Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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.

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

Fine weather. I went to town this morning. My ride was somewhat longer through the little green lane and over the Neck. I think this little place is one of the prettiest in the vicinity of Boston. It has the marks of extreme cultivation and the houses are both neat and ornamental. At the Office, but as John wished me to perform a Commission for him I thought I might as well do it today as any day. Accordingly I set off with Mr. Peabody, who has just returned to town, and we walked to Haggiston’s Greenhouse at Charlestown, a small inclosure sheltered by a hill in which he raises various kinds of fruit and flowers. I gave my directions about the Strawberry Vines and took some of the fruit as a specimen. Returned to town just in time after having had a pleasant time.

I went back to Quincy directly. Afterward, I read Seneca finishing the book of Consolation to Helvia. I did not go on but wrote a little upon my work. It progresses slowly and is not much bettered by these breaks. Quiet evening at home.

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

Fine morning. I went to Boston. Very busy all the time in finishing my Account. I accomplished it however and sent with it a short letter.1 My father is so much engaged now that he will probably look at it a moment and then put it on file forever. I had one or two short interruptions of different kinds. Deacon Spear called to receive the Money for the new Church that is building.2 On the whole I worked faithfully. Mr. Child came about the Boylston Market. A Meeting of 322Directors this afternoon. I felt unable to attend so I asked him to make my excuses. Returned to Quincy.

Read in the Afternoon, the book of Consolation to Polybius. It shows Seneca under the torture of exile, abandoning his philosophy and his self-respect. Stooping to flatter without minding the terms. It has been thought that this is not a genuine work, but I think from the internal evidence that it is. Some passages of it are admirable if generally applied. Evening, I walked up to call upon Mr. Miller who was again not at home and then passed an hour at Mrs. Adams’s.

1.

LbC in Adams Papers.

2.

On JQA’s pledge of a contribution toward the construction of the new Episcopal church in Quincy, see entry for 8 Dec., below.