Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 10th.

Sunday. 12th.

Saturday. 11th. CFA Saturday. 11th. CFA
Saturday. 11th.

Day mild. I went to the Office. Engaged in accounts and in reading the North American Review. This Journal is carried on with a good deal of ability, yet when one looks back to reflect what reputation it has added permanently to itself, what sort of a work it is to refer to and read over, one is apt to cry out vanity of vanities. The matter is pleasing and now and then interests but there are no profound views. None of that wisdom of ages which will come down from the book shelf a hundred years hence oftener than it does now.

Walk. Looked into the Newspapers and was amused with the manner in which my father’s Address is treated by the Masons.1 Afternoon reading Lord Bacon whose Sylva Sylvarum is rather dull. There is much of loose experiment in it and all of the unfinished discovery of a powerful mind divided into too many channels. Such a giant few have seen in the mental world before or since. Evening. Virgil, and Miss Edgeworth’s Ormond which is moral as well as charming. Mackintosh.

1.

The view taken in the Centinel of the Address published in the Advocate was that it was “of great length, ... a gratuitous offering, and has a tendency to perpetuate animosities” (11 Jan., p. 2, col. 6). Occasional sniping was followed in the Centinel for 29 Jan. (p. 2, cols. 1–3) by a five part “Address ... done into English,” in the style of Hudibras. It concludes with the speaker (JQA) saying: “But there’s one path both safe and clear, Make me your Governor next year. But do your best or do your worst, I’m John the son of John the I.”