Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 20th. CFA Friday. 20th. CFA
Friday. 20th.

Fine day. I did not go to town. It is marvellous how little attraction there is for me in the heated streets. And the less I go, the less I feel inclined to. Occupied in reading the second book of Thucydides in which I have been very much interested. The very clear sketch of the sea fight kept me reading much beyond the time I commonly devote. I also progressed a little and but a little with Sydney.

The probable return of my father also makes it necessary for me to change my situation. It is now nearly two months that I have had the study entirely to myself, during which time I have not been entirely idle. Perhaps I ought to have done more, considering the advantages 333I have in this collection of books. But on the other hand, though they make my progress seem small, it is well to resist the propensity to miscellaneous and desultory reading which would show it greater.

After dinner, I read but little of Seneca as in the first place I went to the bath and in the second my Wife wished to go to Weymouth, so I drove over there. Returned to tea but I felt unusually fatigued. After tea, my Mother, Wife, and I walked up to see Mr. T. Greenleaf and his family. No person was at home excepting Mrs. G. We remained a short time and returned before nine. I retired soon.

Saturday. 21st. CFA Saturday. 21st. CFA
Saturday. 21st.

A fine rain this morning, but it prevented my going to town as I had intended. Occupied in reading Thucydides, but I had a little touch of my headach, which prevented my pursuing studies very closely. Mrs. Frothingham with her brother Horatio came and spent an hour with us. They had nothing very new, but we were glad to see them execute their long talked of project. Afterwards I worked in the Garden.

Mrs. Adams sent home the old Journals which I. Hull had with him to copy, and I sat down and amused myself much in reading them.1 He went through a great deal in his life of various sorts of fortune. He saw much of the world, and considering his situation, got through exceedingly well. But there is a spice of truth in what his enemies said of him, that he came home from Europe somewhat tinged with their notions. Perhaps it may be as he says, but Republicanism is the fashion of the day and that admits of no recognized distinctions. Evening, I called at Mrs. T. B. Adams’.


JA’s diaries; see above, entry for 9 Nov. 1831, note.

Sunday. 22d. CFA Sunday. 22d. CFA
Sunday. 22d.

Fine day. I attended Divine Service all day and heard Mr. Flint of Cohasset preach. In the morning upon the fulfilment of vows made, in the Afternoon upon attendance on divine Worship. He is a very good Preacher so far as good sense may go but his excessively erroneous delivery is enough to cover every merit. The finest diamonds would never shine through so much mud.

At home, most of my day was taken up in reading the old Journals of my Grandfather relating to the very important period of the Treaty of 1783. A period which Mr. Sparks has been exerting himself to construe in his way against every circumstance of probability.


There is a Report of extensive circulation today that Mr. Clay has killed Mr. Benton in a duel at Washington. It wants confirmation very much.1

Evening, my Wife and I walked up to Mrs. T. B. Adams to pay a visit. Remained but a short time. Mrs. Angier and Mr. Joseph Angier came in from Medford just at this time. On our return we found Mr. and Mrs. Quincy.


The rumor probably arose from accounts of the extremely bitter exchanges between Thomas Hart Benton and Henry Clay in the Senate during the debate on the President’s veto of the bill to renew the charter of the Bank (Daily National Intelligencer, 16 July, p. 2; 19 July, p. 3).