Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 19th [10th]. CFA Wednesday. 19th [10th]. CFA
Wednesday. 19th 10th.

I left Medford with Mr. Brooks, and my Wife was to follow in the Carriage. My stay here this time has been less agreeable than ever, from the absence of occupation and of the company which I have always had heretofore. Mr. Frothingham has been there and generally some others of the family. Add to this, a change in Mr. Brooks himself from the effect upon his spirits of his knee.


Time wears insensibly enough, but when I take a jump of five years back, what a difference there does appear to be between things then and now—A difference in Mr. Brooks’ family, in our own, and in the world at large. These are matters for the Philosopher, for the moralist, who would turn the small incidents of life to account.

I was engaged in Boston partly in Accounts, partly in reading Marshall. Rode to Quincy to dine and found my Wife and child there before me. The Afternoon was passed in making up my Arrears of Diary, and in taking a Salt water bath, the first this Season.

Thursday. 11th. CFA Thursday. 11th. CFA
Thursday. 11th.

Fine day. Having been to Boston a great deal of late, I concluded I would try the comfort of a day or two in quiet and study. Remained at Quincy and returned to the whole series of my ancient occupations. Read an Ode or two of Horace, a Chapter of Neale and instead of continuing directly the life of James Otis, I compared about one half of the second volume of Minot’s History of Massachusetts with my Grandfather’s copy. My object was to copy the Marginal Notes which were after all of little importance. But he conveyed away from the family his books, and I thought I might at least retain in mine some symptoms of the action of his mind.1 The work itself is an exceedingly superficial one and very wordy.

In the afternoon I walked to Payne’s hill after my usual business of dunning the Tenants and with usual success. I then strolled over to Mount Wollaston and took a bath at the beach of that farm. It was charming. There are some Lime trees which are the relics of a former age. I sat in their shade some-time and mused. Then home pretty well fatigued. Evening quiet at home. Read a little and but little. My father’s birthday—66 years old.


JA’s copy, with marginal notes in his hand, of George Richards Minot’s Continuation of the History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, from the year 1748 ... to 1765, 2 vols., Boston, 1798–1803, was among the books which JA had given to the town of Quincy, which remained in the “Office” at the Old House, and which are now in MB. The second volume of CFA’s set still in MQA, which bears the notes copied in CFA’s hand and identified as JA’s (vol. 3:334), reflects the action taken for the reasons he states.

Friday. 12th. CFA Friday. 12th. CFA
Friday. 12th.

The Season is at present delightful—Not too warm and yet comfortable. I passed another day in the quiet enjoyment of life at Quincy. Although drowsy from my fatigue of yesterday with broken sleep last 126night, I read two or three Odes of the second Book of Horace, a Chapter of Neale, and executed the rest of the comparison with Minot. I have gained from it but little.

My mind has been floating uncertainly upon a scheme for reviewing the third Volume of Hutchinson. I do not as yet imagine any thing definite. A sketch of the man is what I want to begin with. But for this I must look after materials.

In the Afternoon, I finished the first volume of Crevecoeur, and read over my Grandfather’s Correspondence with Tudor about James Otis which is among his best and most characteristic things.1 I then went down to the Water and took an agreeable bath. This is the third in succession. And I feel as if it had done me good.

My father spent the day at Cambridge on College duty. He did not get back until evening. Read the Observer.


In MQA are two copies of Novanglus and Massachusettensis (Boston, 1819) containing as an appendix “Letters from the Hon. John Adams, to the Hon. Wm. Tudor ... on the Events of the American Revolution” (see vol. 3:387–388).