Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 28th.

Monday. 30th.

Sunday. 29th. CFA Sunday. 29th. CFA
Sunday. 29th.

Day pleasant and rather warm. Time occupied in copying a letter from my father,1 and reading a little of Seneca whom, for the last Week, I have rather neglected. A discussion of the old subject of happiness which the Stoics would place in a perfect superiority to human feeling, and the idea of virtue. The thing is impossible and if it was attainable it would not make happiness—Such is human nature. Man is so much the creature of circumstances that he can never mark out for himself a time or way to be happy. The Stoics pursue the negative principle, but many a man feels at his heart without any need of reasoning long over the matter, that the absence of suffering from any cause does not satisfy his aspirations.

Mr. A. Bigelow of Medford preached a Sermon upon the doctrine of grace in the morning, and upon the perfect and upright man in the afternoon.2 His matter was good, although I had such excessively drowsy fits that I was very much prevented from listening to him. This somnolent habit of mine, I fear, grows upon me.

Evening, called with my father, mother, and Wife at Mr. D. Greenleaf’s. After our return I had an agreeable literary conversation with my father.

1.

The letter CFA copied in JQA’s letterbook was that to JA2 of 27 July (see above, entry for 26 July, note).

2.

Rev. Andrew Bigelow also dined with the Adamses (JQA, Diary, 29 July).