Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 3d. CFA Sunday. 3d. CFA
Sunday. 3d.

The Weather continues chilly and unseasonable. The Wind blowing pretty steadily from the Westward though without any rain. I attended Divine Service, and heard Mr. Whitney preach all day. But I have concluded not to give myself while in the Country the trouble of analyzing Sermons which often are not worth the trouble. Mr. Whitney is among the most commonplace of our Clergymen. He has grown old, and the Country is very fast outrunning him. I presume this will some time end in a separation. For my own comfort, I must say, I should admire it very much, but considering the Justice of the case I should be against it. The connexion is one where the single individual and the body are not fairly matched. The one grows old and helpless, the other remains the same. The one spends his best years in exertion, and his age deserves better treatment than to be turned off to want.

I read in the Afternoon, a part of Massillon’s Sermon upon the death of Louis the 14th. It was only the first division relating to his careful management of power. The preacher says full enough in his praise, yet he does not conceal though he palliates the faults of his hero. Posterity can trace the Revolution of 1789 to them in part, but of course Massillon could do no such thing. In the evening, I went down to pay some visits, but stopped at Mr. Danl. Greenleaf’s. She is an 309old lady full of her own consequence. He is a worthy man. I remained until nine.

Monday. 4th. CFA Monday. 4th. CFA
Monday. 4th.

Misty threatening rain. I was obliged to risk it, so I went to town. My time was entirely taken up in Commissions and in bringing up all accounts, which is my usual practice at the beginning of each month. I then had to go and see about some Trunks which are missing, that belong to the family. I could get no trace of them. The thing is somewhat extraordinary. It cost me something of a toil without any fruit.

Dined at the Tremont House and attended a Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market which consumed all the Afternoon. My prediction with regard to this, is about to be verified. The profits are to be stopped for some time. Returned to Quincy to tea, having escaped rain, and had a quiet evening.

Tuesday. 5th. CFA Tuesday. 5th. CFA
Tuesday. 5th.

Weather tolerably fair, yet I concluded to remain quietly at home. I have no engagements of any pressing nature in Boston, and my time is usually wasted rather unprofitably. I read a portion of the first book of Thucydides1 and I wrote a considerable part of my Diary which the distractions of the week had thrown in arrear.

In the afternoon I walked down to Mount Wollaston to see how the Orchard prospered and to do for it any thing I could in the way of pruning. I found the trees all alive, some of them however killed nearly to the ground and some looking quite sickly. And upon examination I dreaded the results of so unfavourable a Season. The succession of bad weather this Spring has been extraordinary and if it should continue much longer, there will be serious fears for the grain crops. The Corn looks ill and does not grow. And it is impossible to get any vegetables up. I spent the whole afternoon upon the Trees, returned home fatigued to Tea. Evening as usual.


Among JA’s books now at the Boston Public Library are two copies in Greek and Latin of Thucydides, De bello Peloponnesiaco: an edition published at Frankfort in 1594 which has JQA’s autograph, and one published at Amsterdam in 1731 ( Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 244–245). Now at MQA is the edition in 6 vols., Biponti, 1788–1789, with JQA’s bookplate and, opposite the title-page in the first volume, a quotation from Dibdin in CFA’s hand.

Wednesday 6th. CFA Wednesday 6th. CFA
Wednesday 6th.

It threatened to be pleasant but without success. I went to town. Found to my discomfiture that my Office boy was about to leave me. 310This at this time is highly inconvenient. My time was consumed in going about on various commissions, in an attempt to find the missing Trunks, and in reading a little of Gibbon. One or two Tenants came to see me. One to pay rent, another to give me notice of his intention to quit one of the Tenements. I thought this would subject me to some trouble but before I left Boston, an application of a satisfactory nature was made for it. This is a very agreeable thing. Houses are no trouble when men are really in want of them.

I returned to Quincy to dinner. The whole Afternoon was taken up in superintending some improvements to the Garden which I really think is at last taking the appearance of a Gentleman’s place. A little care and attention is all that is wanting. Paid a visit at Mr. T. Greenleaf’s in the evening. All there but Mr. Price whose absence was not accounted for.