Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 16th. CFA Wednesday. 16th. CFA
Wednesday. 16th.

The weather suddenly changed during the night, and it was sultry with a Southerly wind and rain in the morning. I went to the Office. A letter from T. B. Adams, in reply to my semi-annual statement and mentioning his departure from Camp Armistead to Fort Mitchell in Alabama. He seems to be likely to pass pretty thoroughly over the Southern Country.1 I read Lingard and wrote my Diary as usual. Nothing new. Walk and home.

Afternoon, resumed the second Philippic of Cicero which I had begun some time back. It is a powerful specimen of invective although far too personal for what we should call good taste. Yet I am at a loss to know why if a man confines himself to speaking truth of an adversary he should not as well expose private as public vices. The latter are a natural consequence of the former. The only obstacle is the difficulty of avoiding slander in the mouths of the unscrupulous. In other respects, the power of Cicero is no where more visible than in this 12Oration. It’s vehemence is charming. That is the study for a writer who desires to assume the grand style.

Evening quiet at home. Read more of the Margravine. A curious book for trifling. Resumed my German which my studies had broken off.


While Thomas Boylston Adams Jr., a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was in service and after his father’s death, CFA acted as his financial agent; see vol. 3:2, 337, and Adams Genealogy. The letter is missing.

Thursday. 17th. CFA Thursday. 17th. CFA
Thursday. 17th.

I cannot say that this cold morning was passed in the most advisable manner. At the Office until eleven o’clock industriously occupied upon my Accounts and occupations as usual. I then went out to pay a few bills which had been presented to me. This led me to make one or two purchases—Among others to call at J. D. Williams and buy some pretty dear Sherry Wine. I was engaged in the amusement of tasting of various kinds until my head was quite light. Thereupon I went to the Athenaeum and passed the time commonly devoted by me to walking, in conversation with the Librarian.1 As I was coming home, I met Mr. Hallet who inquired of me respecting my numbers.2 He encouraged me a good deal about them. I told him that if he wished, I would write the rest and send them. This made me late at home. Afternoon, continued my reading of Cicero’s Philippic which I shall finish tomorrow. And I began again Anquetil in whom my late occupations have stopped my progress. In the evening my Wife had a family party. Edward Brooks, Gorham, P. C. Jr. and Mr. Frothingham with their Wives, Julia Gorham and her brother. It was pleasanter than usual, broke up early and after they went I continued Anquetil.


Seth Bass had been made librarian in 1825.


Benjamin Franklin Hallett, editor of the Boston Daily Advocate and antimasonic leader (vol. 4:419).

Friday. 18th. CFA Friday. 18th. CFA
Friday. 18th.

Morning somewhat milder. I went to the office. Little or nothing material. Read some of Lingard’s Charles the second, wrote Diary and busied myself without much interruption in my common, every day occupations. So quiet and settled is my mode of life that nothing happens commonly to interfere with it. I believe I ought to be abundantly satisfied that I am so entirely free from anxiety of any kind. I am satisfied, abundantly satisfied. When I consider how many young men 13there are who have no resources of mind and an overabundance of wealth, I congratulate myself upon those I have been so fortunate as to acquire.

Took a walk. Afternoon, finished No. 9 on Anti Masonry. Reviewed the three on hand and concluded to send them. Mr. Hallett seems to think they may be useful enough to collect and publish if I finish them. Certainly no indolence of mine shall stand in the way. I have done expecting much from my pen. I once was vain of it. Mortification ought to make me humble. Evening quietly at home. Finished the first volume of the Margravine’s Nonsense.