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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0017

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-17

Friday September 17th. VIII.

Arose though not feeling much better in health. What could have brought on my sickness, I am sure I cannot possibly tell, but I am sure it is a pretty heavy one. I reviewed twenty five pages of Paley, this morning, in the course of which much struck me as noticeable which I did not see before. I then went upstairs and sat with my mother and talked with her some time. I also took another dose of medicine. I read a little more of Junius but not much as reading affects me somewhat in my present state of weakness. My eyes also have suffered today. My father and mother went to town as usual or at least a little this side of town to General Dearborn’s.1 I had directions from my father to copy two ancient wills so that besides writing my Journal, I was employed all the afternoon at one of them. It was that of Captain { 327 } Myles Standish, a famous military character among the first settlers of the country. It was not the most entertaining work I ever saw, or did. I only finished his before tea time.
After tea I again was very sick with pain in my bowels and felt most extremely unhappy and low spirited. This is no home for me. All the family are no friends of mine and I am reduced to a feeling of desolation when my father and mother are gone. I have never seen a family in my life in which there was so little feeling for each other as this in which I live. Compared to our own immediate one it seems exceedingly strange to me, but perhaps we may be blest. I am always inclined to become melancholy when not employed and then take dark views of human nature. Indeed my spirits for a long time have not been so depressed as they were this Evening. My patience was worn out and I really felt a wretchedness of the heart. I am a peculiar, a singular being, and under a cold exterior feel intensely, at times almost beyond endurance. I thought of death tonight as not an intolerable evil and rather to be desired than otherwise. I considered I never had moralized on it in my Journal, I thought of Young, and wondered why he should take so much pains to prove a simple proposition. How foolish, how vain all this, I ought to say how criminal. My mother this Evening gave me some laudanum which I had great aversion to taking and which finally I swallowed merely in filial obedience. Nothing else would have induced me at this time. X:10.
1. Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn (1783–1851), brigadier general of militia, lawyer, writer, and collector of the Port of Boston (DAB); he lived in Roxbury (JQA, Diary, under this date).

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0018

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-18

Saturday. September 18th. VIII.

Arose considerably better than I was before and with spirits considerably revived. I first reviewed some portion of Paley and then went upstairs to see my mother. The weather had changed and had become exceedingly cold. This is the curse of this climate, that there are so many rapid and entire changes. They solely can make a person sick. I then went to the Office, wrote my Journal and amused myself the rest of the morning copying Governor Bradford’s will for my father. An ancient manuscript about as amusing as that of Captain Standish. I have not much relish at this age for antiquities of this sort, I suppose it will come upon me in time however. I just finished it in time for dinner. My father and mother were gone to Boston in the morning to stay all day as usual. My uncle gone to town and I was quite alone in the house. Mr. Marston dined here as usual. I regretted exceedingly { 328 } that I could not enjoy an enormously fine salt fish dinner to day, I did not feel my health sufficiently established to venture upon vegetables.
In the afternoon I spent some time looking over more tracts and documents of my Uncle’s and then sat down to write a letter to John.1 I got through the first page and part of the second when I happened to stumble upon politics and say something which was not altogether consistent with prudential maxims. I on the whole determined to scratch it out and this created such an ugly place that I left the paper to another time. I then went into the house and amused myself with Junius which I read again with avidity. The commentaries are generally correct but sometimes have a little too much partiality for the crown side of a case. I was much interested by a biographical sketch of Charles Fox and could not help thinking that there were many points of similarity between him and the present Henry Clay. The same powers and the same vices. I continued reading this author until I was called in to keep company with Grandfather who was alone. I sat with him reading scraps from newspapers &c. until his time of going to rest. My father and mother returned at this time with George. I had some political conversation with the two latter in which it was intimated that the horizon was darkening. I afterwards had conversation with George upon many subjects, but none of any interest which I have not often mentioned. XI.
1. This letter was never sent; see entry for 20 Sept., below.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.