Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 8th. CFA Tuesday. 8th. CFA
Tuesday. 8th.

A warm day but a very windy one. I read Vasari as usual and went to the Office. Nothing material took place. As it was the period for 294returning books to the Athenaeum, I went and amused myself an hour by reading an article in the Quarterly Review upon the state of America as contrasted with England. The subject of it is a book written lately by a certain Mrs. Trollop who has done much to justify her name.1 There is notwithstanding all the abuse a foundation of Justice in her remarks. We are not a perfect nation very certainly, but this is not the question. It is whether on the whole Man is not in as advantageous a situation in the United States as any where on the globe. That is, whether the aggregate of human happiness is not greater and that of misery less. I did not do much of any thing else.

Afternoon. Passed an hour in reading Sismondi and then drove out in the Country with my Wife. We returned at six o’clock and at seven went down to Mrs. Frothingham’s to spend the evening. She leaves town tomorrow for Medford to spend the summer. We had a pleasant time and returned home before ten. I felt sleepy however, so that I read only the Rambler and a little of Paley.

1.

The favorable review, unsigned, of Mrs. Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans in the Quarterly Review, 47:39–80 (March 1832), was by Lockhart; see the DNB notice of Frances Trollope.

Wednesday. 8th [i.e. 9th]. CFA Wednesday. 8th [i.e. 9th]. CFA
Wednesday. 8th i.e. 9th.

A mild day with a South Wind. I read a little of Vasari and then to the Office. My time taken up very much by two persons. First, Mr. F. W. Field who came at last with a confession of Poverty which I have been expecting.1 After conversation, I thought best to execute the leases upon his giving me his Note for the last half year—And promising to pay it previous to another Quarter’s becoming due. I think it on the whole expedient not to take the place away from him. It would probably be unoccupied. I think he seems to have some sense of shame, so that while this is the case I shall feel as if I had a hold. Mr. Conant then came in from Weston, and I went over the affairs of the year with him. He settled his Rent up to the first of April. These are honest though not very enterprizing men. They get along by force of the assistance which I give them in one way or another, which is about equivalent to paying their rent. The Weston Farm yields little excepting in the Sales of the wood which have done very well. I had only a moment left to call and see Mr. Watkins who is here from Washington.2 He was not at home. I went home, and after dinner, read Sismondi as usual. Evening quiet. Pursued all my usual occupations, dipping besides, a little into Dr. Franklin’s Essays.3

1.

Harvey Field is spoken of elsewhere as a lessee of JQA’s farm at Quincy; see above, entry for 16 March, note.

2.

Probably Thomas L. C. Watkins, 295sometime companion during CFA’s years in Washington (vols. 1 and 2, passim).

3.

Benjamin Franklin, Essays and Letters. At MQA is an edition, 2 vols. in 1, published at London in 1820.