Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday 26th. CFA Tuesday 26th. CFA
Tuesday 26th.

Fine day. I concluded to remain very quietly at home as it was likely 320to be warm. I returned to the study of Thucydides which my late work had put a stop to. Continued the first book but I find I must not wear out my patience upon him as it only serves to retard my progress from understanding him less.

I attempted to do a little also towards methodizing rather more the Papers of my Grandfather. I came across many very curious and interesting letters in the process. It is much to be wished that these were put into a condition more likely to be durable. Yet my father’s inclinations and occupations lead him in any direction rather than in this.

Took a bath. The water was cold. I find this to be occasioned by the comparative state of the atmosphere. Afternoon, occupied in reading Seneca’s third book upon anger. A world of good advice upon the means of checking it. Took a ride with my Wife and quiet evening. My brother’s child being quite sick creates some uneasiness.1 Otherwise pretty comfortable.


Since arriving at Quincy with her grandmother and during the whole of her stay there Mary Louisa suffered from a painful and stubborn rash and swelling that was particularly acute in the area of the eyes. LCA wrote twice or three times a week to JA2 or Mrs. JA2 throughout the summer providing details on the illness (letters in Adams Papers; see also entry for 4 July, below).

Wednesday. 27th. CFA Wednesday. 27th. CFA
Wednesday. 27th.

Day cloudy and threatening rain. Nevertheless I went to Boston accompanied by my Wife who was anxious to see her sister, Mrs. Frothingham. At the Office, thence to the House upon search for some Papers that are necessary for the beginning of the Quarter. Upon my return, I thought I would prepare myself for this, by draughting as much of the general account as I could at this time. So that I should be able to finish all without any difficulty on Friday and Saturday. It is somewhat doubtful to me whether it is expedient to send it immediately as my father is so engrossed by the business before Congress that he will not probably look at it. This with a few Commissions and a slight examination of the great Pamphlet upon the Bank constituted nearly the whole of my occupation.

Returned home, though not quite escaping a Shower from the South. Afternoon, finished Seneca’s third book de Ira. Quiet evening. I worked in the Garden somewhat.

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

Fine day. I remained at home and resumed my writing. I gave in the first place a deliberate review to what I had done, and then I sat 321down with the intention of writing a correct copy. But as I went on, I found myself gradually altering the disposition of my materials until the new draught became a very different thing from the old one. I flatter myself it is better, this is one of the numerous self deceptions which writers always experience.

Afternoon. Read the larger part of Seneca’s book of Consolation to his mother Helvia. Written to sooth her grief for his exile. The severity of this punishment is comparatively unknown to the moderns. Rome was the centre of every thing prized by its Citizens. It seemed to them to be the only place worth living for as it was the mistress of the world. Hence the complaint of Cicero and Ovid and the Consolation of Seneca.

Quiet evening at home. Mr. Beale called in for a short time.