Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 6th. CFA Monday. 6th. CFA
Monday. 6th.

This was one of the most beautiful days I ever remember in our climate. The air was pure and the sky so clear that the outlines of all the distant hills seemed distinctly defined to the eye. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks who was afterwards to dine at Mr. Everett’s, visit the Potomac1 and return in the Carriage which was to come down with my Wife. I was engaged during my morning as usual. 399Obliged to go to my House which I found Mrs. Fields had left. Two or three Commissions and my regular work consumed the remainder of the time.

Rode to Quincy. Found my Mother still improving, but a good deal depressed by information from Washington of the illness of both my brother and his Wife.2 I had a good deal of conversation with her during the afternoon. It is the first time she has ever spoken freely to me, and I have always avoided it myself. I do not know, but I always experience a strange mixture of fearful sensations when I reflect upon the relations of life in which I stand and have stood. I do not feel as if it would be prudent to commit these to paper.

In the evening I went up on my usual errand to see Mrs. Adams and Elizabeth. Thomas, and Louisa C. Smith there. We chatted quite agreeably for an hour after which I returned. Family all retired and as I was sleepy, so did I.


The frigate Potomac, Capt. Nicholson, to which young J. Q. Adams had recently been assigned, was lying near the Navy Yard (Brooks, Farm Journal).


News of the illness of JA2 and of his wife with chills and fevers had reached LCA in a letter from her sister, Mrs. Frye (JQA, Diary, 6 Oct.).

Tuesday. 7th. CFA Tuesday. 7th. CFA
Tuesday. 7th.

A pleasant morning although it clouded in the course of the day. I returned to town this morning and was engaged a considerable part of my time collecting Dividends and making up Accounts. The remainder in conversation with Mr. Walsh and in reading the last number of the North American. There is a rather remarkable article in it upon Coleridge’s Poetry,1 but no criticism. Indeed the art of criticism both in England and in this Country is almost entirely neglected.

Home to dinner. Afternoon, pursued assiduously my German which I admire in this book. There is great distinctness of delineation in the pictures drawn and the moral is excellent. Evening at home alone. Pursued the reading of Ovid with which I am charmed. The Metamorphoses restore to me the good humour, his whinings had disturbed. Nothing material occurring.


The article on Coleridge’s poems in the October issue (39:437) is by Robert C. Waterston.

Wednesday. 8th. CFA Wednesday. 8th. CFA
Wednesday. 8th.

Another fine day although it clouded up before evening. I went with Mr. Brooks into town, and was busy for some time in Accounts, and 400collecting my semi-annual Dividends. These are this year quite favorable. I have been tolerably successful so far in the little circle of my own affairs, and have reason to be grateful for this as for all my benefits. Read a little of the North American Review and nothing further. Returned to Medford and passed the afternoon in reading German.

Evening, Ovid. Finished the first Book of the Metamorphoses with which I have been very much pleased. He has written fifteen books of these and my wonder will be, if he can sustain himself equally well to the end.

The change in the Season makes some reduction in the amount of our visitors and for this I am not entirely sorry, but the same change operates again unfavourably by driving me from my little study, as there are no accommodations for winter quarters. We remain in a state of painful suspense respecting our future residence this winter.