Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Thursday. 22d. CFA Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

Morning fine. I found my Wife a little better but recovering very slowly. Office where I was occupied in Accounts and arranging my papers which seem to get prodigiously out of order. My indolence or my occupations must be great for no person has a greater medley of things to attend to.

Called in to see the pictures and found much company. The Madonna gains on one by acquaintance. A seraphic face certainly. But there are now too many people to be at one’s ease or see conveniently.

Home. Sophocles. After which I began in earnest upon the Athenaeum coins, many of which I find curious and valuable. The experi-404ence this will furnish me will be a great aid to my own acquisitions in future. Evening at home pursuing the subject.

Friday. 23d. CFA Friday. 23d. CFA
Friday. 23d.

At last a mild day. I went to Market and thence to the Office. My Wife a little better. Applied to Judge Leland1 respecting the Administration and filled up the papers which he gave me to be acted upon thus setting this matter into operation.

Home after a call of some length on T. K. Davis with whom I talked of things in general, and Mr. Walsh in particular who is as it seems to me rather inert. I am very sorry for him but he has been going down the hill so fast of late that he must be roused or left.

Sophocles. What constitutes the merit of the Coloneus? It has little or no action, but it’s sentiment is fine. The contrast of divine anger softened by the agency of earthly affections. Afternoon, engaged and evening also in my coins from the Athenaeum which furnish me a very interesting study.

1.

Sherman Leland was the judge of probate in Norfolk co.; see vol. 4:269.

Saturday 24th. CFA Saturday 24th. CFA
Saturday 24th.

A mild day. I spend an hour every morning after breakfast in the assortment of the coins from the Athenaeum which will prove a very fascinating study. My Wife continues to grow better and will I hope very soon now begin to gain.

Office where I had visits from Walsh and Mr. John Devereux.1 The latter is now fixed in Philadelphia and likes it well. Some talk about Walsh who continues shilly-shally with occupation until I am tired of it.

Home where I made excellent headway with Sophocles and see my way more and more to answer my question of yesterday. Afternoon and evening occupied very steadily with my coins in assorting which I take far more delight than in reading Eckhel or Pinkerton or Cook2 who try to explain the science.

1.

Devereux formerly occupied an office at 23 Court Street; see vol. 5:403–404.

2.

William Cooke, Medallic History of Imperial Rome, 2 vols., London, 1781.

Sunday. 25th. CFA Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

Clear day but I think as cold as at any time during the winter which is a little remarkable. My Wife improves very slowly. I spent some time in attending to the coins before service and then went as usual.

405

Dr. Frothingham preached a discourse relative to the death of Mr. J. P. Bradlee one of his parishioners. Proverbs 10. 7. “The memory of the just is blessed.” He is fortunate in this kind of thing, and does not overload it. Short walk and call upon W. Dwight again without success. Mr. Walsh dined with me. Afternoon Psalms 139. 6. “I cannot attain unto it.” The difficulty of satisfying one’s self is the root of most of the excellence of this world.

But I was most struck with a Sermon of Mr. Buckminsters read today. John 12. 43. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” A very fine discourse upon the love of human estimation as a principle of action. Perhaps no more general error exists among us and none against which we ought more cautiously to guard. I have reflected upon the subject much but find my thoughts elucidated and my purposes strengthened by this sermon. Evening, wrote to my Mother1—and assorted coins.

1.

CFA to LCA, Adams Papers. The letter is quoted in a note to the entry for 29 Jan., above