Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 13th. CFA Monday 13th. CFA
Monday 13th.

Snow and clouds. Distribution as usual. Evening to Edward Brooks.

The day was dark and gloomy and I felt somewhat with the weather. After my usual time in coins I went to the Office and devoted my time to filling up the arrears of Diary which last week had created. Received a letter from my mother giving encouraging accounts. Her letter is 357short but it gives me reason to believe that Louisa’s illness has been exceedingly serious.1 Thence to the Athenaeum.

Home to read Oedipus Coloneus, but what with my own children, my affairs and the accounts from Washington I was very much depressed. After dinner, The Townley Gallery in the publications of the Society for diffusing knowledge.2

Evening, went to Edward Brooks’. Mr. and Mrs. Dutton Russel there but nothing new. Talk of T. K. Davis who from all accounts is I am afraid decidedly deranged. Home and read Landor.


To the family in Washington, still distraught over the death of Georgeanna Frances, the illness of her sister Louisa had overwhelmed them by the “apparent similarity of the cases.” Louisa had suffered from “inflamation of the bowels and bladder,” severe pain, and high fever. However, “the doctor says the two cases differ and that at the present time all is favorable” (LCA to ABA, 9 Jan., Adams Papers). Later letters report convalescence and recovery (same to CFA, 21 Jan.; to ABA, 26 Jan., 20 Feb., all in Adams Papers).


The volumes on the Townley Gallery in the British Museum are in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

Tuesday 14th. CFA Tuesday 14th. CFA
Tuesday 14th.

Clear. Division as usual. Evening at home.

There is nothing new. Even politics do not appear to furnish any variety. The world wags quietly. Office engaged in accounts and from thence to the Athenaeum where I rather wasted my time. Desultory, miscellaneous reading in a library is among the most fascinating of all pleasures to me although it creates rather superficial knowledge.

Home to read Oedipus Coloneus. I do not get on very fast with it. Afternoon the Townley Gallery, and Law’s Essay on Money and trade.1 My Wife went with Mrs. Story to Medford to spend the evening with Mrs. Gray, and I devoted the time to a thorough revision of my Lecture on credit which I find long. Began Prescott’s Ferdinand and Isabella.2


John Law’s Money and Trade Considered, with a Proposal for Supplying the Nation with Money, first published in Edinburgh, 1709, is in vol. 13 of John Somers, Collection of Tracts, London, 1815.


A copy of the 3-vol., Boston, 1840, edn. of William Hickling Prescott’s History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella is in MQA.

Wednesday 15th. CFA Wednesday 15th. CFA
Wednesday 15th.

Clear. Distribution as usual. Evening at Mrs. Frothingham’s.

Time passes fast and brings on with it my projected journey to New York which I face with more and more ill will. Office. Nothing done.


I forgot to say yesterday that I attended a meeting of The Suffolk Insurance Co. yesterday in which I found that we were called upon to sacrifice above a quarter part of the Stock. This was the very measure which was last year resisted. And a whole year has done little or nothing for the Stock. Well, this is bad like every thing else at present.

Nothing material. Home to read Oedipus after a visit to the Athenaeum. Afternoon, Law upon Money and trade, and the Townley Gallery. Evening, we went down to see Dr. and Mrs. Frothingham. Pleasant conversation. And return, growing very cold. Prescott’s Ferdinand and Isabella.