Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 18th. CFA Sunday. 18th. CFA
Sunday. 18th.

A cold morning but clear. I began Eckhel’s work upon coins before service and went in to see my Wife who seems better. Attended divine service. Dr. Frothingham preached all day. In the morning upon the forgiveness of sins and the parable of the prodigal son, in the afternoon from Matthew 9. 24. “He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.” My mind is hardly in a state of ease to fix itself upon any thing. Until now I have not myself understood how very much my mind has been led to fix upon this period and now that it has happened I am hardly roused or know where I am.

Walk and call upon Dwight for the fourth time, but did not find him. Afternoon, read a Sermon of Buckminster upon excuses for neglecting the duties of Religion. Luke 14. 18. “And they all with one consent began to make excuse.” The text is the happiest part of the Sermon which in other respects only goes over the usual frivolous apologies which hardly need serious attention.


I afterwards read the Pirate but was interrupted by the disagreeable intelligence that my Wife was suffering so much pain as to make it necessary to see the doctor and I went for him myself. He prescribed remedies which partially relieved her, and I finished the Pirate before going to bed. I am surprised to find how low I rate this romance as a representation of real life. There is nothing of nature about it in any excepting the common place characters of whom his hero and his Wife make two. Norma of the Fitful head is a mad woman and Minna Troil a silly one. Cleveland is an impossible character, a gentleman pirate, and Basil Vaughan1 a hypochondriac ditto. No nature in any of them.


The hypochondriac pirate was named Basil Mertoun.

Monday. 19th. CFA Monday. 19th. CFA
Monday. 19th.

My Wife a little better this morning although she has some fever and pain which continue for the present. I went to the Office where I did little. Mr. Perkins called about his Mortgages and announced that he was now prepared to furnish his new deed. I told him I would be ready for him tomorrow. The remainder of the morning passed in the Registry of Deeds where I found no new course of title. Home, Sophocles, quite alone as the children were out to spend the day.

Afternoon, began Eckhel and procured from the Athenaeum the coins which promise to be a job. I passed most of my time reading Eckhel and Pinkerton,1 and reviewed my Lecture and modified it so as to be prepared for it’s delivery whenever I may want it. On the whole a very quiet day. I have hardly done as much towards improving it as I ought. Wife about the same in evening fever going off.


John Pinkerton, Essay on Medals, 2 vols., London, 1789. A copy belonging to CFA is in MQA.

Tuesday. 20th. CFA Tuesday. 20th. CFA
Tuesday. 20th.

My Wife remains pretty much in the same condition with a kind of low fever hanging upon her. I went to the Office rather early for the purpose of finishing the Mortgage deeds which I had promised. They took me the whole morning and then Mr. Perkins was not ready to execute them so the finishing was put off until tomorrow. Mr. Walsh came in to see me today looking meagre enough. I have not seen him for weeks and suppose he may have been incarcerated, but such is the singular temperament of the man that he talked today about as grandly 403of his prospect as if he had a fortune to depend upon. I confess this rather tries my good disposition.

Home. Sophocles. Dined at Governor Everett’s, a relation of his present from London, and Dr. Frothingham. A handsome dinner but not easy, and why it is difficult to pronounce. I shall not take the trouble to analyze it. The Governor is now marked in his manner to me. This is an index of the popular opinion, and nothing else. Home where I read some of Eckhel and Pinkerton. Evening wrote a letter to my father.1 T. K. Davis came in and sat an hour, nothing of interest.


21 Feb., Adams Papers.