Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 21st. CFA Monday 21st. CFA
Monday 21st.

Cold day. Time divided as usual. Evening at home.

I have no account to give of my day. Worked with some diligence upon my arrears and also upon the accounts. But the mornings are so 177short as to pass away like nothing. Home where I began Electra in my new edition and read sixty lines thoroughly. I think I make progress in mastering the details of the language. The prepositions and adverbs are the most curious and neglected portion.

After dinner, coins. I propose to labour through these with diligence and steadiness. Evening at home. French and Miss Martineau. A curious mixture of shrewdness and absurdity about her. Crevier and Gibbon. Eliogabalus and his antics.

Tuesday 22d. CFA Tuesday 22d. CFA
Tuesday 22d.

Cloudy day with a light fall of snow. Time as usual. Mr. Stearns and coins. Evening ball at Mr. Appleton’s.

I prosecuted my work of arrears with some diligence and had the gratification of seeing some progress. I have a parcel of letters on hand which I scarcely know what to do with and which yet will require answers. One from Mr. Downing requesting me to get a picture of mine copied on his account.1 Home to read Electra.

Mr. Stearns a lawyer in practice here has written to ask to see my coins and upon my answer,2 had fixed this afternoon to see them. I was with him most of the time until sunset. He takes great interest in modern coins and not much in the ancient which are incomparably superior in point of interest. He has a collection of his own of some extent.

Evening, a visit from Dr. and Mrs. Frothingham, prior to our going to a ball at Mrs. W. Appleton’s given to the bride. Not a large but quite a choice party at which I enjoyed myself about as much as I commonly do. Home at midnight.


The letter is missing. The likelihood is that Andrew Jackson Downing of Newburgh, N.Y., architect and landscape gardener and the husband of Caroline Elizabeth de Windt (above, entry of 19 June 1838) was the writer. Also, that the request related to Gilbert Stuart’s 1823 portrait of JA, which JQA had given to CFA. Subsequently, the painting was copied for Downing by Samuel S. Osgood; see below, entry for 10 Nov., and Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA , p. 191, 259.


W. G. Stearns to CFA, 14 Jan., Adams Papers; CFA to Stearns, 18 Jan., CLU:Gerson Autographs.

Wednesday 23d. CFA Wednesday 23d. CFA
Wednesday 23d.

Cloudy but turned excessively cold by night and clear. Division as usual. Dr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Thomas in evening.

I continued my work this morning and began to see light in my accounts by virtue of the annual Dividend of the Middlesex Canal. With this I propose to pay off my Mortgage on account of the South Cove 178land for my father and thus put that affair in train of settlement. I have for some years past been able to lay that Dividend up out of his Income, which is I suspect the only increase that happens to his fortune. And this he is hardly conscious of. This particular direction of his funds is perhaps better calculated for him than any other as it may be an accumulating fund, without anxiety.

Electra which I read now satisfactorily. Coins down to Gratian which is very near the end. Evening Dr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Thomas, notwithstanding the severe cold. Pleasant evening and conversation.