Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 24th.

Wednesday. 26th.

Tuesday. 25th. CFA Tuesday. 25th. CFA
Tuesday. 25th.

It rained so very heavily nearly all day that I did not pretend to execute my intention of going to Boston. The time was passed far more profitably in my Office which is becoming quite an agreeable place to me from it’s quietness and from my having it entirely to myself. I read Horace’s Art of Poetry, which the more I go over the more I admire, Neale who becomes interesting as he progresses in the Stuart Reigns, and Tudor’s Life of James Otis.

Reading Hutchinson has given me quite the spirit of investigation into our early times, and I have already cleared my notions wonderfully by the exercise. James Otis was an uncommon man. He certainly did much to excite the popular feeling and bring forward the Revolution. Mr. Tudor has written a book which posterity will value. It was made up partly from reminiscences by my Grandfather which might have been lost if it had not been for its composition.1 Our Revolution is becoming more and more, daily, matter of history. Contemporaneous testimony is now to be found only in the books. I must study out the history fully.

Afternoon, Read more of St. John’s Letters. There is a very pretty style of sentiment running through their composition. Alas! that in the rough features of this world one can hardly recognize the resemblance. Suffering so often treads upon the heels of pleasure that one 114cannot ever feel over confident even of the happiness of the moment. If it were not so, the world would be too fascinating. Mad. de Sevigné and the Observer.


In The Life of James Otis, Boston, 1823 (two copies of which, each with CFA’s bookplate, are in MQA), William Tudor made use of the letters of reminiscence JA had written him in 1817 and 1818 and which were published in 1819. See vol. 3:334, 388; below, entry of 12 July. CFA later took a more measured view of Otis and of Tudor’s Life of him than he does at this time when he was accepting without question JA’s estimate. See the discussion by L. H. Butterfield in An American Primer, ed. Daniel J. Boorstin, 2 vols., Chicago, 1966, 1:236–238.