Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 19th. CFA Sunday. 19th. CFA
Sunday. 19th.

The Weather was hazy and portended snow which however did not begin to fall until evening, at least in any quantity. I attended divine Service at the Church in Chauncy Place and heard Mr. Frothingham deliver two Sermons upon what he called the doctrine of Compensation, or the principle by which suffering or privation in one respect, is made up to us by enjoyment or possession in some other. This is in 385some lights a useful as well as a fascinating doctrine, but will bear application better to past than to future events. A man who shall rely upon happiness merely because he is suffering in misery will be likely to have that misery only increased by the bitterness of disappointment and will be led to forget that permanent dependance which he can justly place only upon the future of a beneficent Deity. This world is one of trial, in which the wicked often succeed, and the good are tried severely, so that compensation to either can only come from the final doom in another and a better world. But I don’t design going so deep into this matter. I read a portion of Drake which I found trifling, and some of Hutchinson that convinces me the English Pamphlet is wrong, and some of Enfield’s History of Philosophy upon the Greek Schools that was interesting, and some of Corinne, and Baroness Minutoli, after which my Catalogue, and the Tatler.

Monday. 20th. CFA Monday. 20th. CFA
Monday. 20th.

Morning cloudy and cold. Snow though not in large quantities had fallen during the night. I went to the Office and what with my Journal, my Accounts and the Newspapers I did not leave to myself a great deal of room for what I proposed doing which was to make my affidavit of the sale of the real Estate of Robert New. Being unwilling to have this hang on my mind any longer however, I worked away until I got it completed just ten minutes before the Court adjourned. It was no matter, I got it finished and filed today which puts an end to that business.

After dinner, with a single interruption of a few minutes by an applicant for one of the Tenements, I passed my time in reading Cicero’s Brutus in which I made some progress. He gives here some Account of all the persons whom he introduces into his dialogue de Oratore, and this has been much the most interesting portion of it. Mr. Frothingham called but for an instant.

Evening, reading Corinne with my Wife the termination of which we are approaching. I afterwards closed the Recollections of Egypt, a woman’s book, though not altogether without interest. Continued my Catalogue and read two numbers of the Tatler.

Tuesday. 21st. CFA Tuesday. 21st. CFA
Tuesday. 21st.

Winter in Mr. Sparks almanack1 is said to begin today, and certainly the weather looked not unlike it when we arose. The snow fell thick and heavily, but it did not last more than two or three hours. 386At the Office as usual where I again spent a good deal of time in mere conversation to no useful purpose with my neighbour Mr. Peabody. I did afterwards find a useful hour in reading a book obtained from the Athenaeum called acts relating to the Colonies.2 This assumes the English Ground and it must be admitted reasons it well. Took a walk, in the usual direction of my Tenements, where I had a short and sharp conversation with the occupant of the first one. Then I returned home.

The Afternoon passed in a very rapid reading of a considerable portion of Brutus, with which I was better pleased. I think my acquaintance with the Latin Idiom is in some respects,3 I am getting to that perfection of being able to take in the sense of a sentence often at a glance, which is the only way of enjoying a language. Evening, some more of Corinne, and having no regular book, I read to my Wife from a novel recommended to her as a good one, Pride and Prejudice.4 It is not bad. Pursued my Catalogue and read two Numbers of the Tatler.


Jared Sparks, comp., American Almanac, Boston, 1830 et seq.


[Jonathan Lind], Remarks on the Principal Acts of the Thirteenth Parliament of Great Britain ..., Vol. 1. Containing Remarks on the Acts Relating to the Colonies with a Plan of Reconciliation, London, 1775.


Thus in MS; a word is doubtless omitted.


First published in 1813.