Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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.

Tuesday. 3d. CFA Tuesday. 3d. CFA
Tuesday. 3d.

The Morning was lovely and seemed to pay us for all the troublesome weather we had experienced. After reading a due portion of Demosthenes which I find easy, I went to the Office for a couple of hours. The time flew with the utmost rapidity so that I had hardly accomplished any thing by the time that it was necessary for me to go home for the purpose of starting for Quincy. Abby went with me and we had a delightful ride. We had the first true Spring day for enjoying the Country.

Found both my father and Mother pretty well though I think the latter1 in rather low Spirits considering the little one would think could trouble him. I talked with him and after dinner we walked out in the Garden and from thence to the Mount Wollaston Farm to look at the Orchard planted there.2 Found it in pretty good condition considering every thing.

Returned to Tea, and found Mr. Degrand there making his usual first visit. Returned to town so as to reach it by Evening. My Wife pretty well tired by her first excursion. Found Horatio Brooks just arrived from New York. Read Grimm and the Spectator as usual.


Thus in MS; “former” is clearly meant.


JQA’s journal entries for the period following his arrival at Quincy are almost wholly devoted to activities in his garden, orchards, &c., confirming his comment, “I return to my plantations with intense interest, and can take scarce any pleasure in any thing else.” Contributing to his absorption in outdoor pursuits, and undoubtedly to his low spirits, was the condition of his eyes which had prevented all reading for some days. Whether influenced or not by the melancholy state of things at Quincy, CFA and ABA during the course of the day revised their earlier decision to remain in Boston throughout the final months of ABA’s pregnancy and “promised to come and spend part of the Summer with us.” (JQA, Diary, 3 May).

Wednesday. 4th. CFA Wednesday. 4th. CFA
Wednesday. 4th.

Morning at the Office after paying my usual due to the Oration on the Crown. I admire that of Demosthenes more on reading it over 41while the other lost a little of its relish. Perhaps this is as good a test of value as any. My time was very much taken up by a great variety of little occupations being out upon Commissions for the good people at Quincy. I was at my Office engaged in writing my Journal and then went down and received at last the payment on the Shares of the Republican Institution. I went to see Mr. Bowditch as to the investment of Abby Adams’ money but did not succeed. Returned and was busy until dinner.

In the afternoon, Attended a Meeting of the Directors of the Middlesex Canal for the purpose of considering the expediency of selling the Maine lands. After considerable discussion, it was decided to sell them to the persons making their offer. This and other business took up the whole afternoon, so that I returned home and spent my time in reading the Preface to Voltaire’s Catiline,1 where he gives a character of Cicero, and the Discourse upon style by Buffon, both of these having been suggested by Grimm’s Correspondence.

Evening, according to invitation, Abby and I went to Mrs. Cruft’s. A party to the young lady selected by Mr. T. Smith her brother.2 It was small and consisted of the old Set.3 I talked with Mr. Tarbell. Returned home at ten. Read a little of Grimm and the Spectator.


Rome sauvée, ou Catilina is in vol. 4 of the Deux-Ponts, 1791–1792, edition of Voltaire at MQA.


The marriage of Thomas Carter Smith and Frances Barnard, daughter of Capt. Moses Barnard, took place five months later (Columbian Centinel, 8 Oct., p. 2, col. 7).


See vol. 3, entry for 9 July 1830.