Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 7th. CFA Friday. 7th. CFA
Friday. 7th.

A snow storm. Such are the alternations of our weather. I went to the Office as usual. Nothing particular. Mr. Degrand called and I executed the money transaction contemplated. Interest at 12 per cent which is enormous and grows out of the political war between the Bank and the Executive. This sum belongs to my father and will, I hope make a moiety of the payment to Hull in May next. Attended a meeting of the new Board of Directors of the Middlesex Canal. The usual organization. William Sullivan talks like a depressed man. He is pretty distant to me. General politics about the same. Read a good deal of the English Debates and felt as much interested in the squabbles of that day as in those of this. What a world of perpetual commotion it is. And how often does the mountain produce a mouse.

Short walk. Afternoon, I did little but finish the Andria—A curious specimen of domestic life among the ancients. Terence borrowed from Menander. The pictures are all therefore drawn from Grecian manners. The French have done little more than imitate, with the addition of their own peculiar habits.


Quiet evening at home. Finished Patronage which after all, I consider the most heavy of Miss Edgeworth’s productions. The character of Lord Oldborough is nevertheless one of her best. The Percys are too perfect to be interesting. Wrote a letter to my father, being my third attempt.1


7–8 Feb. (Adams Papers).

Saturday. 8th. CFA Saturday. 8th. CFA
Saturday. 8th.

Fine day though cool. I went to the Office and purposed to pass my time industriously in reading. But Mr. Conant the Tenant from Weston came in and consumed much of my time. He is fond of talking. I was afterwards obliged to go in quest of a person to make a demand of and nevertheless failed in seeing him. My Cash department is small. Lost my walk for the most part. Afternoon, wrote to my father and engaged in copying the Letter which took up most of my disposable time. Evening quietly at home. Began reading the Absentee, another of Miss Edgeworths Tales.

Sunday. 9th. CFA Sunday. 9th. CFA
Sunday. 9th.

Weather cloudy. Attended divine service all day. Mr. Putnam. Ecclesiastes 1. 14. “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” A moral common place. John 14. 6. “I am the truth.” These discourses did not keep my attention whether it was that they were dull or I was, I did not decide. Sermon of Atterbury. Job 22. 21. “Acquaint now thyself with him and be at peace.” 1. What is acquaintance with God. 2. Its use to be at peace. 3. The time now i.e. with Job a moment of affliction. Hence the general subject of the relief of piety in times of trouble. Subject good, treatment slight. Evening quiet. Mr. Degrand called in to spend an hour, but had nothing to say.

Monday. 10th. CFA Monday. 10th. CFA
Monday. 10th.

I have rarely known a time when my existence was more monotonous than at present. Even my literary occupations which usually give some variety to my Journal have dwindled so much as to be scarcely perceptible. I vegetate and am likely so to do. This is an incident of my condition from which I must not start. In a Community like our’s where all classes are in eager pursuit of wealth, and can spare no time 260for other purposes, he who by circumstances is relieved from the pressure, is in some degree thrown aside from the current of affairs.

Office, where Mr. Brown kept me the whole morning in argument about the Infirmary.1 He had taken advantage of the Tenant and got a Contract for it from me in April next. The Tenant came to complain and I thought him aggrieved. I have endeavoured in consequence to rectify my mistake. I kept my temper perfectly throughout.

In the Afternoon, read Stuarts Essay upon the Beautiful in which he endeavors to refute Burke and substitute a new theory. I do not think him perfectly satisfactory. Mr. Brooks took tea and spent a couple of hours, though he had not much to say. I read a little of the Absentee. Afterwards, took an incidental direction in my reading and examined Buffon’s Natural History of the Ass.2


See the note to the entry of 2 Dec., above.


In the Library of Useful knowledge.