Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 2d. CFA Wednesday. 2d. CFA
Wednesday. 2d.

This is the month of May. It is necessary to know it or we might suppose it March. After reading a little of the Life of Vasari which I found tolerably dull I went to the Office. Occupied there in business a good deal. Deacon Spear from Quincy called and paid his Notes amounting to seven hundred dollars which is very agreeable. It may be fairly asserted that my Father’s property, take it generally, is now at 291it’s maximum of production. And certainly it need not be complained of. All the Real Estate is well rented, and the personal Estate makes a large average yield. This then is the time to devote the proceeds to redeeming the debts for which he stands charged. I have done all I could to promote this.

Afternoon, went to Quincy. The progress of the Painter is slow. I also superintended the arranging some trees in order as far as possible to shade the back part of the Estate. Returned home by seven o’clock and passed a quiet Evening at home.

Thursday. 3d. CFA Thursday. 3d. CFA
Thursday. 3d.

Cloudy and unpleasant. I have been obliged to record this exceedingly often of late. I read a little more of the Life of Vasari, but it being nothing but a mere record of his work, I concluded to drop it, and begin the Life of Michael Angelo. It is necessary in learning a language to have interest enough in the book which you read to take off the tedium of looking for the meaning of words, and to aid a search for the construction.

Went to the Office. Read a little of Gibbon, but passed more of my time in reading Newspapers, a business as unprofitable as it is distracting. Took quite a long walk with Mr. Peabody and upon returning home found Miss Smith who dined and passed the day with my Wife. This latter received a letter from my Mother mentioning an intention of coming on in a few days.1 I do not place any very great reliance upon what she intends, because I know how frequently they alter their plans. But I hope they will persevere in their designs this time.

Afternoon, read Sismondi, but my study was so chilly that I did not progress fast or pleasantly. Besides, the French History at least in the account of the first Dinasty is dull. Continued my Catalogue of Library. Evening walked home with Miss Smith to Mr. J. H. Foster’s. Read a part of Sismondi’s Novel of Julia Severa,2 a kind of relaxation from his labours upon graver works. It wants vivacity. The tone is too much the staid and cold one of narrative which a historian adopts. The story is one of the era of Clovis. Read a part of Paley who merely condenses Lardner,3 though in a very satisfactory manner.


Letter missing.


The edition in French at MQA of J. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi’s Julia Severa, 3 vols., Paris, 1822, is without mark of ownership.


Nathaniel Lardner, The Credibility of the Gospel History. The edition owned by JQA and now at MQA is in 14 vols., London, 1741–1762.