which was not perfectly easy. Got away quite tired at six o’clock. I have no great fancy for this situation. It is one of some labour and no great ease. I mean by this that the manual labour is all required.

Evening, went to a small party at Mrs. P. C. Brooks’ given to Miss Fowle. It was not very agreeable yet not absolutely stupid. Returned home but read only the Rambler.


Jacob Ortiz, Ultime Lettere, 2 vols. in 1, London, 1817. CFA has inscribed the information relating to his acquisition of the book in the copy now at MQA.

Thursday. 26th. CFA Thursday. 26th. CFA
Thursday. 26th.

At last we had a day that seemed to show some signal of the season of the year. It was very dusty however and windy, so that we did not enjoy it as much as we otherwise should have done. At the Office, very closely all the morning as Field had left word he should be here from Quincy today. He was not here at all. This is just the way I have been served more than once. I must pluck up more character and go to him. Finished the eighth volume of Gibbon with a Chapter upon the Sects of the Church. A little dry & dusty. My Wife received a letter from my Mother in which she makes no mention of her being likely to come on.1 Indeed it seems now tolerably likely that Congress will not adjourn till July.

In the afternoon I read more of Mons. Sismondi but found him exceedingly dry. He discusses the origin of the French Monarchy which seems to be lost in a mass of doubt and fable. I shall make nothing of that.

Quiet evening at home. Mr. Brooks took tea here and passed the evening. Conversation principally upon the state of public affairs. He looks to singular authority for his politics. But though we do not often travel the same road, we generally come to the same conclusions. Afterwards I finished the Life of Napoleon by Walter Scott. A work of a Scotch Jacobite, who however amiable in his private relations and 287his literary spirit, is altogether unsafe as a political guide.2 Omitted Paley.


Letter missing.


On 27 April CFA wrote on the flyleaf of the first volume of the copy of the work now at MQA:

“This is the work of a man whose whole life has been passed with feelings of hostility to the subject of this Memoir. He is a Scotch Tory, engaged in a work of apology and Justification of his own Country. All his statements, and reasoning upon them, must therefore be considered with distrust. Not that I admire the character of Napoleon. On the contrary, whether I regard his career or the influence of his name upon the age, infinite mischief seems to have resulted from it. But in order to bring this truth more fully to the eyes of the public, a little more appearance of impartiality would be desirable.”