Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 9th. CFA Monday 9th. CFA
Monday 9th.

I was up and dressed early this morning for the sake of going to Cambridge through Boston, in time for the commencement of the examination of the Junior class in Homer’s Iliad. Found there were present four other members of the Committee, J. C. Gray, Judge Merrill, Mr. Hillard, and Mr. Forbes, a new member.1

The general appearance of the class was creditable, and that of some 76members, very good. But of the whole, there was but one thorough recitation. A young man, Eliot, who bears a high character here as a scholar. I recollected him last year.2 At dinner, the usual persons with a Mr. Couthouy, attached to the expedition which is to go out in time.3 Conversation not so lively as usual.

I returned home through town by four o’clock, with my horse who ran away with me, and which I have purchased. The heat of the day very great indeed. I amused myself with Pliny. Evening quiet on the portico watching the beauty of the scene and luxuriating in the freshness of the breeze.

1.

There was no one then living who bore the Forbes name and had attended Harvard College before 1838 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ). Perhaps John Murray Forbes (1813–1898), not a Harvard man, is meant ( DAB ).

2.

Samuel Eliot, class of 1839, later professor of history and president of Trinity College, Hartford, and a Harvard overseer ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

3.

J. P. Couthouy, a sea captain, was associated with the Wilkes Exploring Expedition which sailed from Norfolk, Va., in 1838 for the Antarctic (MH-Ar).

Tuesday 10th. CFA Tuesday 10th. CFA
Tuesday 10th.

The morning threatened great heat but the rising of the east wind furnished us a great luxury and reduced the temperature. I went to town for the morning. Time in that fatiguing business of accounts which is disgusting from its tedium. I have now verified the accuracy of all the entries and still there is an error. Home to dinner. Afternoon, Pliny and some labour in my ground. But the heat increased towards night. I. H. Adams, Mr. C. Miller and Mr. Smith passed half an hour. I felt much fatigued.

Wednesday 11th. CFA Wednesday 11th. CFA
Wednesday 11th.

There was a fine wind today, but the heat of the sun was excessive. I walked down with my children to their schools and although moving slowly and stopping often, found it very hot. Most of the morning was spent at home writing copy of the Journal,1 but at noon I had one of the horses and after bringing my Louisa home, went with my boy John, and my man down to Mount Wollaston beach where I bathed with the former. Perhaps the wisdom of this in the heat of so intense a day was not apparent, but we came home safe.

Afternoon, a short thunder shower after which the atmosphere became hotter than ever. We rarely have a more intense day. I read Pliny however, but did little else. Evening, on the portico seeking a little air, and I found some relief. Hot as this day has been, it has proved the capacity of my house for when perfectly quiet in it I felt no inconve-77nience, and the night which must have been intolerable elsewhere was cool enough to sleep. My father today 71.

1.

The editors have found no evidence that CFA applied the term “autobiography” to JA’s manuscript that we now know by that name but that does not bear the title on its face. It seems likely that CFA is here referring to it as “the Journal,” possibly from JA’s excerpting extensively in its first part from the Journals of the Continental Congress (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:xliv-xlvi).