Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

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

The air was clear and it was warm today but not oppressive. I went to town instead of my regular day, tomorrow, because the Probate Court proposes to meet at Quincy tomorrow and I wish to attend to poor Thomas Adams’s affairs. My time was taken up in a variety of Commissions which kept me going pretty steadily from the moment of arrival until that of departure. This was somewhat fatiguing as it involved the walk over a pretty large space of ground. Home.

Afternoon, Lucretius who writes vigorously upon a subject too 93crabbed for Poetry. Bayle, and the last volume of Lockhart which is interesting from it’s melancholy tone. The great charm of Scott is to be found in that of Terence’s line, “Homo sum; nihil humani alienum a me puto.”1 Evening, lady visitors but we spent an hour notwithstanding at the Mansion. Louisa seven years old this day. Heaven be praised.


That is, “I am a man, and nothing that is human is uninteresting to me.” The passage, slightly altered by CFA, is from Terence’s play Heautontimoroumenos, I, 1, 25. CFA, along with his brothers, had studied this and Terence’s five other comedies at school in England in 1816 and, at the same time, been the beneficiary of extensive notes on them in letters from JA. In 1834, on rereading the plays, he entered JA’s comments and translations of selected passages, including the present one as translated above, in his own copy of the London, 1825, edn. now in MQA. See vol. 5:xviii, 265–269.

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

Morning cold with an Easterly wind. I remained at home almost all day. Attended the probate Court held at the Hotel and presented my papers for the order of notice, but was stopped for want of the presence of the other executor. I must now write to Isaac Hull to know what his determination is.1

Much time taken up in correcting MS. Finished the missing paper book which I since found, and read the continuation which is not copied. Also at the other house the MS fragment written by my father which makes me regret it was not completed. But it is brief and somewhat over compressed.2

Afternoon after dining at the Mansion, read Lucretius and Scott. A very fascinating production. I have had Mr. Rowley a picture cleaner out here all day to attend to my frames, and the younger ladies went to town. I must improve my time better.


LbC of CFA’s letter to Isaac Hull Adams, 15 Aug., is in the Adams Papers.


On the “Memorial of the Life of John Adams” that JQA had undertaken in 1829 and on which he had worked spasmodically until 1831, but which remained a fragment, see vols. 3:257; 4:84, 126–127, 175–176, 352.

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

Cool day. After breakfast, walked down to the House to see how Mr. Rowley got along. Found him at work still.

Received by mail from Boston, a copy of the Washington Globe of last Saturday the 11th, containing some strictures upon my papers together with a transfer to it’s columns of the second number.1 This is singular enough. But as the Editor of the Courier probably marked this paper as an invitation to me to notice it, I took it home and devoted 94the remainder of the morning to writing a reply. Curious is the fate of my productions. The Globe makes them a charge against Mr. Webster, and the Whigs shun them as they would pestilence. They nevertheless attract a little attention, and perhaps may be the means of insuring to me respectability in the world.

After dinner which I took at my father’s as usual on this day, he accompanied me in a ride to Squantum which consumed the afternoon. Evening, called with the family upon Mr. Lunt. Found F. A. Whitney and his sister there. Nothing material. Home by ten.


To its reprint of the second of CFA’s four letters to the Boston Courier signed “A Conservative,” The Globe added the argument and conclusion of the fourth letter, that of 8 August. The letters were offered (mistakenly) as examples of the Webster effort to effect an alliance between the abolition party and the National Bank party “upon the broad platform of national consolidation” (11 Aug., p. 3, cols. 2–4).