Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 5th. CFA Tuesday. 5th. CFA
Tuesday. 5th.

Morning dark and cloudy with very heavy rain which continued until noon when it cleared up. I continued my review of Aeschines for one hour after which I went down to the Office. Little or nothing material took place, and I pursued my studies with considerable alacrity. Read this morning a portion of An Analysis of Montesquieu’s great Work upon the Spirit of the Laws.1 I have read this pretty thoroughly in extenso, but have no objection to refresh my memory with a short review of the same. Mr. Champney my former Client called and I discussed with him the propriety of his paying me my Fees, he left me as People usually do making fair promises.

Returned home and in the Afternoon sat down to the Oration for Flaccus which I finished and began that for Sylla. The first of these is in some parts dry, in others very imperfect and therefore difficult to trace the meaning, but on the whole it is worth attention as a defence against a mass of witnesses testifying very strongly to a given point. 23Evening, Parry, after which I read Hearne and my usual Numbers in the Spectator.


In Bibliothèque de l’homme public, vol. 5, with CFA’s marginalia.

Wednesday. 6th. CFA Wednesday. 6th. CFA
Wednesday. 6th.

Morning clear but cool. I passed an hour as usual in reading Aeschines. As I have already said so much about these, perhaps it will be as well in future to omit any particular mention of it. I then walked down to the South part of the City and obtained the Dividends due upon the various Stocks belonging to my Father &ca. This I continued in State Street and gleaned all that was receivable. It is a little remarkable that for the first time my expectations are pretty thoroughly fulfilled. I have no reason to complain of my own Investments. I was busy nearly all the rest of the morning drawing up my Accounts and so had very little leisure to do any thing else.

Miss Abby S. Adams sent for me about her Accounts and I went home where I paid her, the usual Interest and rather more than a third of her Principal.1 Then a short walk. Afternoon passed in continuing the Oration for P. Sylla. Each of his Orations after the Conspiracy, is full of his wonderful works, and was no doubt in some degree the cause of his subsequent difficulties as it disgusted many with his egotism. Yet he introduces the subject very naturally, especially in this Oration.

In the Evening I finished Parry’s second Voyage, and Hearne’s Journey. They make both of them links and important ones in the chain of testimony respecting the Northern Ocean. Two numbers as usual of the Spectator.


Abigail S. Adams’ receipt for $1,125 dated this day is in the Adams Papers.

Thursday. 7th. CFA Thursday. 7th. CFA
Thursday. 7th.

This was the day assigned according to custom, to the observance of a day of fasting.1 A practice which has gone out of vogue with the occasions that called it forth. Perhaps in producing humility it may produce benefit, but the doctrine that the mere act of self mortification is meritorious in the sight of God, is somewhat exploded. Surely he is not disposed to look harshly upon the moderate use of human enjoyments.

I attended Divine Service in the Morning and heard Mr. Frothingham deliver a Sermon upon the comparative merits of the past and the present. It was written with unusual clearness even for him, and 24though I believed the doctrine to be totally erroneous, yet I was rather more interested by the errors than usual.

After service, I took an agreeable stroll. The weather was warm and the grass was green, this being the day usually devoted by the boys to their games, the Common was filled with them and presented a gay and beautiful scene.

Afternoon, read Cicero and reviewed the Oration for Sylla. One thing is remarkable in all his works, that a second reading is better than the first. My Wife was not well and our reading progressed very little in the evening. I read the Spectator, and finished the Appendix of Parry.


Boston Daily Advertiser, 3 March, p. 1, col. 1; 7 April, p. 2, col. 2. See also vol. 3:209.