Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

64 Wednesday. 8th. CFA Wednesday. 8th. CFA
Wednesday. 8th.

Morning foggy, but it cleared away and left us a fine day though with a cold East Wind. I felt better, though not yet entirely free from pain. My system is in a pretty healthy general condition, but it is subject to attacks from small things, and requires care. I went to Boston and was occupied some time in making some purchases for my Mother of various articles needed for her House. I had also some Commissions for my father upon Money affairs. I had in this way all my time taken up and it became necessary for me to return to Quincy. My Mother and Wife came in this morning and did not return to dinner, so that My father, I. Hull and I dined together.

Afternoon, I read the rest of Cicero for Rabirius Postumus and reviewed the first half. I also looked over a considerable number of Letters, among the rest some of Mr. Jefferson’s and compared them with the printed Collection.1 Found some curious ones omitted. But I do not know that it is not for the better. These old gentlemen were neither of them distinguished for judgment though greatly so for ability. Evening, the Judge came down from his house to pay us a visit. Afterwards I read Grimm and the Spectator.


Apart from a few earlier letters of 1777–1779, the long correspondence of Jefferson and JA began in 1785 after Jefferson’s appointment as JA’s colleague in a commission to negotiate treaties of amity and commence with European powers. The printed letters must be those published in T. J. Randolph’s edition of Jefferson’s Memoir, Correspondence and Miscellanies; on which, see vol. 3:74. CFA’s words suggest that at least some of the letters he was reading belong to the period following the renewal of the correspondence in 1812.

Thursday. 9th. CFA Thursday. 9th. CFA
Thursday. 9th.

The morning was clear and warm, and a tolerable specimen of fine weather at this season of the year. I went to town as usual, though I felt still a little unwell. It is a little singular that the indiscretion in eating of Sunday and Monday should have so affected my system but so it is. My time was taken up in going to my House, obtaining some books for my Father, and in doing some business for him, which engrossed a great deal. Mr. Degrand called upon me and spent some time on the subject of the business. A very thankless task. And all these commissions make me feel sick of my residence at Quincy. Returned to dine.

Afternoon passed in reading Cicero’s Oration for Rabirius which I finished, and on the whole I think it not equal to the expectations raised at the commencement of it. But the great imperfection seems to be in the defective state of the Manuscripts which stops the pleasure 65of reading. I also spent a short time in reading Mr. Jefferson’s Letters and arranging them as usual. Afterwards Grimm, whose criticism upon Emile is to my mind exceedingly judicious. Evening Judge and Mrs. Adams called. I read Grimm and the Spectator.