Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

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.


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).

Thursday 12th. CFA Thursday 12th. CFA
Thursday 12th.

Up early enough to watch the sunrise, although it was in a cloud. The scene was notwithstanding very beautiful and the choral song of the birds made it sublime. I started after an early breakfast for Cambridge, having omitted attendance yesterday. It was the day fixed for the examination of the Sophomore Class in Homer’s Odyssey. Present of the Committee, Messrs. Gray, Merrill, T. K. Davis and myself. The examination was on the whole not a very favorable one. It seemed to me that the young men had gone backward since last year both in their roots and general information, but still it is an intelligent class. I think Felton is not the man to carry them far. He looks to me sleepy.1 At dinner, we had the Latin class examiners, Mr. Young, Mr. Andrews and G. B. Emerson. Professor Channing and Dr. Beck not so amusing as usual.2 Home by four, thus finishing the labours of another year. Read Pliny and worked upon the ground. Evening at home.


An iteration of the view expressed a year earlier (above, entry for 12 July 1837).


Edward Tyrrel Channing, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, on whom see vol. 3:383; Charles Beck, University Professor of Latin ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

Friday 13th. CFA Friday 13th. CFA
Friday 13th.

The morning was cloudy with an Easterly wind and rain. I felt unwilling to risk a day in Boston in a Storm so declined going; after my decision upon which, it cleared. I nevertheless spent a very useful morning and almost finished the paper book which I am copying. A curious account of a Journey to Stafford Springs, then a watering place of some repute but now eclipsed by Saratoga.1

Afternoon, spent some time in reading Pliny whose uniform egotism becomes tedious, and also in working upon the grounds. This has taken an hour of almost every day. I also rode with my Wife and the children to Milton in quest of some flowers, but we did not succeed in procuring any. Evening at home. Writing Diary and reading.


JA’s journey to Stafford Springs, Conn., and vicinity, 3–12 June 1771, is recounted in JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:21–33.