Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

216 Friday 12th. CFA Friday 12th. CFA
Friday 12th.

Heavy rain all day. Distribution as usual. Evening at home.

We had more rain today than we have experienced for a long time back. And it was acceptable both to the farmer and the citizen. I went on vigorously with my occupation and made great headway with Burr. The facility with which I write in the morning is among the curious things.

Home to Ajax which I began. In making a play out of the madness of a man who kills sheep while he thinks himself slaughtering men, Sophocles assumes for tragedy much the same basis which Cervantes takes for ridicule in Don Quixote.

After dinner, finished the first Dissertation of Spanheim de praestantia et usu numismatum veterum which is rather about the former than the latter.1 Continued Chevalier also, who treats more of France than America in his later letters. Evening at home reading one of Theodore Hook’s silly novels,2 and finished Mr. Ward’s Fielding which I think poor.

1.

That is, rather about the excellence than the use of ancient coins.

2.

Theodore Edward Hook’s earlier novels included Maxwell, 2 vols., N.Y., 1831, and Plebeians and Patricians, 2 vols., Phila., 1836.

Saturday 13th. CFA Saturday 13th. CFA
Saturday 13th.

Continued rain. Distribution as usual. Evening at home.

I was little interrupted and therefore made good work upon Burr. The rain which continues as if making up for lost time kept people away and prevented any temptation to go out.

A shocking accident today upon the Worcester Railroad causing the death of Mr. Curtis the Railroad Agent. Chevalier’s remark about the indifference to human life in the United States is very just. The public passes on over the bodies of the killed just like a regiment of veterans in battle. The railways will not transport a man less nor will people cease on account of this to put their heads out of the windows.

Continued Ajax. Afternoon Chevalier. Evening at home reading to my Wife.

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

A continuation of clouds and rain. Division as on this day. Evening at home.

I devoted some time as usual to my daughter’s morning exercises, 217and began to read Professor Tucker’s life of Mr. Jefferson. This work was written with a view to soften the effects of the publication of the papers by the grandson.1 I must follow up my study of American history for after all if providence should continue my life, the great object of it will be perhaps to write upon it.

Attended divine service and heard a man by the name of Holland settled in Brooklyn, New York. John 6. 12. “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” An economical, prudential discourse much in the Essay style of the day and in the worst possible taste for the pulpit. John 17. 21. “That they all may be one.” This was in a better spirit, and instead of viewing the text in a doctrinal way, he regarded it as promising unity of Christian feeling to the destruction of all sects. There is something just and for aught I know, original in this application.

Read a Sermon of Dr. Clarke. Revelations 3. 15.16. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” A good Sermon upon zeal. Evening quietly at home.

1.

George Tucker, Life of Thomas Jefferson, 2 vols., Phila., 1837. Jefferson’s “papers” had been published by his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph in 1829; see entry for 14 Feb., above.