Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 7th. CFA Friday. 7th. CFA
Friday. 7th.

Fine morning. I felt better though not quite recovered from my sickness. Went to town in the Carriage with my Mother and Wife. Occupied in business at my Office—Looking over Accounts and making balances between my father and self. I also made a purchase of Mr. Degrand on my own Account, the whole of which transaction was completed today. Called at the Fire and Marine Ins. Office for the Dividends due which were on the whole rather better than for some time back,1 and generally I did much more business today than usual.

At one, I was reminded to go and meet the ladies at Mr. J. H. Foster’s where I found them, and we returned to Quincy. Afternoon, engaged in reading Seneca in whose fifth book De beneficiis I made much progress. Questions, how far a man can benefit himself and 359whether he can be grateful, whether there is such a thing as ingratitude by the definition of the Stoics, &ca. All which are mere turns of words and of exceeding small consequence in the moral system of the world. Had Seneca stopped this Treatise with the fourth book, I do not think much had been lost.

Miss E. C. Adams spent the afternoon and evening here. Mr. Beale, Mr. Gourgas and Mr. Beale coming in at eight o’clock.2


Dividends of $1.50 a share were paid, or double the amount paid for the preceding six months (M/CFA/3).


Thus in MS. CFA no doubt intended to write “Mr. Beale” and “Miss Beale” since Mr. Beale was accompanied by his daughter Anne (JQA, Diary, 7 Sept.).

Saturday 8th. CFA Saturday 8th. CFA
Saturday 8th.

Fine morning. I went to town. Time passed at the Athenaeum and office. But I had no business to transact. The Tenants are as slow as ever. I amused an hour in reading a part of a late work of Chateaubriand upon French History.1 He is a Royalist of the Bourbon species. A man now for the second time undergoing an eclipse. A good writer and a sensible man, though imbued with the prejudices peculiar to his caste. I have taken up his book from a curiosity to know how he will treat the history of France in its ancient stages. A remarkable thing is that he says nothing of Sismondi.

Returned to Quincy. Read and finished the fifth book of Seneca discussing whether a father or connection is bound by the act of conferring an obligation upon a son or relative. All this is refining. Worked a little in the Garden.

Evening, read to the ladies some of Dr. Granville’s Journey to St. Petersburgh—A courtly physician.2


In the edition of the Oeuvres in 28 vols., Paris, 1826–1831, owned by the Boston Athenaeum, Chateaubriand’s “Etudes ou discours historiques” is begun in vol. 4, which CFA had borrowed.


Augustus Bozzi Granville, St. Petersburgh. A Journal of Travels to and from that Capital ..., 2 vols., London, 1828.

Sunday. 9th. CFA Sunday. 9th. CFA
Sunday. 9th.

Morning clear but day windy. I attended Divine Service and heard Mr. Lamson of Dedham — A good writer though not an attractive Preacher. He seems to have a good deal of sound sense conveyed in a simple manner. The first Sermon was upon progressive improvement, the other upon procrastination. But I cannot follow them. Somehow or other, I do not easily account for my time upon a Sunday although I am not sensible that I waste any.


Read in the Afternoon a Sermon of Mayhew upon Sobriety, being the first of a series addressed to young men.1 I was a little disappointed in it’s character though it is highly likely it was and is well adapted to the purpose which the Preacher had in view. Rode a little more than halfway into Boston to carry James Field, the son of my Child’s Nurse on his way. Returned before Sunset. Weather quite cool. Evening, I read a little more of Dr. Granville.


Jonathan Mayhew, Sermons to Young Men. JQA’s copy now at MQA is of the 2-vol., London, 1767, edition. All the sermons in the collection relate to the virtues associated with sobriety or the evils that accompany its opposite.