Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Saturday. 12th. CFA Saturday. 12th. CFA
Saturday. 12th.

Wet, foggy day. At home all day.

I awoke early this morning at the sound of an alarm bell for fire but 308found myself suffering far too severely with head ach to go out. This continued when I got up and for two hours was equal in severity to any thing I have experienced but it then went off. I afterwards employed myself, partly in copying and partly in superintending Kirk who was setting trees. This business must be followed up now with some steadiness. It was wet and disagreeable to do it today.

Afternoon, read Herschel’s Astronomy which interests me much. Evening I went alone to the house below and spent an hour. Nothing materially new beyond what I heard yesterday. The Baltimore Banks it is said have determined to go on paying specie. If they can sustain themselves, what a position for Philadelphia! But that is next to impossible.

Sunday 13th. CFA Sunday 13th. CFA
Sunday 13th.

Foggy and damp though warm. Exercises as usual. Dine and evening at the Mansion.

I read Herschel’s Astronomy pretty steadily during all the leisure time I had from the usual course of things on this day.

After the period given to my daughter I attended divine service and heard Dr. Parkman preach in the morning from Philippians 2. 3. “In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Upon humility and from 1 Corinthians 15. 33. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Upon the danger of accidental intercourse with ill principled men. Dr. Parkman has much good sense often wrapped in strange covers. I dined at my fathers with him, although suffering from a cold and hoarseness which I have acquired I scarce know how.

Read another sermon of Seed’s from Proverbs 18. 1. “Through desire, a man having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with wisdom.” Upon the early pursuit of wisdom, a discourse not merely marked with strong direct sense but also with extraordinary beauty of images and diction. I must be allowed here to express my opinion that these two sermons of Seed’s which I have read are far superior to all the rest of those combined in the English Preacher so far as I have yet gone. I wonder I have not heard more of them. Evening, Mr. Beale and his son here for an hour after which we were at the Mansion.

Monday 14th. CFA Monday 14th. CFA
Monday 14th.

Heavy rain. At home all day and evening. Hoarseness and cold.

I found myself somewhat incommoded by my cold, how I caught 309which is far beyond my comprehension, but as the weather was very bad with a decided prospect of a North Easterly storm of some continuance I felt content to remain in the house and devote myself to my usual train of occupations.

Read a part of an article on the Bank of England in McCulloch’s Dictionary,1 and continued my work on the letters. After dinner I took up Menzel seriously and made great progress in his second volume. He writes well at times but evidently under strong prejudices and has all the national characteristics. Moreover his book makes me estimate the German mind rather below what I had done before. It wants practical basis, the thing which makes the English literature so useful as well as attractive.

Evening with my Wife at home. Read over several numbers in the last North American Review, very sensible. My father made a call to see how we did. We hear today by the Newspapers of the suspension of specie payments by the Baltimore Banks. This was no more than I expected.


John Ramsay McCulloch, A Dictionary ... of Commerce and Commercial Navigation, 2 vols., London, 1832. CFA’s copy, now in MQA, is of the 1840 edition.