Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 25th.

Friday. 27th.

Thursday. 26th. CFA


Thursday. 26th. CFA
Thursday. 26th.

Morning severely cold again. As an example of the variable character of our Climate, it may be stated that within twenty four hours the Thermometer had fallen more than fifty degrees. It was now below zero of Fahrenheit. I went to the Office as usual, but was engaged all day in making up Accounts, and was surprised to find that from some cause or other they did not come out right. What was worse I could not discover where the mistake was, and left it unfinished. Called in to see Alston’s Picture again rather to pay my portion to the exhibition than from any wish to see it. It did not appear to me so favourably placed as it was there.1 I think however that it is on the whole a very fair specimen of his powers.

Dined at Mr. Frothingham’s upon venison with Mr. Brooks, and Gorham’s Wife. The meat was not so tender as mine. But it was very good. Pleasant dinner enough. Returned home and found my fire gone out. The coldest day for a fortnight. Such is the luck. Read a little of the beginning of Quintilian’s Institute, of Eloquence2 but on the whole lost the Afternoon.

Evening. Finished the Canterbury Tales, and Fuseli’s Lectures. Finished also the translation by Pope of the Iliad of Homer with which I have on the whole been even more pleased than I expected. Read the Guardians.


Washington Allston’s painting, “Spalatro’s Vision of the Bloody Hand,” based on the 20th chapter of Mrs. Radcliffe’s The Italian, had been on public view at No. 2 Joy’s Buildings during January “for the artist’s benefit.” Painted for a gentleman in South Carolina, the work “from the circumstance of its size—it being but a cabinet picture”— had not been thought earlier “an object of sufficient importance to form of itself an attractive exhibition” (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 3 Jan., p. 3, col. 4). Appreciations of the painting, together with the passage of which the painting is an illustration, appeared in the same newspaper, 21 Jan., p. 2, col. 6; 25 Jan., p. 2, col. 4. The whereabouts of the painting when CFA first went to see it is not clear; see above, entry for 16 Nov. 1831.


Three editions in Latin of Quintilian’s Institutes, each having CFA’s bookplate, are at MQA: Institutionum oratoriarum, Venice, 1521; Oratoris eloquentissimi de institutione oratoria libri xii, Paris, 1549; and De institutione oratoria, 2 vols., London, 1822. Also at MQA are editions in Latin, French, and English bearing JQA’s bookplate. However, CFA at this time was using the edition of P. Burman, published at Leyden in 1720, which he had borrowed from the Athenaeum.