Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 7th. CFA Monday. 7th. CFA
Monday. 7th.

Morning mild and pleasant. I went to the Office as usual and was busy in reading and finishing the Institutes of Justinian which have on the whole paid me pretty well for my study of them. But one interruption of any consequence, that of my Tenant Mr. Gulliver boring me for further repairs. I was rather provoked and we had a pretty smart dialogue. This repairing consumes nearly all the funds, and in these times when income fails so frequently this is something of an object. Indeed of all kinds of Estate which I know, real Estate is the most provoking. I wish I had nothing at all to do with it.

Went to the Athenaeum but did not succeed in getting any new book. After dinner, Attended the Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market Association, for the transaction of business. After disposing of the various subjects I took a long walk to Roxbury1 and could not help reflecting still more in the course of it, upon this subject of property. The discussion of the Dividend of this Company is another evidence of my assertions.

Returned home fatigued, and in the evening finished Mr. Drake’s book. After which I looked over Dr. Valpy’s Greek Grammar2 and read the usual Numbers of the Spectator.


Roxbury would have been reached by continuing southward from the Boylston Market on Washington Street, which after entering Roxbury became its main artery. The area is included in the “map of Boston and the adjacent towns” which is reproduced in vol. 3.


Richard Valpy, The Elements of Greek Grammar ..., first issued at London in 1805, was published in several editions in England and the United States before 1831.

Tuesday. 8th. CFA Tuesday. 8th. CFA
Tuesday. 8th.

The day was pleasant though much colder than it has been heretofore. I went to the Office so early that I had a good long morning and after disposing of common matters, I sat down to read the speeches of Mr. Sheridan upon the Impeachment of Warren Hastings. These are very celebrated and may have been entitled to the praise they received when delivered, but I am at a loss to see where it is merited in the abstract I read. I mean as a whole—For parts are undoubtedly splendid. But the Speech as a charge is not clear, it gives no vivid idea of the circumstances, the narration is too much clouded by assertion and invective. It fails before the distinct painting of the Orations against Verres. It requires a knowledge of facts before we enter upon it, which is a defect in a substantial part of Orations. Notwithstanding all this, it must have been a great effort and I am much more disposed to lay the faults I find to the imperfection of the Report of it, than to the original Speech.1

I went to the Boylston Market and drew up the Record of the Directors Meeting of yesterday. After which I took a long walk. Afternoon, reviewed the Oration for Caecina which I admire more and more. It contains the substance of a most important Question, agitated ever since but never better settled. Evening, at home. Edward Brooks called and passed an hour. After which Dr. Valpy and the Spectator.


There were numerous accounts of the trial of Warren Hastings in which the speeches of Richard Brinsley Sheridan were summarized or abstracted, all of the accounts apparently relying upon the Parliamentary Reports. One such, which would have been available at the Boston Athenaeum, was The Trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. [London], 1788, where Sheridan’s speeches of 3, 6, 10 June 1788, are reported in some detail.

Wednesday. 9th. CFA Wednesday. 9th. CFA
Wednesday. 9th.

Morning at the Office. Weather fine. Before I had completed my daily Diary, I was interrupted, and the visits of different persons continued throughout the day. Mr. Noah Curtis, the Parish Treasurer of Quincy called to pay the Note which my father held against them, from my Grandfather’s Estate.1 I was obliged to return home to obtain it, and was then paid in full. This with the sum from the Fire and 6Marine will make almost enough to pay Miss A. S. Adams.2 The Fire and Marine however again pay no Dividend. A wretched concern. My other visitors were my Carpenter Mr. Ayer, about some little repairs to be done on Mr. Gulliver’s house. Mr. Hurlbert, the Tenant of the Store about Mr. Welsh’s Room which he made an offer for, that I could not accept. Then Mr. Peabody with whom I took a walk to the sale of the Furniture under the care of the New England Society.3 It was poor. Returned home.

Afternoon employed in finishing the Oration for Caecina and read a large part of that for the Manilian Law. This is a famous Panegyric. But perhaps Hortensius was right and Cicero wrong. In the evening, visits from Mr. Jo. Angier and Edmd. Quincy. A pleasant Supper enough but I did nothing after it excepting to read the Spectator.


The sum received was $1,436.38. CFA to JQA, 9 March (LbC, Adams Papers).


The legacy to Abigail S. Adams from her grandfather payable at her marriage amounted to $3,125. CFA to JQA, 28 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers).


The sale took place at 9 o’clock at Market Hall (Boston Daily Advertiser, 9 March, p. 3, col. 4).