Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Saturday 8th. CFA Saturday 8th. CFA
Saturday 8th.

Warm day. To town and Medford to dine. Evening home.

I rode to town accompanied by my father. Finished the quarterly Accounts mentioned yesterday, and I now must begin to prepare for the annual balance. Nothing new.

Went with my father to Medford according to invitation. Annual dinner to the trustees of the agricultural Society. Messrs. T. L. 247Winthrop, J. C. Gray, H. Codman, E. H. Derby, Josiah Quincy Junr., Phinney, J. Welles, B. Guild, Judge Prescott, Mr. N. Appleton, Mr. Colman, Govr. Everett, Mr. B. Gorham, with Gorham Brooks and ourselves. I have never been much of an admirer of these state occasions but this appeared to me more stupid than usual. The members either had the spirit of dullness or else of caution. They are generally intelligent but few of them are at all brilliant, and the dinner was rather calculated for stuffing with good eatables than for any thing else. They have made a sumptuary law against champagne which is even more stupifying still. We started early for home and got there by eight o’clock. Spent an hour at the Mansion and then home.

Sunday. 9th. CFA Sunday. 9th. CFA
Sunday. 9th.

Cloudy but cleared. Exercises as usual, head ach and early to bed.

On first rising I had a light warning of what would come, but hoping that with fasting it would disappear I occupied myself as usual. Attended to the ordinary exercise with my daughter Louisa, and then attended divine service.

Mr. Pierpont preached from that famous text of Genesis 1. 3. “And God said, Let there be light.” A poetical discourse drawing a parallel between the value of light in the physical as in the moral world. I was surprised at a quotation of Lord Byron’s darkness which sounded to me extravagant in the pulpit. Afternoon from Matthew 4. 4. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Read a discourse from the English Preacher by the Revd. Jeremiah Tidcombe from 2 Samuel 12. 7. “And Nathan said unto David, Thou art the man.” Upon the character of Reproof and the state of the receiver of it. I read also nearly the whole of two dialogues of Alciphron, to prove the value of the Christian Religion. But before I had quite finished the last my head grew so much worse that I was obliged to give up all reading and finally to retire to bed. I have not for a long time had such an attack as this.

Monday 10th. CFA Monday 10th. CFA
Monday 10th.

Windy but clear. At home dividing time as usual. Evening, the family with us.

I spent much time this morning upon the review of Tucker and went on as I thought quite vigorously. Two more such mornings will I 248think finish the business which as usual with me grows tedious as I proceed. Lessing, Nathan der Weise which I must read over once again before I shall succeed in gaining the force of the composition.

After dinner Lucan, book 6. l 300–600 the famous description of Erichtho, forcible but disgusting. Lucan’s taste was not equal to his nerve. I worked also for an hour upon my grounds, which at this season begin to require improvement. My head clear but not yet exactly right. The family were all here in the evening and Dr. and Mrs. Woodward.