Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 16th.

Monday. 18th.

Sunday. 17th. CFA


Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

Nothing but rain, which today afforded us only the variety of heavy and light drops. I passed the morning in reading some Articles in the Quarterly Review upon the nature of the North West passage. They were written previous to the Northern discoveries lately made by Parry, and show on the whole much correctness, although clearly and rather arrogantly wrong in some particulars—The whole doctrine of the Polar basin being very probably incorrect in all its parts. The subject however has not lost its interest.1

I attended Divine Service all day and heard Mr. Frothingham upon the subject of fear as making a part of Religion. He was not interesting. Afternoon, Mackenzie whose first Voyage I finished. It is an important link in the Chain of evidence relating to the Artic Sea, and seems to deserve more attention than it at first obtained. Men are incredulous animals sometimes. The fact is there is no fixing a true limit for believing and disbelieving.

Mr. N. Hall dined here. He is studying Theology after having been Secretary of an Insurance Office. Could not resist his feelings. Poor fellow, I pity him. He forgets the fact that Wealth gives Power, learning only indigence and contempt.

Read Parry and finished this last Work. Every thing that Man could do he did, and his labours had little success only because he tried things next to impossible. The Spectator.


During the period of greatest interest and before the account of Parry’s fourth voyage appeared, the Northwest Passage was the subject of repeated treatment in the Quarterly Review: 18:431–458 (Jan. 1818); 25:175–216 (April 1821); 30:231–272 (Oct. 1823); 34:378–399 (Sept. 1826); 38:335–358 (Oct. 1828).