Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 23d. CFA Tuesday. 23d. CFA
Tuesday. 23d.

I left Quincy this morning finding my Mother much the same. In Boston engaged constantly in something or other without making profitable progress in any thing. Accounts. Copying letters. Diary 391arrears. Agency business. I find no time to execute my purpose of examining the Registry of Deeds, nor for going to my House. J. Q. Adams called for a few minutes. He has been to the Potomac, but the Captain was not there.

Went to Medford at noon. Afternoon pursued the reading of Herr von Lange, and the Epistles of Ovid, which I have now very nearly closed. My time is principally devoted to this German, for I mean to be acquainted with their Literature. The child Louisa is very drooping, we do not know what the case is.

Wednesday. 24th. CFA Wednesday. 24th. CFA
Wednesday. 24th.

Louisa looked so poorly this morning that I recommended to her Mother to act decisively with her. I never think it worth while to nurse1 a diseased state of the body. With children, it leads to serious sickness.

I accompanied Mr. Brooks to town and was occupied as usual. Passed an hour or more making an investigation at the Record Office. Then to the House for some Papers. Writing Diary, and some affairs for Agency completed my time.

Home. Quiet afternoon. Pursued the reading of Herr von Lange, a book which pursues the history of two generations. This is always a mistake. It parts the interest, and lengthens too much the trial of patience of a reader. It ceases to be novel and becomes history. Finished the Epistles of Ovid very much to my satisfaction. For they have tried my patience as they did that of all his friends and acquaintances. On the whole they show no great merit in the man. Evening at home.


In the sense of attempting to cure an illness by taking care of oneself, or to drive it away by nursing ( OED , vb. 5b). In general, CFA was inclined to call in a physician upon the first sign of a child’s indisposition.

Thursday. 25th. CFA Thursday. 25th. CFA
Thursday. 25th.

A pleasant day. I continue my shower baths in the morning and as yet do not find them unpleasant. My child was better this morning but seems yet to be hardly herself.

I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. Received a short Letter from my father covering the requisite Letters for Sidney Brooks which I copied and returned for him to frank.1 Thomas B. Adams and his brother John Q. called in by whom I sent them. Their report of my Mother’s condition is little different from what it has been heretofore. 392I look to the close of this week for an improvement. Other occupations consumed the remainder of my time. It is a little singular what small chance there is for me to read at all. I have hardly looked into a book at my Office for months. Today I took up a German one to see what progress I made, and the attempt discouraged me.

Home. Afternoon, Herr von Lange which I finished in the course of the evening. It does not appear to me to be equal to the Halden family, and yet perhaps it’s moral tone was superior. Redding’s History of Modern Wines and John Bowring’s Minor Morals. He is a disciple of the Bentham school and talks of the greatest happiness of the greatest number.2


See 5 Sept., above, and note.


Sir John Bowring’s Minor Morals for Young People, London, 1834, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.