Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Thursday. 16th.

Saturday. 18th.

Friday. 17th. CFA Friday. 17th. CFA
Friday. 17th.

Very cool for the season with a brisk North Wester. I read Schiller until late, then to the Office and House to superintend Repairs. Received a letter from my father being the last of the series he has sent me.1 In it he alludes to his own situation and defends himself for his return to public life. His reasons are certainly strong and as applied to him convincing but I can only regret the more that they should be so. His mind is of the fiery, ambitious stamp impatient of ease and preferring to it the most violent commotion. To him action is necessary.2 The more is the pity, for the close of such a man’s life is rarely dignified. We must submit with patience.

My morning was much cut up. Returned home and found the family under some uneasiness from Horatio Brooks who had suffered somewhat by being thrown out of a chaise on one of the Bridges. He came home but was lying down. He has behaved himself with such propriety that I regret the incident as well on his own account as that of his father whom such things severely mortify. Such is the fate even of the happiest. Such are the counterbalancing evils attending the great privilege of children. When I look round me and think of my own, how I look up to the Deity alone for protection for them and myself. There is not much on earth. Afternoon, Grimm and Thiers whose first Volume I finished. Evening instead of German, the Autobiography of Sir Egerton Brydges, a curious book.3

1.

12 April (Adams Papers). For the major issues covered and a listing of the letters in the series, see note to entry for 11 Feb., above.

2.

“The Series ... has given you a full view of the political position in which I am placed by the Events which occurred during the late Session of Congress, and a prospect of that which I may be required to occupy ... at the next Session.... I do not dissemble to myself that my lease of natural life is drawing to its close; and that it is time for me to be thinking of retirement from public life altogether. The reasons which induced me to return to it still subsist with diminished force, and I am not disposed to regret a determination from which have resulted the Bank investigation report of 1832, the reports of the Committee of Manufactures of 1832 and 1833, the suppressed deposit Speech and the La Fayette Oration of 1834, and the unanimous vote of 2 March 1835. These are things all of which I expect will have some duration in connection with my name.... If there is not that in those documents which will preserve them to future times, there is nothing durable in my intellectual powers. And if that be so the time that I have spent as a member of the House of Representatives would not have been better spent as a private citizen. It certainly would not have been spent so comfortably to myself, for the interest which I have taken in the transaction of the public business, has contributed much to the enjoyment of my life, and has served in some degree to assuage the 119sense of the repeated and heavy calamities with which it has pleased heaven to afflict me, and which if my heart had been entirely disengaged from external objects of excitement, might have utterly overwhelmed me.”

(JQA to CFA, 12 April, Adams Papers .)

3.

The London, 1834, edition was borrowed from the Athenaeum.