Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 29. CFA Tuesday. 29. CFA
Tuesday. 29.

Morning very lovely. It seemed to pay for all the bad weather we had had. I arose early and went to town after breakfast. Spent a considerable part of the morning in reading Gibbon and the rest in the Athenaeum and at the Gallery of Paintings. Met at this last place my neighbour Mr. J. Fullerton. He is quite scientific in regard to pictures and discussed them with me very fully. I have never made any advances towards his acquaintance partly from indifference and partly from want of opportunity. He seems however to be a very gentlemanly man and of some though not extensive information.1

It was time to go, so I started again for Medford. Gorham Brooks and 306his Wife and Mr. Frothingham were there, and we had a pleasant dinner. Afternoon totally wasted, thrown away as if there had not been one. Evening, I accomplished the feat of reading my two Ramblers. Mr. S. Brooks and his sister called and staid an hour.


J. J. Fullerton’s residence was at 5 Hancock Avenue, next to that of CFA ( Boston Directory, 1832–1833).

Wednesday. 30th. CFA Wednesday. 30th. CFA
Wednesday. 30th.

Against all expectation the day opened with the wind from the South and a very heavy rain. The question now was about starting, and after considering it well, I concluded that it would be best to do so. Accordingly I went off about nine o’clock accompanied by Mr. Frothingham, leaving my Wife to follow in Mr. Brooks’ Carriage. Arrived pretty comfortably and occupied myself half an hour waiting for Kirke. As he did not come I went to the House, and occupied myself all the remainder of the morning in running about for my wife and family to get them off, which I finally did in a hackney Coach at Noon, starting myself an hour afterwards. I do not recollect ever having so unpleasant a ride. The rain was directly in my face and at times pelted considerably, so that upon my arrival I found myself wet quite through. My Wife and child had reached here in safety, so that on the whole I felt pretty well satisfied at our having at last attained permanent quarters.

My afternoon was spent in my father’s Library making a disposition of some books which again threaten to overrun their limits. Quiet evening at home. I had some serious conversation with my Mother.

Thursday. 31st. CFA Thursday. 31st. CFA
Thursday. 31st.

I congratulated myself upon my decision of yesterday when I heard the Wind rise during the night, and much more so upon seeing the rain in the morning, so I concluded to remain quietly at home. Upon feeling the time heavy upon my hands I bethought myself what I should begin upon. At this moment I feel myself more out of reading than I have done for some years. In looking round over the Library I felt a great difficulty where to fix and in the process spent an hour or two reading a little fairy story of A. Hamilton.1 And I then fell upon Gibbon’s Memoirs of his own life,2 a book that interested me so much that I continued upon it all the afternoon. I like his style in this work better than I do that of his history. It has not any of that excessive regularity which manifests any thing but the English lan-307guage. His opinions are not always correct, on the contrary I should think most frequently they are the reverse. His politics were considerably inclined to ultra Toryism. Perhaps after all, they are right. I wrote a letter to my Father today.3 Evening very quiet. I need hardly say that I persevere in my Ramblers.


The contes or fantasies of C. Antoine Hamilton, mildly satiric of the taste for the marvelous in the mid-18th century, were included in his Oeuvres-mêlées en prose et en vers. Two copies of the edition of 1749 are at MQA. A copy of the 4-vol., London, 1776, edition is also among JA’s books at the Boston Public Library ( Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 113).


Edward Gibbon, Miscellaneous Works with Memoirs of His Life and Writings ... by Himself. A copy with JQA’s bookplate of the 2-vol., London, 1796, edition is now at MQA. Another edition, 3 vols., Dublin, 1796, is also among JA’s books at the Boston Public Library ( Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 102).


A lengthy and generally sympathetic analysis, though with reservations, on JQA’s reports on the Bank and on the Tariff (letter in Adams Papers).