Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

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.

Friday. 26th. CFA Friday. 26th. CFA
Friday. 26th.

It is very seldom now that I do not go to Boston, and it is exceedingly seldom that I find I improve my time in doing so. I had made an appointment this morning with the Carpenter to go and inspect Miss Oliver’s house for the purpose of making the repairs I contemplate. On examination, I find them greater than I expected. But the property has been neglected and it is a good investment to bring it up again. Having done with this business I was then obliged to go to the other side of the Common to see Mr. Kauffer my Painter and from thence to see the Clerk of the Boylston Market, so that it was nearly noon before I got home to the Office. Mr. Walsh then came in and talked until it was the hour for returning.

I have felt quite unwell for a day or two from too great indulgence in fruit. The temptation is rather powerful, but it becomes soon satiety. Afternoon a new German book of La Fontaine’s, Karl Engelmann’s Tage Buch, and the Preface to Ovid’s Metamorphoses.1 Quiet uninterrupted day and evening. A little of Mr. Bowring.


Although it would appear that CFA’s reading of the Metamorphoses was in one of his sets of the Opera of Ovid (see above, entry for 17 April 1834), there are at MQA seven copies of the Metamorphoseon published separately at various times and places.

Saturday. 27th. CFA Saturday. 27th. CFA
Saturday. 27th.

Fine day although we had a few clouds and slight showers. I went to town with Mr. Brooks, found at my Office my father who told me 393my Mother was better. Yet he speaks very discouragingly of her situation and seems to adhere to his belief that she will never entirely recover. I do not like to think so. Nor do I yet think there is occasion if any faith is to be put in medical advice.

My time was taken up at a sale of engravings where I purchased a few, also at the Office as usual. Returned to Medford—Mr. Brooks’ horse Squire being much indisposed. He is a veteran in the service and came in the morning very briskly. But his strength was exhausted and barely brought us home.1

After dinner there was company. Mrs. Adams, Mr. and Miss Soley with her lover Mr. D’Wolf,2 with Mr. and Mrs. Everett from Charlestown. I felt exceedingly unwell and unable to exert myself. A hearty dinner which I made upon saltfish increased the indisposition I had experienced before. Quiet evening. Continued La Fontaine.


On the 29th in his “Farm Journal,” Mr. Brooks recorded the death of “The ‘Squire”: “He had been sick since Saturday ... and from that time scarcely eat or drank. He died of old age. He was, I think, about 26.... He has been one of the best and most powerful animals I ever had. As I do not sell my old horses, I should probably have ordered him killed this fall and therefore do not regret his loss. I only regret that I used him on Saturday and drove him down faster than usual.... Had the poor old fellow buried in the orchard ... taking off his shoes.”


Mary Russell Soley, daughter of John Soley, would marry William Bradford DeWolf in a month (Columbian Centinel, 24 Oct.).