Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 21st.

Sunday. 23rd.

Saturday. 22nd. CFA Saturday. 22nd. CFA
Saturday. 22nd.

When passed at home, my days have so much uniformity that I think it hardly of use to sit down and record them. Indeed to a man not engaged in great affairs, it is rather absurd to keep a Journal. He has nothing to write about but the reflections of a solitary whose influence on the world is next to nothing. The principal advantage resulting from the habit is derived in early life when habits are forming. We learn method and facility in composition. In these respects I am very sensible that I have been greatly benefitted. But the time has gone by. And I now do from the force of habit which has been formed. Such is man always, and hence the origin of a thousand customs which long survive the causes that created them.

I read Horace, Neal’s Second Volume, and finished Hutchinson’s book. On the whole I feel for the Author. His career was that which many men pursue. Begun with brilliant prospects and ardent hope, continued in the belief that views of personal interest and public convenience could be combined and when the moment of being undeceived came, choosing conscientiously perhaps but not fortunately, he passed the remnant of his life in melancholy exile from the scene of his early promise. He has left a book as little tinged with bitterness as could be expected, but yet disclosing in every page the rankling of the arrow in the wound.

Afternoon, read one or two miscellaneous papers of d’Alembert.1 One upon Rhetoric and Oratory describing what so many learn and teach, yet so few practise with success. Another upon Christine of Sweden, a singular character. I was thinking why it was that she and Charles 5th. never received much applause for their resignation of their Crowns, while Washington’s retirement has been so much lauded. The world will look into motive. In the former they assign as cause, 112caprice, in the latter, patriotism. Prehaps this might be further examined. Evening quiet at home.

1.

No copy of d’Alembert’s works survives in MQA nor among the Adamses’ books at MB and MBAt.