Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 8th. CFA Wednesday. 8th. CFA
Wednesday. 8th.

Weather continues showery. I remained at home and continued very earnestly reading the life of Cromwell. I finished the rapid Summary of events which the biographer places in the beginning. And I made a little abstract of them for my more clearly understanding the 343time. He will now proceed to develope the application of Cromwell’s personal character to these events. I believe that a great deal can be said on this subject. My only interruption this morning was a bath.

Afternoon consumed without much profit—Pasting labels in my father’s books, and a few pages of Seneca.

In the evening, continued Mr. Canning’s biography—Account of the difficulties between Portugal and Brazil. He seems to have had full enough in his hands. In looking over the accounts of European diplomacy, it is curious to observe the intricate network which is laid over the whole division of Europe, and through Europe, of Asia and America. Is this necessary, or is it of the thousand and one puzzles of the human brain to enlarge itself.

Thursday. 9th. CFA Thursday. 9th. CFA
Thursday. 9th.

Heavy showers all day. This was the day appointed by Governor Lincoln as a day of fasting, humiliation and Prayer, on account of the disease which is spreading so generally through the Country.1 For myself I felt disposed to observe the day according to the spirit of the declaration, abstaining from luxuries in eating and drinking as well as from any thoughts of an unworthy character. By an accident I was prevented from attending Church although I almost got there. Instead of it, I attempted as an exercise, an analysis of the three Chapters of Matthew which contain the Sermon on the Mount. I accomplished only the first.2 Mr. Degrand came out from Boston and dined, and passed the Afternoon. He brought no news of particular consequence excepting as to the increase of the Cholera in Philadelphia. Quiet evening at home.


Governor Lincoln by a proclamation of 27 July had named 9 Aug. as “a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer.” Businesses were closed and religious services were held generally (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 30 July, p. 1, col. 6; 11 Aug. p. 2, col. 4).


See entry for 2 Sept., below.

Friday. 10th. CFA Friday. 10th. CFA
Friday. 10th.

Heavy rain in the morning which prevented my going to town as I had intended. Occupied in pasting labels for my father so that I have not much to say in favour of my own progress. A bath at noon. The water was chilly and I had a cold so that I was not perfectly confident of the prudence of the measure.

I finished the first volume of the life of Cromwell, and was surprised to find how much could be said in his favour. Indeed there have been few men who have had so much injustice done them. All the fables about his early life seem to be conclusively disproved. And a great deal 344of stuff has been published about his private character, originating in the malignity of a subsequent, unprincipled age. I think I shall attempt to write something upon this subject.

Afternoon continued reading the third book of Seneca, upon benefits—Whether a Slave can confer a benefit upon his master. He settles it clearly. Evening quiet at home. The weather cleared but the musquitoes were troublesome. Finished the second volume of the Political life of Canning.