Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

308 Wednesday. 7th. CFA Wednesday. 7th. CFA
Wednesday. 7th.

It held up during the morning but by noon it set in as earnestly as ever and rained heavily all the rest of the day. This was peculiarly disagreeable as we had fixed upon this day for our removal to Medford. The House was in such a condition that it was deemed inexpedient to delay, although it was rather cheerless to start in such a Storm. My morning was passed in a variety of little occupations incident to this business. I saw my wife and the children fairly off in the Carriage, after which I made preparations to go myself. Mr. Brooks accompanied me. We were not materially wet. Dinner and afternoon quiet.

My arrangements could not be very methodical, and my books not being here, I was obliged to sit down with any book I could find. Took up Swift’s four last years of Queen Anne. A compound of all bad passions. I wonder people admire his style so much. There is nothing in it but clearness. The graces and the virtues are all wanting. Evening got hold of a Novel, Esteban, a sort of personal biography of a Spaniard during the times of trouble. Read my Chapters of the Bible.

Thursday. 8th. CFA Thursday. 8th. CFA
Thursday. 8th.

Fine morning with the air mild and pleasant. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. Time occupied in commissions of various sorts. Called in at a sale of pictures,1 from thence to my House which I found duly closed and at the office where I read a considerable part of the Report and Investigation by the Committee of the last Legislature upon the subject of Freemasonry. It is evidently from the pen of Mr. Hallett and very clear but rather dull. He often writes with spirit but not with that sort of vigor in his serious papers which makes them amusing.

Returned to Medford to dinner. Afternoon. Commenced Madame de Stael on Literature,2 and read Ovid, Deianira to Hercules. I also took up Italian which with German I mean to make my occupation this Summer. Evening. Mirabeau, Considerations sur l’ordre de Cincinnatus, a translation of Burke’s pamphlet which first attacked the order in this Country.3 Began to feel more settled.


The paintings were advertised as having been received from Antwerp and as the work of Rubens, Cuyp, Hobbema, Poussin, &c. (Columbian Centinel, 8 May, p. 3, col. 6).


In CFA’s set at MQA of Mme. de 309Staël’s Oeuvres complètes, 17 vols. in 9, Paris, 1820–1821, “On Literature” is in vol. 4.


A copy of the London, 1788, edition is at MQA. The author of the original pamphlet, published in 1783, was Aedanus Burke of South Carolina ( DAB ).