Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 22. CFA Wednesday. 22. CFA
Wednesday. 22.

Fine morning. For two or three days past I have taken a shower bath at the small house under the bank of the Canal, and I feel better for it. Went to town. Office, thence to the House, and thence to Mr. 351Cunningham’s Auction Room where the books belonging to my Uncle the Judge were selling. I purchased a few. But my father coming in I immediately quitted the field and betook myself to my usual occupations.1 Finished the Masonic Pamphlet which on the whole has done much to convince me of the great impropriety of the Institution.

Returned to Medford. Afternoon wasted. Miss Gray passed the day with the ladies. The baby has for two or three days past been apparently labouring under an attack of the measles, but so slight that it is difficult to pronounce it to be so. Mr. Everett came up for fifteen minutes with one of his children. Mrs. Angier and Mr. Jos. Angier came to tea. Some music in the evening. A pretty do-nothing kind of life, but pleasant enough to those who have no admonitions from conscience of higher duties which they are neglecting.


“I found Charles at Cunningham’s Auction room where they were selling my brother’s Books. I purchased a considerable number of them. They all sold very low. There were several of mine among them” (JQA, Diary, 22 Aug.).

Thursday. 23d. CFA Thursday. 23d. CFA
Thursday. 23d.

Fine morning, quite unexpectedly to me for it was raining last evening. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Frothingham. Nothing of particular moment taking place there, I went to the sale of books at Auction and bid in one or two. On my return I found my father sitting quietly in my Chair. His object in coming in I do not understand, nor did I inquire.1 He left me soon afterwards, and I saw but little of him. Occupied myself as well as I could with the Criminal Trials which is the only amusing work I have within my reach.

At noon I returned again accompanied by Mr. Frothingham. Afternoon wasted. Mr. Brooks had gone to Framingham. Mr. and Mrs. Everett called and paid a short visit. He seems either low spirited or indifferent to what others say or think whom it is not his immediate interest to conciliate. This is prostituting the best feelings of private life. Quiet evening.


JQA came in to Boston to fulfill an engagement made with A. H. Everett, who was seeking to effect a compromise between the antimasonic forces and the National Republicans looking toward the selection of a mutually acceptable candidate for governor (JQA, Diary, 23 Aug.).

Friday. 24th. CFA Friday. 24th. CFA
Friday. 24th.

Fine day. I went to town as usual. Morning passed as usual. I got a chance to go to the Athenaeum and read a little, for my Office work is trifling. Even the business I usually transact has ceased. My father’s 352Tenants do not come near me. Read a little more of the trials. A work very judiciously compiled—The records of crime exhibiting the force of the passions. How one error invariably leads to another. How the best feelings of human nature once perverted can produce the worst of consequences. Adultery and murder, Robbery and murder, Gaming and robbery, Forgery and licentiousness, are constantly connected. These however do not surprise. How much more strange is it, when there is an absence of all motive.

Returned to Medford, being the only one of the gentlemen who did. I had a quiet afternoon in which I read a part of an apologetic life of Cromwell which I found in the library of Mr. Brooks. It is unsound. The reasoning is almost all of it false. He must be justified upon different grounds. Mr. Brooks and Mr. Frothingham came out in the evening and announced a new case of disease in Boston. Quiet evening.