Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 6th. CFA Friday. 6th. CFA
Friday. 6th.

I remained quietly at home all day. Weather warm and dry. I cannot say that I was properly occupied. After having read over my composition and feeling as usual exceedingly dissatisfied with it, I sat down to look over some old letters of my Grandfather’s. I methodized the letters of the last few years of his life, and went over two Chests. There are now remaining only three Chests, but those are crowded. Looked over the last number of the North American Review. The Articles seem to me to carry no interest with them. Indeed this Review seems to me now to be mainly supported by Mr. Peabody the Clergyman.1 Miss Elizabeth C. Adams took tea with us. The Child remains much in the same state. We sent in today for Dr. Reynolds.2 But he did not come. Our baby, I thank Heaven, gives us, in the meantime, little trouble.

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1.

That is, William Bourn Oliver Peabody, brother of O. W. B. Peabody and of Mrs. A. H. Everett ( DAB ).

2.

Edward Reynolds Jr., “the best oculist we have” (CFA to JA2, 7 July, Adams Papers; Boston Directory, 1832–1833).

Saturday. 7th. CFA Saturday. 7th. CFA
Saturday. 7th.

Fine morning. I went to Boston and was occupied much as usual. There was a good deal of news of different kinds. Bad so far as it denoted the spreading of this disease, good so far as it is political. I finished my composition and being tired of it concluded to send it at once to Mr. Everett, without hammering over it any more. I am sensible of it’s imperfections. But to write a thing over three times is hard enough without wearing out the interest by perpetual correction.1 I wrote also a short letter to John my brother, according to my Mother’s request. It described to him merely the condition of his child and left it to him to decide what was fit to be done in the case.2 I called to see Dr. Reynolds but was unable to find him.3 Thus the whole morning passed very rapidly. I returned to Quincy at the usual time.

The weather suddenly changed at noon and became cold and cloudy, with an Easterly wind. I read part of Seneca’s book on Providence which attempts to justify the sufferings of good men. It will not do. Nothing but the belief of a future state will satisfy the mind in considering that question. I called in the evening at Mr. Miller’s, saw him and sat an hour.

1.

On the subsequent history of CFA’s essay-review of Robert Vaughan’s Memorials of the Stuart Dynasty see below, entry for 25 Dec., note.

2.

CFA to JA2, 7 July (Adams Papers). The import of the letter was that Mary Louisa’s condition was such that, despite JA2’s own poor health, it would be well for him to come to Quincy if only to relieve LCA, “who is an altered woman from watching and anxiety.”

3.

Later in the day Dr. Reynolds did visit Quincy. After examining the patient he pronounced that Mary Louisa’s sight would not be impaired; he saw no early end, however, to the severe disorder (CFA to JA2, 9 July, Adams Papers).

Sunday. 8th. CFA Sunday. 8th. CFA
Sunday. 8th.

Day cold and cloudy but without rain. I passed my time very quietly in reading at home, and in attending divine Worship. Heard Mr. Whitney. My life is if any thing still more quiet here than it used to be in town. I have no interruptions nor any of the anxiety which a family establishment of my own will necessarily give. The moment is exceedingly propitious for study, yet on the whole I have done little or nothing to answer for it. My time has been consumed by an article which appears to me tolerably indifferent. But now I feel at least as if something had been attempted, and I shall resume my regular studies 326with more satisfaction. I read today part of the report from Congress upon Steam Carriages, Roads, and Canals,1 and I continued Ludlow’s Memoirs that are amusing enough. The Child seemed somewhat better today.

1.

In February the House of Representatives had ordered printed “the report of the committee of the British House of Commons on the application of steam carriages to common roads” and so much of the earlier printed report of its own Committee on Internal Improvements “as relates to the actual and relative utility and cost of railroads and canals” ( Register of Debates in Congress , 8:1842). This document was published with the title, Report on Steam Carriages ... [with appended]Documents in Relation to the Comparative Merits of Canals and Railroads ... (22d Cong., 1st sess., House Exec. Docs., No. 101 [“Serial Set” No. 218]).