Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 19th.

Wednesday. 21st.

Tuesday. 20th. CFA Tuesday. 20th. CFA
Tuesday. 20th.

Morning clear, warm and very pleasant. Occupied myself this morning in my usual way. Read a large part of the first Olynthiac of Demosthenes, in which he tries to encourage the People of Athens in their struggle with Philip. He uses in this a figure which struck me before in the Oration for the Crown. Here it is amplified—The pains and aches which remain concealed in a healthy body, but break forth again upon the Attack of any new Disease. Is not this coming close to the border of the Rule as to unpleasant objects?1 I also read attentively the Numbers of the Federalist written by Mr. Madison upon the powers and nature of the Government of the United States. They certainly qualify my Father’s position in his late Oration and increase my doubts formerly entertained of the solidity of it.2 I mean to say that though I think the argument he urges is eminently necessary for the safety of the Union, yet that it was not at the time of the formation of the System the intent of its makers to rest upon it.

Afternoon, read a part of the letters to Atticus, but I am so little provided with the necessary Notes and explanations here, that I do not take their force so fully. Bacon’s Essay on Discourse, which contains a great deal of sense, as usual. This little book might be made a practical guide for human conduct though not always for good. The wheat must be winnowed.

Evening at home. Conversation with my Mother. I communicated to her my father’s proposition and talked with her over it. I have reflected upon it considerably. Yet it is hardly of importance until we shall see what a month may bring forth. The objections I find rest in my political opinions, and in my father’s decided temper which leads him to neglect tact, and make the prospects of the paper’s support suffer. These may be avoided if I can obtain the management of i.e. obtain management for the fiscal concerns and confine myself to the literary portion of the Paper in the editorial department. On the other hand the advantages are numerous. It will give me an employ-142ment, at once creditable and useful, perhaps profitable, and it may enable me to obtain reputation sooner than in the beaten road.

Read the Affairs of 1830 in the Cyclopedia, finishing the first Volume, and the Spectator.

1.

That is, “subjects”?

2.

See above, entry for 4 July.