Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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.


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]).

Monday. 9th. CFA Monday. 9th. CFA
Monday. 9th.

Cloudy and cold. But very little rain. I did not go to town. Time occupied between Thucydides and the examination of the old letters of my Grandmother, some of which I found quite interesting. Those of my father at an early age when he had his doubts of his success have much to produce reflection. They come to me with the more force as many of them were written at just my present age. It is true that our situations are very dissimilar and that in many respects my early life has been a very prosperous one. But this very circumstance assisted him in his subsequent course when it will be very likely to keep me down.

After dinner I finished Seneca’s book de Providentia. The latter part is a justification of suicide. With the doctrine of the Pagans, there is no reason to object to it. But it would seem as if any person having sense enough to believe in a Deity, would see that the object of his creation was not to put his life in his own power. Elizabeth C. Adams was here all day. Evening at home. I read parts of the Bank Report.

Tuesday. 10th. CFA Tuesday. 10th. CFA
Tuesday. 10th.

Morning cloudy and cold. I concluded however to go to town. At the Office a little while and from thence to the Athenaeum—Where I returned my books without being able to find any new ones. My time passed rapidly enough notwithstanding. I had only a minute to pass and transact business at My Office with Mr. Geitner, and Gorham Brooks called.

Returned to Quincy. Passed the afternoon in severe exercise in remaking the Gravel walk which does not answer expectation. I worked hard myself and ought to be repaid in health. Indeed that has been very good this Summer. Quiet evening.