Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. [September] 1st. CFA Monday. [September] 1st. CFA
Monday. September 1st.

The morning looked dark and threatening. Nevertheless I went to town. My time partly taken up in writing arrears of Diary, partly in a 377visit to the Athenaeum and partly in several little Commissions necessary but not pleasant. I went to Quincy in the midst of an Easterly rain at one o’clock and found the family dining. I felt a little unwell without knowing precisely wherein—A sort of indefinite uneasiness which is not pain and yet prevents the sense of health.

Afternoon quietly passed in reading a new book called the Doctor written anonymously but supposed to be by Southey.1 It is rambling but quite amusing, a sort of receptacle of old quotations and loose ideas which cannot find their place in other writings. Now and then there is a sound reflection but the weaving makes up a great proportion of the whole. Read Ovid as usual. Evening, we sat down to Whist, four of us and played two rubbers, after which I spent another hour in reading.


The Doctor, by Robert Southey, ultimately published in 7 vols., 1834–1847, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.

Tuesday. 2d. CFA Tuesday. 2d. CFA
Tuesday. 2d.

It rained in the morning and the weather looked threatening all day. I sat quietly at home all the time it was doubtful and read German, Goethe’s Werther by which, and a volume of Lessing’s Laocoon which I opened, I can test the progress I have made. It is greater than I had anticipated. Read also the Doctor &ca., and had half an hour’s conversation with my Mother, respecting my future plans for the winter. I must bethink myself rather sooner than I had expected to as my decision is very likely to affect that of others. I laid before her the precise state of the case and requested her to ascertain what the probable cost would be of spending some months in Washington. She said she would try.1

As it seemed to hold up at one, I accompanied my father and Walter Hellen to Squantum—It being the day of the regular meeting for choice of Directors &ca. of the Neponset Bridge Corporation. They usually have a dinner and invite all the gentlemen in the town. Mr. Beale, Messrs. Danl. and Thos. and E. Price Greenleaf, Mr. Miller, T. B. Adams, Dr. Woodward, Mr. Emmons and a certain Capt. Quincy made the Company. Two years since on a similar but worse day I had been foolish enough to commit an excess in drinking bad wine. I remembered it upon this occasion to advantage.2 I do not know why I derived so much satisfaction from my this day’s moderation unless it was that I felt as if the Quincy people present might be looking with a little attention to my conduct. Our family has been so severely scourged by this vice that every member of it is constantly on his trial. I hope I 378am now properly aware of the necessity of avoiding even the shadow of suspicion.3 Nothing passed, the weather cleared up and we returned home before sunset. Evening. Cards, and the Dr. &ca.


LCA inquired of JA2 on 5 Sept. (Adams Papers) about the availability and cost of a four-room establishment in Washington.


For the earlier outing, see vol. 4:357.


On an addiction to alcohol as a prevalent vice in the Smith-Adams line, see above, entry for 9 Aug. 1833 and note.