Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 20th.

Thursday. 22d.

Wednesday. 21st. CFA Wednesday. 21st. CFA
Wednesday. 21st.

Morning cloudy and cold, threatening an unpleasant day, but it cleared away and was on the whole pleasant enough. My Wife is now suffering from a boil on her Nose. A thing calculated to try her patience considerably, though perhaps not otherwise serious.

I read in the morning the remainder of the first and part of the second Olynthiac, and was struck with the philosophical character of the remarks they contain. The want of this is an objection made by my father to the style of this Orator, but I cannot think there is any soundness in it. To be sure we never have the Dissertations which Cicero calls common places, but it is a question by no means settled whether they, however beautiful they may be, are not out of place. I also read with attention the numbers of the Federalist which treat of the powers conferred in the various Articles of the Constitution upon the National Government, all of which numbers strange to say, are the composition of Mr. Madison. It is perhaps a pity that Mr. Hamilton did not contribute one or two of these, as it is now highly desirable that the opinions of the framers should be known, and Hamilton was understood to differ somewhat in several doctrines from his coadjutor.

Spent half an hour in the Garden giving directions about the fruit for next year. Afternoon, reading the Letters to Atticus, and noticing the great trepidation in which the Writer was at the breaking out of the civil war, and his vacillation about the proper course for him to pursue. Had he possessed any military ability he might have settled the Republic himself. Every thing combined in his favour. A Consular Government, a Parthian invasion just alarming enough to authorize him to keep a large army on foot, and great personal popularity. But the vis was not in him. He was therefore floated about at the mercy of the winds which blew upon him from different quarters.

Evening, Mr. T. B. and Miss E. C. Adams came down, and we had music1 and a pleasant time. I continued the Review of Events in 1830 and read the Spectator. Also Bacon’s Essay on Plantations, which with some truth contains many errors.

1.

Piano and singing (JQA, Diary, 21 Sept.).