Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 16th.

Sunday. 18th.

Saturday. 17th. CFA Saturday. 17th. CFA
Saturday. 17th.

The morning opened cheerless and dark, but we established a good counterpoise to the effect of the weather without, by making comfortable fires. I went to the Office however and remained there until driven in by the cold.1 Performed my usual series of duties. Finished the first Philippic which I regard as a very powerful production. Short but clear and developing a policy according to the rules recommended by the Rhetoricians, in such a manner as to instruct, to please and to excite his Auditors. I am glad circumstances turned my Attention to it. Continued reading the Federalist and examined the Numbers relating to the dangers to the States. It is a little singular that the contingency likely to take place, was never foreseen by any of the Writers for the Federalist. They judged only from what they had seen, partial insurrections in particular States, but they did not extend their vision to what seems now as one of the most easily to be foreseen occurrences, the discontent of a State. The spirit of the reasoning however goes to show the total absurdity of the doctrine now advanced respecting the part that the States as separate Governments have in the original compact.

Afternoon, after an hour in the Garden, I continued the Letters to Atticus. The period of Cicero’s Proconsulship is on the whole one of the most creditable portions of his career. He abstained from the Commission of any of the enormities so usual with the Roman Provincial Governors. Yet so little had he in his mind the principles of true morality, which directs human conduct in the path of virtue, by motives drawn from its innate value, that in all the letters to Atticus, it is plain he regards the fame, the reputation of this world as the 139 image great object to be gained. Perhaps even this is a great deal, apart from the knowledge given us through the religion of Christ.

Read Bacon’s Essay on the true greatness of Kingdoms and Estates, and two numbers of the Spectator. Evening with the Ladies, read aloud from the Young Duke.2

1.

Until the building was torn down in 1869, a part of the second floor of the old farmhouse, located within the grounds and just to the north of the Old House, was known as “the Office.” The second floor had been added in 1798 to serve JA as an office in Quincy and to house his library. His books remained there until after JQA’s death.

When the building was remodeled to its new purposes an outside stairway was built to provide direct access to the office. At the same time a chimney opening and fireplace in the room were provided for. If the office, at the time of CFA’s use of it, was kept unheated, it was perhaps through fear of fire.

Cotton Tufts to AA, 31 March, 17 April, 12 May 1798; AA to Cotton Tufts, 16 April, 25 May 1798; Mrs. Richard Cranch to AA, 23 April 1799 [i.e. 1798] (all in Adams Papers). See also Charles E. Peterson, The Adams Mansion, Historic Structures Report, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1963 [typescript], p. 57–59.

2.

Benjamin Disraeli’s most recently published novel, London and N.Y., 1831.