Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 19th.

Sunday. 21st.

Saturday. 20th. CFA


Saturday. 20th. CFA
Saturday. 20th.

Morning clear, but very warm. This weather has continued an unusual length of time, and it is the most prostrating that I have felt. I finished Boileau and read Pope’s Essay on Criticism.1 Certainly a very astonishing production for twenty years of age. I do not know that any thing of his is more quoted and though it may be defective as a whole when compared with his subsequent productions, yet some particular passages have never been excelled.

Went to the Office, read a part of Mr. Calhoun’s doctrine of Nullification as by him lately declared,2 and corrected one or two of the Bible Letters. This though meagre enough was all I can give any account of.

Returned home and passed the afternoon finishing the Thirteenth Book containing Letters of Recommendation. They are all cast in the same general mould, and have on the whole very little interest.

Evening, after passing an hour or two with my Wife who is getting along quite slowly but as I hope pretty regularly I continued Grahame’s United States which I find I read thoroughly before. My present design is to supply myself with materials for the future. Continued with the Spectator.


“An Essay on Criticism” is in vol. 1 of The Works of Alexander Pope in Verse and Prose, with notes and a life by Samuel Johnson. The edition at MQA (8 vols., London, 1812) has CFA’s bookplate. Numerous passages are underlined or marked in the margins.


Mr. Calhoun’s Sentiments upon the Subject of State Rights, and the Tariff, published as a pamphlet at Boston in 1831, seems to have been a version of his “Fort Hill Letter” of 26 July 1831, “On the relation which the States and General Government bear to each other,” which appears in Calhoun, Works, ed. Crallé, 6:59–94.