Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 21st. CFA Thursday. 21st. CFA
Thursday. 21st.

Fine morning. Indeed I do not know that in the course of the year we enjoy much pleasanter weather than this day. I remained quietly at home. And was occupied all my time in reading over attentively the work of Mr. Vaughan. I find that it is much easier for me to write down as I go along, so that I have given up my former scheme as long as I am engaged upon the first draught. After that, as I find my mind is certainly clearer in the morning, I believe I shall take that exclusively for writing.

I now see how much I lose in Boston from my habits of life. The morning, by far to me the most effective portion of the day, is there totally wasted in trifles. Cut up by piecemeal in odd jobs and profitless reading even when I do read. As I live here, on the contrary, it seems to me to be productive at least of a little benefit to myself and consequently of self-satisfaction. I take exercise of an agreeable kind 318in the Garden, and am on the whole, at present free from any particular anxiety. For all this I am grateful. Quiet evening.

Friday. 22d. CFA Friday. 22d. CFA
Friday. 22d.

A beautiful day. I remained at home again all day, and in the morning began a fair draught of my remarks after going through with the material parts of Mr. Vaughan’s book. I accomplished nearly five pages which I think I materially improved. And the passage of time was hardly perceptible to me.

My mother and Wife went into Boston in the Afternoon, but I concluded to remain. My Afternoon’s work did not however satisfy me quite as well as the morning. I read the Preface to Fox’s Historical Work,1 with which I was on the whole quite pleased. I also went down to the Wharf below Mr. Greenleaf’s and took a Salt-Water bath. The first this Season. The water was exceedingly pleasant. And I enjoyed myself much more than I had anticipated. The practice of moderate bathing, I believe to be one of the most wholesome possible.

Evening at home, all our evenings are peculiarly cold for the Season.


CFA’s bookplate is in two editions now at MQA of Charles James Fox’s History of the Early Part of the Reign of James II, both published in 1808, one at London and one at Philadelphia.

Saturday. 23d. CFA Saturday. 23d. CFA
Saturday. 23d.

Fine day. I went to town, and passed my time as usual in Commissions and lounging. Took up a volume of Gibbon but found that I had so lost the connection of his book as to make it difficult to pursue, and not interesting. I therefore passed an hour at the Athenaeum, reading the Newspapers, and the Documents added to the Bank Report.1 The Alarm about the Cholera seems to be subsiding.

Returned to Quincy and on the whole passed rather an idle Afternoon. I wrote a little upon my Essay, imagining it on the whole to be better to employ myself in some manner upon it, than to lose all my ideas upon the subject. After tea, I went down to the Water and took a bath. It was warm enough, but there being no wind the weeds came up and made the surface appear stagnant. Evening quiet at home.


The allusion is probably to the supplementary report of the minority of the Bank Committee which contains extensive documentation; it was printed in the Daily National Intelligencer, 18 May, p. 2–3.

Sunday. 24th. CFA Sunday. 24th. CFA
Sunday. 24th.

Very cool with an Easterly wind. I was engaged in writing almost all day, excepting when going to Meeting. Mr. Ripley of Boston 319preached in the morning upon the immutability of religion. In the afternoon I was less attentive. Mr. Ripley is a good writer and a sensible man, but I am not much of an admirer of his Sermons. His manner makes them tedious. When he wishes to be solemn he becomes only slow, without adding a particle to the animation of his language. I often think, I could do better, but who can tell until he is tried.

Miss Smith dined with us, and Mr. Degrand called in the afternoon and took tea. He had little news of any kind to propose. Some farther notice of the Cholera which seems to be spreading along the St. Lawrence gradually. It is singular that it keeps water tracks, and would seem to sustain the doctrine of contagion. But whether contagion or not is of minor consequence so long as the mortality is great.

I walked up and passed an hour at Mrs. Adams’ in the evening. She is dull and unhappy, and I could not console her. Called at Mr. Miller’s but they were not at home.