Charles Francis Adams acquired his copy of Samuel Butler’s Hudibras
in July 1822 while he was in attendance at “Cambridge Uni•
versity” (now more commonly called Harvard) and he mentions reading it in 1826 (see vol. 2:82
). A satire in octosyllabic couplets, Hudibras
was published in three parts between 1663 and 1678 in London. The mock-heroic poem ridicules the “hypocrisy and self-seeking of the Presbyterians and Independents” by exposing their sectarian squabbles and casuistry. The engraving on the titlepage depicts scenes from part II, canto 3, in which the ambitious Hudibras desires to marry a widow of property, becomes unsure of his prospects and consults the astrologer Sidrophel, is found to be a coward and beaten. See Sir Paul Harvey, comp., The Oxford Companion to English Literature,
Oxford, 1932. Adams’ copy of the work was published in London in 1817. The volume bears the diarist’s bookplate (see companion illustration) and signature.