Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Thursday. September 16th. VII.

Saturday. September 18th. VIII.

Friday September 17th. VIII. CFA


Friday September 17th. VIII. CFA
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 327Myles 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.


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).