Christmas day and a very stormy one. It did not prevent me from going to the Office as I considered that staying at home was impossible from the danger of smoke in my study in such a day. I was entirely uninterrupted and passed my time in examining the sayings of the seven wise Men found in Enfield’s History of Philosophy and copying them with my own reflections attached to each.1 They appear to me to embody much real wisdom. I also wrote to my Father a letter which engrossed all the rest of the time left to me.2 The afternoon was also spent in copying the same, and in reading some few Pamphlets connected with the History of the Revolutionary Struggle. This took up all the Afternoon.
Evening passed partly in reading one of Jouy’s publications3 with my Wife in which however she did not take so much interest as I hoped. We were interrupted by Edward Brooks who again came in and talked very pleasantly during a part of the evening. He has latterly come here a great deal, and I am very glad to have him. For he talks pleasantly enough. I finished a volume of my Catalogue this evening, and read two Numbers of the Tatler.
Certain of the apothegms of the so-called seven wise men of Greece were entered by CFA in a commonplace book originally used by GWA (now MGWA/9 in Adams Papers). To each he added a paragraph of commentary or reflection; to the whole he gave the title “Elements of Knowledge.” This was the same title which GWA had given to the entries he had made in the commonplace book, and it is clear from CFA’s note between GWA’s entries and his own that he intended his to be a continuation of his brother’s and something of a tribute to him:
“This volume is one of the remain-389ing memorials of an unfortunate brother, and presents at its commencement one of the best specimens of his mind within my knowledge.
O! si sic omnia.Had perseverance only been his to fill the sketch he was so fully able to lay out, perhaps he would still have been among us, our pride and support. But since it was not the will of Providence that it should be thus, all that remains to me is to benefit as much by his good purposes as I can, and supply the deficiencies which in him prevented their execution. I therefore adopt here all that has been inserted and shall continue the extracts, varying only my method of making them as I think may be most advisable. Boston, Decr. 25th 1830” (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 295).
Copies of a number of works by Victor Joseph Etienne deJouy are in MQA, particularly those which are descriptive of countries or cities and in which the central figure is a solitary or wanderer.