Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

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.

Monday 15th. CFA Monday 15th. CFA
Monday 15th.

Bad weather continues. Distribution as usual. Evening at home.

I worked again upon Burr, although neither so long nor so effectively as last week. As I proceed the task becomes more difficult and I am not so well prepared in my mind. Much that I think of, I reject.

At the Athenaeum also where I procure books upon currency. I wish to extend my information upon the subject. Several pamphlets I find, which may be of some use. Home late and read Ajax superficially. This is bad.

Afternoon reading a part of Spanheims Second Dissertation upon the value of coins as a study, and the pamphlets already mentioned caused by the distress of 1837. Evening at home. I read Robinson Crusoe to the children one hour. Continue Tucker.

Tuesday 16th. CFA Tuesday 16th. CFA
Tuesday 16th.

Cleared very fine. Distribution as usual. Afternoon, Athenaeum. Evening to Mr. Brooks’.

I intended to have gone on with Burr this morning vigorously but I only did enough to convince me I must go backward and write over a 218sheet, and in the mean time go down to the Athenaeum to get some more information in which I am deficient.

Several applications. Among others Mr. Freeman Hunt who is about publishing a new Magazine of Commerce in New York and who wishes to procure contributions from persons of reputation. He comes to me upon the recommendation of Henry Lee. I told him I would help him with pleasure but I had to finish first an article for the North American Review. He said his first number was to come out on the first of June. I told him that I might get an article ready in time for it, but could not promise as I must first get through Burr and must get my information. He promised to procure for me what I wanted and would see me again.

Winch here too, the new tenant from Weston, so I lost my hour for Ajax but made it up in the Afternoon. Against my custom I went to the Athenaeum and supplied to myself the facts which I wanted to know. Fell upon the Cunningham Correspondence there and looked over the letters which are curious enough,1 they however tell the truth, which has always been very unsavoury in America. Evening to Mr. Brooks’ where were the family together.

1.

The partisan and impolitic letters written by JA between 1803 and 1810 to his cousin William Cunningham were published after Cunningham’s death by his son as Correspondence between the Hon. John Adams and the late William Cunningham, Esq., Boston, 1823. Publication opened old wounds and reopened bitter controversies; see vol. 1:146 and JA, Works , 1:628–629.