Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

January. 1833. Tuesday. 1st.<a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DCA05d003n1" class="note" id="DCA05d003n1a">1</a> CFA January. 1833. Tuesday. 1st. CFA
January. 1833. Tuesday. 1st.1
Boston

Another year. To moralize upon time is stale and old fashioned enough. Yet it has its advantages. Montaigne in the Essay I was reading on Sunday remarks that time is that of which men are always lavish upon all matters, while they grudge money and other things not half so valuable.2 Most persons keep no account of it. Day passes after day constantly adding to the sum of human existence without creating any excepting perhaps a momentary emotion. A Diary like this which I keep forces me to more continual reflection. It reminds me of what I am, how little I have done and how much I ought to do. It brings me back to feelings of humility when I have been elated by pride, and it soothes me in moments of depression by recollection of hours sometimes well bestowed. My Diary is my companion. I unburthen my sorrows, and communicate my joys, I express my hopes and display my fears. And when days such as this intervene, I gain an opportunity of looking back to see how all these have been excited since the preceding similar Anniversary. My lot has hitherto been an extremely favoured one. I have enjoyed life without any effort. I have received benefits which no act of mine has deserved. My sense of duty has been efficient only in the passive character of a monitor of what not to do. If in the course of the year that now opens to me, more decided action may be required of me, I have only to hope and trust that I shall not then be found wanting. And that my Diary may assist in sustaining me through the hours of trial.

The day was warm and rainy. I went to the Office and was engaged in business affairs all the morning drawing up my books and accounts. A tedious concern but one which must not be avoided. Dependence is at all times unpleasant. The older a person grows, the less he feels disposed to submit to it, provided his temper is of the kind which mine is. Small as my opportunities are of doing any thing for myself, I yet hope to improve them to the utmost. May Heaven smile upon my 2efforts. No walk owing to the weather. Afternoon at home.3 Continued Anquetil4 but finding myself drowsy, I determined to resume my Anti Masonry. So I wrote over one half of No. 8. and as I think improved it.5 Evening for once quiet at home. Malvina, Burns.6 Afterwards, German.

1.

The following entries through 31 Dec. 1833 derive from the volume of his diaries which CFA designated as No. 7 (Adams Papers serial listing: D/CFA/9; Microfilms, Reel No. 61) and which contains entries beginning at 1 Jan. 1832. For a description of this DiaryMS, of the other MSS from which the printed text of vols. 5 and 6 derives, and of CFA’s diary-keeping methods, see the Introduction; also vol. 1:xxxviii–xl; vol. 3:xxxix–xl.

2.

CFA had renewed his reading of Montaigne’s essays the week before (vol. 4:191, 428–429).

3.

After his marriage to Abigail Brooks in September 1829 CFA’s daily routine during the winter months in Boston each year was seldom varied. Mornings were spent at his office, 23 Court Street, afternoons at home at 3 Hancock Avenue (vol. 3:2).

4.

L’esprit de la Ligue by Louis Pierre Anquetil was undertaken on 29 Dec. (vol. 4:431).

5.

On the series of articles setting forth his antimasonic position which CFA was currently writing, some of which had already been published in the Boston Daily Advocate and the rest of which would appear there after a delay of several months, see vol. 4:404–431passim and below, note to entry for 21 May 1833.

6.

CFA had Mme. Cottin’s novel, Malvina, and Lockhart’s Life of Robert Burns on loan from the Boston Athenaeum (vol. 4:408, 419, 439, 441).

Wednesday. 2d. CFA Wednesday. 2d. CFA
Wednesday. 2d.

This was what is commonly called Election day. That is, the day upon which the newly elected Government of the State goes into operation. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied in settling up Affairs, making out new Accounts for the next year and finishing off old ones. It took up nearly all of my time. Took a walk. The day was lovely. If our season of last year was a cold and dreary one, that of this has been as extraordinarily mild. My walk was a very pleasant one. Gorham Brooks and his Wife dined with us. He was pleasant enough.1 And our little dinner went off without difficulty. I should very much like to see company at my house on easy, social terms. Afternoon, passed in reading Anquetils Account of the Ligue. His is very much the same story, I have seen at second hand in Lingard.2 Not much to the credit of the French character. Evening, quiet at home. Finished Malvina, which is a gloomy book enough. Mem. not to read any more of Madame Cottin. Burns’ Life, afterwards, more of Wieland.3

1.

On ABA’s brother and his wife Ellen, see vol. 3:259 and Adams Genealogy.

2.

History of England; see vol. 4:370.

3.

Probably a selection from Geschichte der Abderiten; see vol. 4:418.

3