Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 5th. CFA Thursday. 5th. CFA
Thursday. 5th.

Morning clear with a very cold Wind for the Season from the North West. After reading a due portion of Demosthenes, I was busy in performing Commissions for a couple of hours, and thus my time went until I had little left even to begin my next number of Cimon. This was bad as the subject is difficult enough to require all my time. Little material took place and as my Wife had agreed to go to Medford this morning, I took a seat with Mr. Brooks. He talked a good deal about the railroad which is to go through his grounds.1

The table was large, Mr. and Mrs. Everett, Miss Phillips, Horatio, Mrs. Frothingham, Abby and myself. Little or nothing material took place. Mr. Everett, Mr. Brooks and I walked to the track of the Rail Road that is to be as he wished to see its probable course. On our return we found Mrs. Gray and her daughter. I was prodigiously sleepy after my walk and was therefore glad when the time came to return home. We reached Boston in time for Tea, and I read Grimm 42during a part of the Evening though excessively drowsy. Two Numbers of the Spectator.

1.

That is, the Boston and Lowell, whose proposed route across Peter C. Brooks’ lands was north and west of Mystic Grove on the opposite side of Grove Street almost to the six-mile mark, at which point the tracks were to cross Grove Street and then continue closely parallel to the canal from the Partings. See a map of the proposed railroad in Medford Historical Register, 31:60 (Sept. 1928); also vol. 3, entries for 29 May, 12 Aug. 1830, and p. xviii there.

Friday. 6th. CFA Friday. 6th. CFA
Friday. 6th.

Morning clear and cold. The report from the Country was that there was a severe frost but of course we saw nothing of it. After reading my usual portion of Demosthenes, I went down to perform the rest of my Commissions. Called upon Mr. Bowditch at the Life Insurance Office to converse upon the subject of Abby Adams’ Money.1 I obtained from him the necessary information and then went to the Office. Employed there in writing Cimon No. 2 which I made satisfactory progress in. I hope I shall do something with this. But writing in Newspapers is pretty unsatisfactory work. Mr. Conant, from Weston came in and paid me a small additional sum for the Wood sold there. Nothing else material took place.

Walked home by the way of one of the Tenants who plagues me in Tremont Street. Found my Mother spending the day with Abby and was glad to see her. I sat the afternoon with her, she returning home at six. Evening at home not very profitably employed in Grimm. This book disappoints my expectations. I have nearly wasted a week. Finished with the Spectator.

1.

See below, entry for 12 May, note.

Saturday. 7th. CFA Saturday. 7th. CFA
Saturday. 7th.

Morning clear and pleasant. I read a large extract of Demosthenes and am surprised at its facility. This expression is pedantic. Went to the Office and was busy in my usual avocations after which I copied out my Article signed Cimon for the press. It took up nearly all the time I had remaining. On looking back this week, I find very little reason to be contented. Much of my time has been wasted, the remainder not properly improved. Writing for the Newspapers is not a very satisfactory Account to give of one’s self. I wonder that I am tempted to do it. What good can it produce to me in any event? If reputation is to be sought, my way should lead to paths far higher than ephemeral politics.

Returned home and spent the afternoon in reading the Oration for 43Sextius. I have lost the track being so long since I broke off, and therefore after a most superficial examination of it, I commenced a thorough review. This is the only way of resuming when one has a backward lurching.

Evening, I read Grimm. There is acuteness of criticism in this book though excessive partiality. Diderot and philosophy are his two great hobbies, and as he lived just at the era of the French revolution, much of the slang1 which was then used is in his mouth. Even now the Age is infected with it. As if we possessed all that is excellent and our fathers nothing. Perhaps the old adage may turn out true, Ignorance is bliss. It certainly was so, as to the rights of Man in France at that period. Spectator as usual.

1.

That is, “cant.”