Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 7th.

Wednesday. 9th.

Tuesday. 8th. CFA


Tuesday. 8th. CFA
Tuesday. 8th.

The day was pleasant though much colder than it has been heretofore. I went to the Office so early that I had a good long morning and after disposing of common matters, I sat down to read the speeches of Mr. Sheridan upon the Impeachment of Warren Hastings. These are very celebrated and may have been entitled to the praise they received when delivered, but I am at a loss to see where it is merited in the abstract I read. I mean as a whole—For parts are undoubtedly splendid. But the Speech as a charge is not clear, it gives no vivid idea of the circumstances, the narration is too much clouded by assertion and invective. It fails before the distinct painting of the Orations against Verres. It requires a knowledge of facts before we enter upon it, which is a defect in a substantial part of Orations. Notwithstanding all this, it must have been a great effort and I am much more disposed to lay the faults I find to the imperfection of the Report of it, than to the original Speech.1

I went to the Boylston Market and drew up the Record of the Directors Meeting of yesterday. After which I took a long walk. Afternoon, reviewed the Oration for Caecina which I admire more and more. It contains the substance of a most important Question, agitated ever since but never better settled. Evening, at home. Edward Brooks called and passed an hour. After which Dr. Valpy and the Spectator.


There were numerous accounts of the trial of Warren Hastings in which the speeches of Richard Brinsley Sheridan were summarized or abstracted, all of the accounts apparently relying upon the Parliamentary Reports. One such, which would have been available at the Boston Athenaeum, was The Trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. [London], 1788, where Sheridan’s speeches of 3, 6, 10 June 1788, are reported in some detail.