Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday 20th. CFA Saturday 20th. CFA
Saturday 20th.

I arose feeling much better than I had anticipated after so dissipated a day as yesterday. Office where I had not much leisure. W. Spear came in and discussed a lease of a new stone Quarry. Then A. H. Everett, then Mr. Walsh, so the time passed. No accounts from Washington for so long I begin to feel very anxious.


Home, finished my review of Herodotus. I believe I must now take up the plays of Sophocles. These will perhaps repay more the trouble and I want to refresh my notions of the Greek dramatists. I have gathered something very useful from my resumption of Greek during the last year.

Afternoon, a call from Mr. Angier and money matters. He talked of Mrs. Adams and of the sons, pretty much in the manner which I had supposed. She is certainly to be pitied. For her troubles are many of them behind. I looked over my Lecture and read it to time about one hour. Evening T. K. Davis came in and we had a long talk.

Sunday. 21st. CFA Sunday. 21st. CFA
Sunday. 21st.

Morning cool but cloudy. I passed an hour upon my Medals and then attended divine service. Heard Mr. Frothingham from Psalms 50. 21. “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.” Upon the tendency of men to imagine attributes of the Divinity unworthy of him more especially in the prevailing doctrines of natural theology, and the modes in which the evidences are pressed. Afternoon, Psalm 90. 5. “They are as a sleep” or as he reads it as a dream. The reasons of the similarity and at the same time of the difference, he intending that the text is rather unduly discouraging when considered literally.

Afternoon a Sermon being the last of Sterne’s collection, 2 Kings 17. 7. “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt.” The ingratitude of Israel, and the parallel of it in England. This general mode of invective is of no service in a discourse. Nobody feels it practically. On the whole, among many ordinary ones, there are some fine Sermons, peculiar for the delicacy of touch which characterised Sterne. But the collection does not impress one.

Evening at home. I did not feel quite well but read two Articles in the North American Review. One on Raphael and the Arts and one on the discovery of America by the Northmen—both good.1


Of the articles in the Jan. 1838 issue of the North American Review , that on Raphael was by Franklin Dexter (vol. 46:83–106), that on the Northmen by Edward Everett (p. 161–203).

Monday. 22d. CFA Monday. 22d. CFA
Monday. 22d.

Morning cold but calm. I awoke with a headach which was a little discouraging. Walk to the Office, but was not able to do much. Mr. 385Walsh came in and talked away about himself. He still means to adhere to the Navy provided he can get just such a birth as will suit himself. I think he is a little too obstinate but as this is matter for him to judge of entirely I took no part in the conversation. Walk.

Home where I began the study of Sophocles by reviewing the play of Oedipus.1 This is an agreeable variety from Herodotus, and will keep me a little in poetics which I want.

My head ach left me at noon but I felt hardly in my usual way during the remainder of the day. Revised my lecture and heard my children their lessons as usual. Evening, read to my Wife from Lockhart. W. Dwight came in late and spent an hour talking of general politics.


At MQA are four editions of Sophocles’ plays in Greek: Glasgow, 1745, 2 vols.; London, 1747, 2 vols.; Oxford, 1809, 2 vols.; and London, 1824, 3 vols. The last belonged to CFA.