Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. May 1st. CFA Sunday. May 1st. CFA
Sunday. May 1st.

Our morning was clear but as if we were not to see too much of the Sun, it clouded up shortly afterwards, and remained so the rest of the day. I went to the Meeting and heard Mr. Frothingham all day, but his Sermons did not interest me. My Wife was better, but did not go out. Little took place of consequence. I finished Walsh’s Journey from Constantinople. A good deal of this is valuable information and not very common as the parts of Country to which it relates are little known. But the Dr. is credulous and tells tough1 stories sometimes. 39Experience has taught me however that the toughest are sometimes fact.

Afternoon, having no book, I took up a volume of scattered thoughts of Montesquieu many of which are exceedingly good. His was a highly cultivated and deeply reflecting mind and his temperament that which gave more profoundness than Hume’s with equal coolness. I think these however are better than any thing even of his. The familiar letters however have very little interest to me. They are few in number, and very little varied.2 Read Moore to my Wife and some of the Bible after which the Spectator.


Hard to believe or understand ( OED , tough, adj., 6b).


In the edition at MQA of the Oeuvres of Montesquieu, 10 vols. in 6, Paris, 1815–1816, the “Pensées diverses” and the “Lettres familières” are in vol. 10. The set has JQA’s bookplate; GWA’s signature is in the last volume; a quotation from Voltaire on Montesquieu in CFA’s hand is in the first.

Monday. 2d. CFA Monday. 2d. CFA
Monday. 2d.

Morning cloudy but warmer than it has been. After making some progress in reading Demosthenes which is uncommonly easy, I went to the Office and spent the morning in making up my Accounts for the Month and in balancing my Books. My time was so much occupied in this business that I did not know very well how I could pursue my Articles the first of which signed Cimon appeared in the Paper this Morning.1 Having in some degree engaged to furnish more I am somewhat puzzled about time. Conversation with Mr. Peabody. My Tenant Mr. Tenney called here and paid his rent regularly. I afterwards went to obtain the payment from the Republican Institution and was stopped by the requiring a Certificate of Administration.

Returned to my Office, but learning from Mr. I. P. Davis that one of the English Reviews had a notice of my Article in the N.A. I went to the Athenaeum to read it and for the purpose of getting some books. The Notice is not disagreeable.2

Afternoon, reading, Cicero’s Oration for Sextius which I did not complete. These latter Orations shine out in some parts. Evening at home, read Moore’s Life of Byron’s and after it, Grimm’s Literary Correspondence of which I have heard much.3 Closed with the Spectator.


Under the heading “The Resignation of the Cabinet,” CFA’s article in the Boston Patriot, signed “Cimon,” was placed in a featured position in the issue (2 May, p. 2, col. 1). By a minute analysis of the published correspondence and statements issued by the Administration, he undertook to demonstrate that what has been made available is “untenable as an explanation of the events ..., but that it is evidently made up for the purpose of concealing from the 40public the actual truth,” which is that it is a “fraud upon the Nation.” In consequence, he asked, “Has the ship an incompetent Commander? a faithless Pilot? or dishonest Officers?”


In The Athenaeum, Journal of ... Literature, Science and the Fine Arts, for 12 March 1831 (p. 174), the brief report on the January issue of the North American Review notes, among the contributions selected for mention, “an interesting article on Graham’s History of the United States.


F. M. de Grimm [and D. Diderot], Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique, 1753–1790. At this time CFA was using a copy borrowed from the Athenaeum (see below, entry for 10 May). However, there is an edition (16 vols., Paris, 1829–1831), with CFA’s bookplate, at MQA.