Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 17th. CFA Friday. 17th. CFA
Friday. 17th.

Misty again but it cleared away towards the Afternoon. I passed my morning in reading Horace and attending to the Catalogue until 90my trees came out of Boston which have been unreasonably delayed. After that, my whole time was taken up in giving the directions necessary to transplant them. My space is but limited, and I was compelled somewhat to crowd it. But by diligence, I effected the placing of the greater part of them. Whether any of the forty will take is very doubtful, but I always calculate that the number of chances of success is greater than the price given for the whole, that is, that though many should die, yet enough would remain to compensate. I have ten Maple trees, ten Firs, ten spruces and ten white cedars. I consider the second, the most and the first the least promising. Evening, quietly at home.

Saturday. 18th. CFA Saturday. 18th. CFA
Saturday. 18th.

The weather was clear and very warm this morning. I went to town accompanied by John Kirk my father’s man. Our principal object was to see about purchasing a Carriage which had been advertised at Auction today. I examined it and fixed a price in my own mind, but it sold for twenty five dollars more. My Mother is in want of a vehicle. Other occupations consumed my remaining hour so that I returned with little success.

My residence at Quincy is to gratify my father and in that light it satisfies me, but it causes the neglect of my Agency here more than I should wish. A great many things are to be attended to at places widely distant from each other, and I am not here long enough to be thorough with them.

After dinner, I went up to Payne’s hill on a general dunning expedition but did not find a single Tenant at home. It cost me a long and a hot walk. Whatever my way of earning my Compensation in Boston may be, that at Quincy is much more laborious in proportion. I have had a great mind to give it up. Deacon Spear would probably do it and more thoroughly for half the money.1

Returned home and read a little of Horace. The Child is, we think, better, but she still has the cough which does not yet seem decided enough to pronounce it Whooping Cough. Evening at home.


Deacon Daniel Spear had preceded CFA as JQA’s agent in the management of the Quincy properties (vol. 3:180, 185–186; 4:249).

Sunday. 19th. CFA Sunday. 19th. CFA
Sunday. 19th.

An exceedingly warm morning, but in the Afternoon we had light showers and before night the wind changed until it became really 91cold—One of the extraordinary variations of our Climate. I read a good deal of the Letters of Madame de Sevignè.1 A brisk letter writer, but rather coarse. This was the fashion of the age. We have changed all that. Our day is a pure par excellence.2 We admit no bad words, or ideas.

Attended divine Service. Two Sermons from Mr. Whitney, I. John 1.46. and I Corinthians 14.40—The last upon propriety of behaviour and the decencies of life.

Read a Sermon of Massillon’s being the last of the Mysteries, upon the visitation of Mary. Text. Luke 1.39. “And Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste into a city of Judea.” He considers this conduct of Mary as furnishing an excellent moral for our day. 1. In her Superiority to worldly proprieties and judgments 2. in her contempt of hardship and difficulty 3. in her thoroughness. These he considers as the obstacles which self love most successfully raises against man’s progress in grace. The last he treats by considering that class of persons who wish to unite their duties to God and to the world. I confess I do not see the strength of his reasoning. I am of the latter class, so far as to say that God made us mortals to perform duties in this world and duties which require time and attention.

Mr. and Miss Beale passed an hour. Read Sevigné. I have done the Connoisseur, and from my engagements was unable to get at my house the Observer.3 As a consequence I intermit two days. The Connoisseur is decidedly at the bottom of the Essayists, I have yet read.


Among JQA’s books in MQA are two sets: Letters de Madame de Sévigné à sa fille et à ses amis, 12 vols., Paris, 1812, and Recueil des lettres de Madame la Marquise de Sévigné, 4 vols., Leyden, 1736. Perhaps because of CFA’s interest, JQA also shortly took to reading the letters. His comments are somewhat more incisive than CFA’s (JQA, Diary, 24, 25, 27 July 1833).


Thus in MS.


CFA’s copy of Richard Cumberland’s The Observer, 3 vols., London, 1822, is at MQA.