Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 16th. CFA Tuesday. 16th. CFA
Tuesday. 16th.

Morning cold but it moderated during the day. I went to the Office and finally succeeded in making my Arrears in Diary quite up. Nothing else however. Reading this Account of the Life of Bolingbroke has again set me upon the traces of Swift and I accordingly ordered a set of his works with Walter Scott’s Notes. This is expensive but will probably be useful1—In case I should have to take an active part in politics.

My last letter to Slade was published today. I think it will do. Mr. William Foster met me in the street and spoke in high terms of it. If it were not for these slight and occasional sparkles of encouragement, I believe I should desist altogether. The determination is so strong and so systematic to give no currency to any thing of mine, that it would overbear even my persevering resistance if I did not at intervals receive such notices as those of Mr. Whitney on the 11th and this today, which show there are some who comprehend the value of the services I am rendering.


Home. Livy. Afternoon, finished the volume of Rush’s letters and prepared it to go to the binder. Read Bolingbroke’s Life. Received a letter from my Mother who has been very ill.2 Thank God, she is again able to write.


The set of Scott’s edition of Swift’s Works, 19 vols., Edinburgh, 1814–1815; 2d edn. 1824, was received on 18 March, but is not among the books remaining at MQA.


Letter not found.

Wednesday. 17th. CFA Wednesday. 17th. CFA
Wednesday. 17th.

The cold continues notwithstanding the rapid advance of the season. I went to the Office and passed my time much as usual. Accounts and Diary. Attempted to write a letter to my Mother but did not succeed very well so that I concluded to postpone it to a better opportunity. Walk, in which I persevered, then home to read Livy. Afternoon, I wrote my letter,1 and began the examination of another bundle of old papers.

I made a change in the arrangement of my books so that I was able to see what had already been done which looks quite formidable. I think, was the same to be done over, I should have altered and improved the arrangement. But this is met by the reflection that if it had not been done as it is, it might not have been done at all.

Read Bolingbroke’s Life which is interesting, and part of Niebuhr’s first Volume of Rome which is not so. German in the evening, de la Motte Fouque’s Magic ring—Slidell’s American in England to my Wife.2


Letter to LCA not found.


CFA borrowed from the Athenaeum the first volumes of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, Roman History, 2 vols., London, 1827; Friedrich Heinrich Carl de LaMotte Fouqué, Der Zauberring, 3 vols., Nuremberg, 1816; and Alexander Slidell [Mackenzie], An American in England, 2 vols., N.Y., 1835.

Thursday. 18th. CFA Thursday. 18th. CFA
Thursday. 18th.

Cold. When I went to the Office this morning I found the workmen all there making changes which have heretofore been contemplated. The stairs having been removed render it impossible for me to get into my rooms, so that I went down to the Insurance Co. and from thence to the Athenaeum, in which manner I passed my time quite as pleasantly as if I had been at the Office. Read part of the story of Japhet in the Metropolitan and one or two interesting articles in the Edinburgh Review. Then I took a walk after which home to read Livy. This is 335after all one of my most agreeable occupations. There is none of the bustle and stir of the world with it’s anxieties and it’s disappointments. And yet there are pictures of life brought before one with the vividness of scenic representation.

After dinner I read a part of the time, and another part I devoted to the papers of my Grandfather. Went over those of Sam. Adams but missed one very important one which I presume my father has put away too carefully. Several papers are in this predicament. The collection of Sam. Adams is small but valuable. That of Jas. Lovell is large but partakes of the valueless character of his mind. In such a position as he was this is a tenfold pity.1 Finished the first volume of Cooks Life of Lord Bolingbroke, very interesting.

Evening at home reading to my Wife from Slidell’s American in England. This was the evening of the meeting at Faneuil Hall, which I decided not to attend. Afterwards, the Zauberring.


For fuller comments by CFA on James Lovell, see note to entry for 3 Jan. 1835, above.