Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. 28th. CFA Thursday. 28th. CFA
Thursday. 28th.

Morning foggy and thick, but it cleared away and became a mild and beautiful day. I went to the Office and passed my time in reading Monsieur Meisel. This book is after all a mere compilation of examples in the various kinds of Diplomatic Writing. I also did a little in the 350way of writing. Being dissatisfied with the old Exordium of my Article upon Graham, I wrote a new one. But my Father keeps the thing itself without any mercy. I feel discouraged about all this, but still it is worthwhile to try a little longer.

Afternoon, Cicero de Oratore in which I made some progress. The discussion turning upon the qualities necessary to an Orator Cicero gives it as his opinion that an Orator should be acquainted with all the Sciences. But I do not think his argument applies more to Orators than People of every Class. Knowledge is valuable in all it’s shapes. It is power and can only apply more to Orators than other Classes when we define Oratory to be Speech. The style of the Book is fascinating.

I forgot to mention in its place that Mr. Brooks and Horatio dined with us. Evening, Corinne, and finished Mason’s Life of Gray. On the whole an amusing work. Yet only two Poems have immortalized his name. The rest are not of much interest. I read part of the first Book of Paradise Lost1 and Two numbers of the Tatler.


Two editions of Milton’s Poetical Works, both JQA’s, are in MQA (2 vols., London, 1731; 7 vols., London, 1809). Paradise Lost and his other poems are also in vols. 10–12 of Johnson’s Works of the English Poets.

Friday. 29th. CFA Friday. 29th. CFA
Friday. 29th.

Morning bright and exhibiting all the beauty of Winter commencing. With us this Autumnal Season is the finest in the year. It braces and enlivens. At the Office as usual where I consumed an hour in looking over New’s Papers and destroying them by hundreds. I then read a little of Mr. Meisel upon the diplomacy of Europe, and spent an hour in Accounts. But on the whole my Morning cannot be said to have been profitably used.

Returned home and occupied myself in the Afternoon though with some interruptions upon Cicero de Oratore. I was surprised to find that I could ever have passed over this book so utterly unconscious of it’s worth. The recommendations it contains, the advice it gives, and the example it sets, have all been lost upon me until now. And every day now puts me in mind how much time has passed, that the season for action has come and I am barely opening the preparation. These thoughts and feelings discourage me, they throw a damp over my power of exertion which is I am afraid ominous of the result to take place. But I will persevere in my present course if for nothing else, at least for the pleasure the knowledge gives me.

Evening, Corinne with my Wife. After which Edward Brooks came 351in and sat an hour very pleasantly indeed. I finished afterwards the first book of Paradise Lost, and read two Numbers of the Tatler.