Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 24th. CFA Tuesday. 24th. CFA
Tuesday. 24th.

A continuation of the cold Easterly storm which we have had for so long without however having any rain. My little girl is advancing slowly but is still troubled with her cough. I went to the Office and finished the recording of the Deed to Betsey Thayer, which must now be sent to Dedham, although I should suppose that part of the duty properly belonged to the Lessee.

Engaged in preparing a settlement of account, for the year. My affairs are now so voluminous as to make this a matter of some little importance. In reviewing all the incidents of the past year, I find reason to be further grateful for all the benefits bestowed upon me 394and to be content. I find also some calls upon my prudence in consequence of the extraordinary increase of my expenditure. This has risen one third during the last year.

Home, Livy. Afternoon, Sismondi, Portuguese Literature, Ariosto, and Forster upon Rubens’ painting of the resurrection in the gallery at Dusseldorf. Evening, Grahame’s U.S. He has rewritten his history and continued it down to the Revolution. I began the second writing comparing it with the first.1 My Wife and her two guests were out in the evening. Afterwards, Swifts Drapier’s Letters in which I fully see the power of his style.


For CFA, James Grahame’s was the most satisfying of the available histories of the United States; see above, vol. 3:27, 213. At MQA are his copies of both the 1827 edition, 2 vols., and the newly issued History of the United States till the Declaration of Independence, 4 vols., London, 1836.

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

Morning still dull weather with a cold North East wind. My little girl is getting better slowly. I went to the Office and passed my time in Diary and finishing Accounts as far as they would go. Then read over the remainder of Mr. Everett’s Europe. I have been pleased with this work generally and think even at this late day when the face of that portion of the Globe is so much changed, it presents a curious and interesting landmark for observation, but I think there are errors of opinion very deeply rooted and very important, errors which make me distrust all the deductions of the Author.

To the Athenaeum and then round on two or three Commissions. Home, Livy—Twenty third book. Afternoon, Sismondi, Ariosto and by way of a high relish the life of Sir Jas. Mackintosh by his son.1 I do not know what it is that fascinates me so much in the whole character and writings of this man. There is a moral harmony about his mind which reminds me of the ancient philosophers. I continued the work to the exclusion of every thing else.


R. J. Mackintosh, Life of Sir James Mackintosh, 2 vols., London, 1835, borrowed from the Athenaeum.

Thursday. 26th. CFA Thursday. 26th. CFA
Thursday. 26th.

Continuation of the bad weather, I went to the Office and passed my time in writing Diary and in reading desultorily. Looked over Professor Winthrop’s two Lectures on Comets and part of Mr. Edward Livingston’s report to the Louisiana Legislature upon a penal code.1 395Shortly afterwards I heard of his death. This work is certainly one calculated to give him some future reputation in this Country. He was very much of a mixed character, but on the whole possessing more principle and a more extensive mind than the great majority of his generation of politicians and legislators. In this country we are running down to the dregs.

In the mean time, the Indians are overrunning the Southern country and the Americans in Texas by force of a sudden victory gained by Houston over Santa Anna taking him prisoner, are likely to introduce another singular element of discord into our domestic affairs. Well, the clouds look thick but the country marches onward, thus far experiencing an overruling good fortune if so we may call the operations of a divine providence.

Home, Livy. Afternoon Sismondi, whose Account of the Literature of the South of Europe I am nearly through, Ariosto and in the evening Mackintosh, whose book pleases me much.


Professor John Winthrop as early as 1744 had intended to publish a work on comets on which he regularly lectured in his course in astronomy at Harvard, attended in 1754 by John Adams; see JA, Earliest Diary , p. 55, 60–64. Winthrop’s Two Lectures on Comets Read in the Chapel of Harvard College was not published, however, until 1759. It was republished along with other materials on comets in Boston in 1811. No copy is now listed in any of the repositories of Adams books.

At MQA are presentation copies from the author to JQA of Edward Livingston’s A System of Penal Law Prepared for the State of Louisiana, New Orleans, 1824, and Phila., 1833. Also there is CFA’s copy of Livingston’s A System of Penal Law for the United States, Washington, 1828.