Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 4th.

Wednesday. 6th.

Tuesday. 5th. CFA Tuesday. 5th. CFA
Tuesday. 5th.

If one should judge of the month by the weather, one might readily suppose that we had committed an error in calculation, and that February was just beginning. The Thermometer was at zero this morning.

I went to the Office and was engaged as usual in accounts, diary and a little of Gouverneur Morris. Mr. Sparks is again at his tricks about 43the negotiation of the French Treaty. He seems determined to exalt Franklin and Deane at the expense of my Grandfather. Such is history. Even posthumous fame depends upon the miserable conceits of this or that prejudiced brain.1 I reflected upon this during my walk, and upon the stormy life led by my father and grandfather. They sacrificed much for the benefit of the Country, and the Country has in return held them to a far more severe account for their private faults than it has felt gratitude for their public services. That such a man as Jefferson should be an idol and my Grandfather detested—That Jackson should be lauded to the skies and my father persecuted is perhaps a hard measure of justice between the merits of the men.

Afternoon, finished Anquetil without regret. Began the Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz.2 There is a vast deal of knowledge of the world and profound remark in his book. Evening quiet at home. Burke on the Sublime.


On the Adams view of Jared Sparks’ bias revealed in his edition of the Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution and elsewhere, see vol. 3:160–161; 4:xii–xiii, 214–215. For JA’s accounts of his controversies with Franklin, his fellow commissioner, and with Silas Deane, his predecessor, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:304 ff., 345–350; 4:43, 68 ff. See also Adams Family Correspondence , 3:xxiii–xxv, 186–188, 229, 232, 394–395; 4:165–168, 173, 175, 180, 183–184, 189–190.


JA’s copy of Mémoires, contenant ce qui s’est passé de remarquable en France pendant les premières années du regne de Louis XIV by Jean François Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz, 4 vols., Geneva, 1777, is among his books now at MB. See Catalogue of JA’s Library .