Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Wednesday 14th. CFA Wednesday 14th. CFA
Wednesday 14th.

Cold and foggy. At home, dine and evening at my father’s.

I passed some time in the morning in continuation of the work of copying a long letter. I have now seriously commenced the duty of 279preparing the work which I have been meditating during the Summer, and shall continue it easily as I find it convenient. It will afford me a kind of agreeable occupation for some time to come, and in the mean time I will try to arrange in my mind the elements of a biographical summary.1

The materials for the Lecture worry me much more and I must be collecting them.2 Yet on the whole I like the kind of life I now lead exceedingly, for it seems to furnish me with a hope of earning an honest reputation without putting me into the region of violent passions and overstrained wishes and fears. The life of the politician in this country most particularly is a life of terror and of personal sacrifices which are hardly compensated even by the most brilliant momentary triumphs. And every day the thing grows worse instead of better.

Read an hour in Menzel who thinks justly, and moderately. At my father’s there dined with us Mr. and Mrs. Lunt, who also remained until after tea. I therefore did nothing during the afternoon but put in three buds into apple trees.


JQA had suggested to CFA the preparation and publication of a memoir of AA (see the entry for 13 June, above). CFA, stimulated by the idea and by the warmth with which her letters had been received when included in his Massachusetts Historical Society lecture (entry for 23 Jan. 1838, above), thereafter must have thought of combining the memoir with a collection of the letters. Reading the letter lent him two days before by Mrs. Greenleaf seems to have convinced him to proceed.


Doubts about accepting the invitation to address the Mercantile Library Association in New York (entry for 8 Aug., above) seem also to have been resolved.

Thursday 15th. CFA Thursday 15th. CFA
Thursday 15th.

Cold east wind. At home all day. Evening at my father’s.

I continued my work upon the letter without doing quite as much as I have upon any preceding morning. This single letter will have cost me nearly five days. It is however much the longest.

Read an hour in Menzel and was interrupted some time by visits from Mrs. Edmund Quincy, Mrs. Greene and Miss Quincy.

After dinner, finished the thirteenth book of Annals of Tacitus. This will aid me in my medallic studies. And had time for Grimm who has been somewhat neglected this summer. How little of what man wishes to do does he find himself able to accomplish.

Friday. 16th. CFA Friday. 16th. CFA
Friday. 16th.

Cold easterly wind. To town. Afternoon and evening at home. I went to town this morning accompanied by my father. Called at 280the Athenaeum to procure a book or two upon credit, a subject which I must begin to look up. Storch, Political Economy,1 I found instructive. The subject will bear working, I think. There were persons at the Office to see my father much of the time so that I had little opportunity for business.

Home as usual. It had been cold all the morning but set in to rain after dinner. I read twenty sections in the fourteenth book of Tacitus, and some of Grimm. In the evening I was at home, and read aloud to my Wife the first act of King Lear.


Heinrich Friedrich Storch, Cours d’économie politique, 5 vols., Paris, 1823–1824.