Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 29th. CFA Tuesday. 29th. CFA
Tuesday. 29th.

Day clear but cold. My family in a state of disarrangement from sickness. I went to the Office and occupied myself as usual. Milton 204has not yet been touched. Such is the vanity of human resolution. Returned to the House to see my Mother who came in this morning to take leave. She proposes to start on Thursday.1

I had also intended to take my Wife to ride but she could not go. My morning was thus in a great degree lost. After dinner she found time and I accordingly rode for one hour. This shortens my time for occupation and I accordingly had not leisure for much. My principal work was copying the letter to Governor Lincoln upon which I made considerable progress. I also found time for the fine narration of the fall of Troy in the second book of the Aeneid.

1.

For Washington.

Wednesday. 30th. CFA Wednesday. 30th. CFA
Wednesday. 30th.

Day cloudy and wind very raw. I went to the Office, from thence to a sale of pictures at Cunningham’s rooms1 and to the Athenaeum. Returned home at noon and notwithstanding the weather took my Wife to ride. The wisdom of this I am not confident about, but the exercise of the two preceding days having done her much good, I thought it best to try.

After dinner my father came in for the purpose of supplying himself with money, to start my Mother off tomorrow. I regretted my change of determination as to going to Quincy since it had been the means of obliging him to come in. Conversation, he appeared rather dull. He returned to Quincy before tea.

Evening, I was sitting down to copy, when a visit from Mr. T. Davis was announced. I took him into my study, and we sat until ten. Conversation, mostly political—Mr. Clay’s views, and the attack upon the Everetts. I thus passed my day without doing much.

1.

Said to be represented in this auction sale were oils by Salvator Rosa, Poussin, and lesser known artists (Columbian Centinel, 30 Oct., p. 3, col. 7).

Thursday. 31st. CFA Thursday. 31st. CFA
Thursday. 31st.

Morning cold and clear. I went to the Office and was able to effect something in the way of reading before dinner. I began Milton’s Defence of the People of England against Salmasius1—A curious specimen of the mode of supporting a controversy in those times. We have become more polite without changing at all the current of human feeling which does remain and must remain very bitter. Milton’s style is strong. He wrote in Latin and this though it gives us none of the 205idioms of language which characterize each species, yet is favorable to the energy of composition.

I walked an hour on the common with my child. The breeze was clear and bracing. My mother could not have a finer day to start.

Afternoon at work copying. Evening the same, excepting a little of Virgil. The Child keeps us so much awake nights that I have to make up my sleep in the day time.

1.

A copy of The Prose Works of John Milton, 7 vols., London, 1806, is in MQA.