Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

48 Saturday. 3d. CFA Saturday. 3d. CFA
Saturday. 3d.

Cold day. I went to the office as usual and was occupied in Accounts. Closed the business of the Suffolk Insurance Shares and wrote my Diary. This done I took a walk and stopped in to see Greenough’s Statues. Very pretty—The only piece of his sculpture that I have felt any wish to possess. Yet I prefer the greater specimens of skill which are developed in more adult figures. I should like very well a bas relief. Home where I read Ovid. Began the last book of the Metamorphoses, which has been a very amusing study to me.

Afternoon, Papers of James Lovell. A man whose situation gave his letters unusual interest. Yet he is so crackbrained that his prose is hardly intelligible and his cypher utterly unreadable.1 This is a great pity. Such half disclosures of the course of things are worse than none at all. Evening quietly at home. I read d’Israeli and the charming poetry of Oberon. I go on fast in German.


CFA several times recorded his impatience with James Lovell’s enigmatic style and mystifying cipher, an impatience that John Adams had earlier experienced and expressed. Lovell’s services to both JA and AA as the interpreter and transmitter to them of congressional intelligence during JA’s ministries abroad, 1778–1782, were substantial, however, and there is further evidence that his style was not, as CFA supposed, the expression of a limited mind. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:288, and the entries under Lovell in the index to vol. 4 of Adams Family Correspondence ; on his cipher, see the appendix in the same volume.

Sunday. 4th. CFA Sunday. 4th. CFA
Sunday. 4th.

The weather was again severely cold this morning. The Thermometer falling to ten degrees below zero of Fahrenheit. As low I think as I have ever known it in this place. The day was clear with a Northwest wind. I attended divine service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham from Luke 13. 8. “Let it alone this year also.” Upon the revolution of a year and the reflections consequent upon it in the minds of those who would reform their faults. A good discourse. Mr. Pierpont preached in the afternoon from Job. I am not quite certain of the Text so for fear of error will not put down the one I remember. It was a common place upon the topic of death, of the support of the righteous, and concluded by a very pretty poetical quotation. I thought it was very pretty.

I also read in the Afternoon a Sermon of Dr. Barrow, Proverbs 10. 9 “He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely.” He first explains the meaning of upright walking and then defines under several heads the 49security which is attained by it. A good discourse but I see yet no reason to alter my opinion of the writer. His reputation must be founded upon some other Sermons.

I pursued the reading of Oberon and some of d’Israeli. The second volume of the latter is not so amusing as the first, yet there are one or two articles very curious—One upon similarities of Authors very good and instructive. Notwithstanding the severity of the cold I took my usual walk, and found it not unpleasant.