Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 19th.

Wednesday. 21st.

Tuesday. 20th. CFA


Tuesday. 20th. CFA
Tuesday. 20th.

Morning at the Office. I this day managed to accomplish all my usual work and make a little progress in Gibbon besides. I lament the misuse of my time very much. But this has been so often done and so little amendment has followed that I think I may as well say but little more about it. Took a walk with Mr. Peabody over Craigie’s Bridge to Charlestown and home.1

Afternoon, continued the reading of Spanish and dabbled a little with Italian. I think I have too many Irons in the fire, according to the old Proverb. But it is better to have too many than too few. It gives occupation and extends the means of enjoyment.

Quiet evening at home. I continued the lives of the Painters, read the Account of Blake who was little more than a Madman,2 and commenced that of Fuseli.3 Continued the Account of the French Revolution and began reading over Paley’s Evidences.4


Craigie’s Bridge, when opened in 1809, connected Boston with Lechmere’s Point in Cambridge. Some time after the bridge was built, a spur was constructed to Charlestown, taking off from the main bridge before it reached the Cambridge shore. The spur became known as Prison-point Bridge (C. H. Snow, A Geography of Boston, Boston, 1830, p. 125).


The account of William Blake in Cunningham, British Painters, 2:124–155, while it reveals a sensitivity to his genius, gives such emphasis to his madness and to anecdotes illustrative of it as to explain CFA’s observation.


In Cunningham’s British Painters, Fuseli’s life is at 2:223–273. CFA had two months earlier read a different life of Fuseli, which had not satisfied him; see above, entries for 17–22 Jan. passim.


William Paley, A View of the Evidences of Christianity, first published in 3 vols., London, 1794, went through 17 editions in the next 27 years. The reading of it was required in the junior year when CFA was an undergraduate at Harvard (above, vol. 1:12).