Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Saturday. 5th. CFA Saturday. 5th. CFA
Saturday. 5th.

Pleasant day, I went to the Office and was again occupied in the transaction of money business. I effected this day, the loan of all the balance of Money remaining in my hands of every description. And the arranging it in proper shape in my account books took me much of the morning. This whole week has been consumed almost entirely in the arrangement and disposition of large sums of money. Perhaps there is nothing at the time more exciting than this pursuit. It has the charm of gambling without it’s torture and sense of shame. Yet after all, for a philosophical mind to reflect upon what it is when divested of it’s only just motive: the means of a competent subsistence, I ought to be particularly careful in this regard, having little excuse to hazard my happiness upon such stakes. My time slipped away so that I lost my walk.

Home but read Livy. My child Louisa is again unwell. Her condition 346is a very singular one. It gives me great anxiety. Afternoon, Niebuhr, and de la Motte Fouqué. Evening, Madame Junot, and finished Bolingbroke’s Letter to Sir W. Windham. Every thing appears to be hushed just at present, Politics more especially. Mr. Brooks passed a couple of hours with us in general conversation.

Sunday. 6th. CFA Sunday. 6th. CFA
Sunday. 6th.

Morning somewhat cooler and with a raw East wind. I read Montesquieu Grandeur et Decadence des Romains—A book crowded with thoughts.1 I like very much to meet with an exercise of the reflecting faculty which most books are not.

Attended divine Service and heard Mr. Frothingham from Numbers 20. 8. “Thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock.” I could not fix my attention at all to the discourse. The exciting events of the week, the extraordinary responsibility of such large money transactions, still retains its influence over my mind. Perhaps it is one of the best purposes of the Sunday services to sooth down and quiet such feelings. Afternoon Mr. Parkman. 1 Peter 4. 15. “Let none of you suffer as a busy body in other men’s matters.” Mr. Parkman discussed this topic of meddling with much sense and propriety. His final conclusions bore hard upon the affected philanthropists, the temperance reformers and abolitionists. Mr. Walsh dined and walked with me.

I read a Discourse of Dr. Barrow from Romans 12. 17. “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” He in this the opening of the subject considers, first the meaning of the text, then the reasons for and finally those against observance. He goes over the reasons often assigned for appearing worse than one is—And deals with it well although not better than Mr. Frothingham did the other day. Evening quietly at home. I read to my Wife from Madame Junot. Afterwards, read part of Sheridan’s Life of Swift.2


In vol. 6 of the edition of Montesquieu’s Oeuvres now at MQA, but which CFA seems then to have had among his books in Boston; see vol. 4:39, 255.


Thomas Sheridan’s Life of Jonathan Swift, Dublin, 1785, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.

Monday. 7th. CFA Monday. 7th. CFA
Monday. 7th.

Morning pleasant. Office, nothing new. Mr. Hallett does not seem to be disposed to notice my Articles at all. What has got into him? Is it not part of the double faced system he has always been pursuing 347towards me? He likes my aid without my company. Well, I must do as well as I can and neglect trifles. I must rest upon my ability to help them and overlook all little intended discouragements.

My time was taken up in Accounts, attending a brief meeting of Middlesex Canal Directors and writing a letter to Mr. Johnson about his funds,1 and thus the time all escaped. Walk. Home, Livy, finished the fifth book and began the sixth. Afternoon, Niebuhr who is insufferably dry and de la Motte Fouqué. Copied and sent the letter to Mr. Johnson. Evening quietly at home, reading to my Wife Madame Junot. Afterwards, so drowsy that I retired early.


To T. B. Johnson (LbC, Adams Papers).