Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 26th. CFA Wednesday. 26th. CFA
Wednesday. 26th.

Morning clear and cooler than for some time past. I went to the Office and from there to a sale of Mr. Cogswell’s books. I did not go to purchase, nor yet from curiosity but rather from the sense of nothing to do. I met there W. E. Payne and Dr. E. G. Davis with whom I had much amusing conversation. But this is wasting precious hours. Alas, my regrets lead to no reformation. Lounged over the Newspapers and lounged at Office.

Walk. Afternoon, Dubos, upon Genius, the difficult question of natural powers. A man who admits his definition must deny one of 270Jefferson’s dogmas that all men are born free and equal. Began the Adelphi. The first Speech of Micio is admirable. Evening at home. Vivian, a very strong exhibition of the truth of the assertion that all wickedness is weakness. Began the German of Wieland.

Thursday. 27. CFA Thursday. 27. CFA
Thursday. 27.

Fine day. I went to the Office and from thence to Mr. Cogswell’s sale, but got no books. Did little or nothing as usual. Lounged at the Athenaeum. Came across a number of the Eclectic Review for December, reviewing my number upon Vaughan in the North American of last July. He does little more than quote with approbation.1 It is a little singular that this Eclectic has fallen upon both of my Articles—Although as they relate to English works of interest to the liberal portion of the English Community it is not perhaps so surprising. I feel flattered by this sort of distinction. It encourages me when I have my moments of depression. Yet after all, what is it? I am not sensible of gaining estimation by my labour. The world moves on here, and pays little attention to efforts which do not impel their immediate interests. A speech upon the present distress with sufficient confidence and not half the basis would make a man’s fortune.

Walk. Dined at P. C. Brooks Jrs., his father, Mr. Slocum and my wife. It was middling. I returned home and read an article in a French periodical upon the death of Princess Borghese—A disgusting exhibition of vanity in the last hour made with the belief in the author of the Account that there was something grand in it. Evening at home. Vivian. German.


The subjects of the essay-review in the Eclectic Review (3d ser., 10:462–479) are the Memoirs of the Court of King Charles the First by Lucy Aiken and the article by CFA in the North Amer. Rev. on Vaughan’s Memorials of the Stuart Dynasty. A substantial quotation from CFA’s article is introduced as representing “sensible and temperate reflections” (p. 477) and is followed by the judgment that “The Reviewer does justice to the value and merit” of Vaughan (p. 479).

Friday. 28th. CFA Friday. 28th. CFA
Friday. 28th.

Our weather is perfectly delightful. Mr. Walsh took up the whole morning in conversation excepting a short time when I was at Auction purchasing books. Procured a copy of Constant’s book upon Religion which is a standard.1 I propose to read it. Politics still prevail and money and Bank affairs.

Walk. Miss Julia Gorham dined and spent the day with us. Afternoon, Dubos, and Terence, Adelphi. Evening I read the Annual Regis-271ter and went with my wife and Miss Gorham to visit Dr. and Mrs. Stevenson. They wish for visitors to enliven them since their misfortunes. Returned home after ten.

The Dr. is a very singular man. He forms opinions and feels little hesitation in expressing them. Those opinions are of the most monarchical tendency in politics. There is much of that sort of opinion in this part of the Country, but it is kept down in secret.


CFA’s copy of Benjamin Constant’s De la religion, considerée dans sa source, ses formes et ses développements, 5 vols., Brussels, 1824–1825, is in MQA.