Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Tuesday 28th. CFA Tuesday 28th. CFA
Tuesday 28th.

Snow. At home, distribution as usual. Evening, small party at Mrs. Ritchie’s.

I went down to the Office and employed myself much in matters of account. Since my departure various companies have made Dividends 367and these I immediately set about collecting and with the proceeds paying off a great number of the accounts that have been hanging on since New Year. My Journey has not even paid it’s way and my affairs scarcely look more encouragingly than they did. Mr. Johnson has not however drawn upon me.

Home to read Oedipus Coloneus. Afternoon commencing work upon my projected article. I find it will require much investigation. I must look up all the authorities and refresh my recollection with the history. If I make an antagonist, it will be necessary to be well armed.1

Evening to Mrs. Ritchie’s by invitation. A small party of about a hundred, one third of whom I knew. Tolerably pleasant. Home at eleven.


The author of the New York Review article had advanced the view that the contest in England in the 17th century “between Churchmen and Puritans was merely a political one, and not, as is usually represented, a religious one.” CFA’s article, undertaken to refute this position, would hold that it was mainly a religious conflict, made political only because religion at the time was a matter of political regulation.

Wednesday 29th. CFA Wednesday 29th. CFA
Wednesday 29th.

Bad weather, rain and ice. Dine at Mr. Brooks’. Evening at home.

Office making a call upon Mrs. Sidney Brooks on the way. The streets dangerously slippery. Still occupied in travelling through the Accounts which had been laid over. It is a gratification to pay them.

Home where I go on with Oedipus Coloneus. I find this was rather superficially read before. And it is in itself among the most difficult of the plays.

Went to dine with Mr. Brooks. The first dinner of the family I have seen for a long while. Every member in town present and a very pleasant time. We did not stay, but returned home where we had a very quiet evening.

Thursday 30th. CFA Thursday 30th. CFA
Thursday 30th.

Clear. Usual routine. At home.

I resumed the medals this morning and thus fell exactly into my old habits as if there had never been any change. At the Office making up the arrears of my Diary from where I went down to the Athenaeum to look up the works necessary for my proposed undertaking. Picked up Sharon Turner and Hallam, and more than all, the little tract called the Planter’s Plea1 which makes the basis for the whole edifice of The 368New York Review. With these and with what I can procure elsewhere I shall be able to get along. Home to read Oedipus.

Afternoon, went to work reading and endeavoring to methodise. But this is a very difficult process. I ordinarily do not commence it until I begin to write but this is far too laborious. I must habituate myself to closer mental exercise as a principle of economy. Evening at home.


Of the works of Sharon Turner, the History of the Reigns of Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth (London, 1829) seems most apposite for use in the article on the “Politics of the Puritans” CFA was preparing. The Constitutional History of England, from ... Henry VIII to ... George II (2, vols., London, 1827) seems likeliest of the works of Henry Hallam. John White was the author of Planter’s Plea, or, The Grounds of Plantations Examined, London, 1630.