Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 3d. CFA Monday 3d. CFA
Monday 3d.

Cold and cloudy. Time disposed of at home. Evening at the Mansion.

Much of my morning was given to the beginning of Tucker. I wrote about three pages of review and that was all. But with me the cost of the first step is according to the French proverb.1

The Great Western has brought us news from Europe of a very important kind.2 Every thing within a few years has tended to some great 245explosion in that quarter, but it is impossible to foresee exactly when it will take place, or how it will affect this country. Perhaps the immediate operation will be beneficial, if it brings over capital to be invested here. On the other hand if simply a creation of debt is the result the effect is more questionable. The Bank of England has raised the rate of interest in consequence of losses of bullion, this puts a stop to our loans and shuts up the remedy which we had against the rise of exchange.

Read a little of Lessing and 300 lines in the fifth book of the Pharsalia. The ladies went to Boston. My boy John still suffering from his cold. Evening at my father’s, returning however pretty early.


Probably, “Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte,” the first step is the difficult one.


The arrival of the speedy Great Western in New York brought the most recent reports from England of continued declines in sales and prices of cotton, of advances in interest rates, and of “paralyzed” markets (Boston Courier, 3 June, p. 2, col. 5).

Tuesday 4th. CFA Tuesday 4th. CFA
Tuesday 4th.

Fine day. Morning to town. Afternoon at home. Evening at the Mansion.

This is the first clear day we have had for some time, and this was disfigured by a cold East wind which set in at noon. I went to town where not having much to do but to perform some commissions, I occupied myself with filing up my vouchers for the last three months and arranging my books, in advance for the annual balance.

Home. Afternoon superintendance of work and Lucan B. 5. 300–420. Evening at the Mansion, nothing remarkable to record. Our present life is more quiet even than it is in Boston. Hitherto in the midst of bad weather we have been troubled with exceeding few interruptions. Yet considering this I do not study as much as I ought. Knowledge is the one thing needful.

Wednesday 5th. CFA Wednesday 5th. CFA
Wednesday 5th.

Rain storm. At home all day, distribution as usual.

A very heavy gale from the Eastward brought with it rain and kept me rigidly confined to the house. I worked pretty steadily on my Review of Mr. Tucker which goes on pretty well. Continued Lessing’s Nathan the Wise and read Lucan finishing all but about ninety lines of the fifth book of the Pharsalia. I continue to think his great fault to be extravagance. Read Grimm whose criticism is just and keen. One of 246my wonders in the present day is the low standard of it in this country. We are all praise or blame.

Evening at home. The continuance of this very unpleasant weather here has a slight tendency to depress our spirits. Yet we have a fine opportunity for improvement if the disposition was coexistent.