Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

Morning clear with a fine wind and pleasant. My Wife did not seem quite so well as usual, but I conclude that this must be as she approaches her term. I have felt more anxiety today however, and wish that some person was with her to relieve me in case of responsibility.

After reading Aristotle as usual, I went to the Office and had a very quiet and uninterrupted morning. I spent it for the most part in reading my Grand Father’s Defence, the first Volume of which I finished. When we consider that it was written previous to the formation of 101our Federal Government, when an experiment on a grand scale was not at all so certain of success as we are apt to think now, the earnestness with which certain principles are pushed was not superfluous, nor was confidence in the theory ill founded. As my Man Servant is absent, I was obliged to go and deliver my Notes myself, for a Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market.

Returned home, and after dinner read Cicero’s Epistles which continue to interest me. I read today the complaint of Metellus Celer, and Cicero’s reply which is pretty tart. It is a little remarkable that so powerful a mind should have so much weakness. He was timid, and though he knew the right, he did not always strive to convince himself that it ought to be pursued. Evening at home. Took a short walk with my Wife, read more of Pye’s Commentary and closed with the Spectator.

Saturday. 30th. CFA Saturday. 30th. CFA
Saturday. 30th.

Morning clear. I read a portion of Aristotle and went to the Office as usual. First, however, executing a parcel of Commissions which I am now charged with owing to the absence of my Man. Having forgotten the second Volume of my Grandfather’s Defence, I thought it a good opportunity to finish getting rid of the Papers belonging to my late brother and to R. New. To read the first always makes me melancholy. In looking over the Letters congratulating him upon his successful Oration delivered when only twenty three years of age,1 I was struck with the difference between his actual fate and that which was predicted of him. He might have accomplished all and more. For in some respects he had great advantages. His personal character was more amiable, and formed connections easily which are of great service to a man’s success in life. I have often thought that had we been able to form one character out of the advantageous portions of our two, Success would have been certain. But this would have been asking too much. We must submit to the will of the Deity who probably knows best what is for our good.

Afternoon at home, reading Cicero. Came across the famous Letter to Lucaeius about History. Which is amusing enough to be sure. My Mother came to town with Mrs. Nowlan in consequence of my Note of this morning.2 I am glad of it as Company for my Wife. Evening, quiet. Read Aristotle by Pye and the Spectator.


The 4th of July oration at Quincy delivered by GWA in 1824 was attended by JA (see vol. 1:222–224, 267). Of the letters of congratulation to him, only that of LCA has been located (22 July 1824, Adams Papers).


The note is missing.