Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 18th. CFA Saturday. 18th. CFA
Saturday. 18th.

The weather was again quite warm and the air though abundant was sultry. I went to town and was busy much of my time in making up the deficiency in my Journal, occasioned by my absence. Then arranging all my Accounts. I called at Meriam and Brigham’s for the purpose of paying for my Wine bought lately,1 and attended a Sale of Stocks without succeeding in a purchase. It went however pretty low. Several at my Office. Mr. Jackson the Painter for his Money which I paid him, and hope this is the last heavy amount for which I shall be called upon, in his line. Mr. J. E. Smith came as representative of a Creditor of New’s Estate,2 and I paid out that portion leaving in my hands a mere trifle. I was delayed in this way for some time, and reached Quincy a little late.

Afternoon, occupied reading Cicero’s fifth Philippic which dissuades the sending a mission to Anthony and recommends the course he thinks suitable. He was right. The Counsels of the Conspirators were feeble, they had imagined nothing beyond the mere death of the Tyrant, expecting that when he was once out of the way, the Republic would come back of itself. But Cicero acted by raising opposing forces, not calculating upon a Union of these against himself. Took a bath with my father and I. Hull. Evening quietly at home. Read more of Emile and the Spectator.

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1.

Meriam & Brigham, wine merchants, were at 20 Congress Street ( Boston Directory, 1831–1832).

2.

Perhaps Joseph E. Smith, attorney, whose office was in Barristers’ Hall (same).

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

Morning cloudy, but the day extremely sultry, clearing away in the evening with a thunder shower. I attended Meeting all day, and heard Mr. Alger of Chelsea. He was my Classmate and for four years sat next to me. The idea of his character created at College would not leave, and I lost a moment in musing upon the changes of a few years. His Sermons were well enough though I was surprised to find how little his style had formed.1 The weather was so hot that I felt very uncomfortable in Church.

Filed a few Papers and read Emile, which I finished. Perhaps I may enlarge upon it tomorrow. Took a bath with my Father, and on our return found J. Quincy Jr. who spent half an hour, but was frightened away by the Shower. Read the Spectator.

1.

Horatio Alger, Harvard 1825, delivered his well-written sermons, according to JQA, “with propriety; but in the cold or at least temperate manner of the Cambridge School” (Diary, 19 June).

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

The Morning was very warm and clear, so that the riding was pleasant enough after the shower. I went to town as usual and was busy for an hour in performing my Commissions for various Members of the Family. Returned to the Office and passed some time in reading the Discourse of Agrippa to Augustus translated from Dion Cassius, and a part of that of Maecenas.1 The idea is that they gave the Emperor advice of an opposite character. One that he ought to resign, another that he ought not. They neither of them seem to me to touch the point in dispute—The particular character of the Roman People at the moment.

Returned to dinner, and after it, I read the sixth and seventh Philippics of Cicero, continuing his advice as to the course to be pursued with Anthony. They are all noble Monuments of his Patriotism, in the last hours of his life. He was one who battled with the times, and if he had not the Sternness of ancient Roman virtue, it was because the age did not admit of it. Cato was not so useful a Citizen, though of a more unbending disposition. Rome was degenerate.

Evening very warm and without air. The Mosquitoes were very troublesome. I read Dummer’s Defence of the New England Charters2 and the Spectator.

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1.

The two orations on monarchy were taken from the 52d book of Dion Cassius’ Roman History; they appear in vol. 8 of Bibliothèque de l’homme public as “Discours d’Agrippa et de Mécène à Auguste.”

2.

Defence of the New England Charters by Jeremiah Dummer was first published in London in 1721.