Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 5th.

Wednesday. 7th.

Tuesday. 6th. CFA Tuesday. 6th. CFA
Tuesday. 6th.

A gloomy day. Besides the want of rest caused by the fretfulness of the Child, our anxiety about her was very considerable. She shows every symptom of illness and we feel it the more as we are so little accustomed to it. My time was passed at the Office in reading Mr. Clay’s Speech upon the Tariff which strikes me as rather above the usual character of his writings, and only defective in prudence.1 It took the whole of my time.

Afternoon. Read the first Book of the Aeneid with great ease and much pleasure. The pictures are graphic, the versification smooth and the language elegant. In short about as good as one can imagine a thing of the kind.

Evening. My Wife retired so early that I devoted two hours and a half to the diligent study of Montesquieu upon the greatness and the decline of Rome.2 A book containing a great fund of reflection. He studied History as it should be studied, for the sake of the general 255conclusions he could draw to instruct the human race. But though both in this work and in the spirit of the laws he seems to have much method, in fact his books are but bundles of thoughts irregularly spread.

1.

The speech delivered in the Senate by Henry Clay on 2, 3, and 6 Feb. “In Defence of the American System” was printed by the Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot on 6 March as a 4-page extra section. Also published separately, CFA had a copy in his pamphlet collection (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 326). See also, above, entry for note.

2.

In the edition of the Ceuvres of Montesquieu at MQA which CFA used (above, entry of 1 May 1831), “Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des romains, et de leur décadence” is in vol. 6.