Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

100 Tuesday. 4th. CFA Tuesday. 4th. CFA
Tuesday. 4th.

Day clear but uncommonly cool for the Season. Not having any thing particularly to call me to town I remained quietly at home. Pursued my regular avocations, which are now, first my Diary, then a few Odes of Horace, a Chapter of Neal’s History, and the rest of the time upon Hutchinson.

This is a tolerably good employment of the morning, but I have still to call myself to Account for my Afternoons. This was taken up partly in reading the maxims of William Penn1 from which it seems to me Franklin has borrowed much of his worldly wise system without adopting the highly religious tone which accompanies and moderates it, partly in drawing up Indexes to my Father’s Pamphlets,2 a never ending business. His Library has cost me an immense deal of toil. Will it ever repay me? That is a question.

In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Danl. Greenleaf called and paid a visit. The latter has just been in town to the wedding of a niece and returns full of talk. I read only my numbers of the Observer.


JQA’s copy of Penn’s Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims Relating to the Conduct of Human Life, Phila., 1792, is in MQA.


In the Adams Papers (M/CFA/30) is a 28–page list in CFA’s hand with the heading “Catalogue of Pamphlets.” The date of the latest imprint entered, 1833, suggests that the list was made in or just after that year. It seems likely that it is the “Index” to which CFA here refers. In the Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 326, however, on the evidence of the handwriting and the lack of any statement of ownership by another, the list is mistakenly identified as a catalogue of CFA’s own collection. CFA’s low opinion of the value of such ephemera (below, 7 June) makes it unlikely he would have formed such a collection himself.

Wednesday. 5th. CFA Wednesday. 5th. CFA
Wednesday. 5th.

Morning fine but it changed soon after to quite cold. I remained very quietly at home. Read the Carmen Seculare which is a beautiful specimen of the Religious Lyric Poetry of the Ancients. Ben Jonson has done something in the way of successful imitation. I also read over the first Satire and the first Ode—In which many of the ideas are similar. My next study was Neale of whom I read about one half the first Chapter in the reign of Elizabeth. I also read some of Hutchinson’s History and was just in a train of interesting research upon the first principles of the division between the parties at the Revolution when the call for dinner intervened. One thing is to be noticed, how much my Grandfather’s statements made at an advanced age are corroborated by Hutchinson’s third volume, printed since but written at the time.


Afternoon, I cannot yet bend my mind to occupation. But I have effected much in thus employing my mornings. My character is now so formed that my happiness depends greatly upon the occupation of my time in a satisfactory manner. Evening quiet at home. Madame de Sevigné and the Observer.