Morning a dull fog which terminated towards night in rain. John seems much oppressed by a cold on his lungs and awakened anxiety. This weather is of the worst kind for children, and always makes me feel a little melancholy. Office and thence to an auction where I made only one or two purchases for my Quincy house.
Nothing but a page or two of Sismondi which has been so broken as to make me lose much of it’s value. Home to Sophocles. Finished 399today the Oedipus, a master piece of tragic art. Masculine, simple and yet highly pathetic. There is nothing so worthy of study to form the taste as the ancients. Afternoon, Aristotle whose ideas upon Government are many of them strong and sound, but they are mixed up with strange fancies. Yet even he has the germs of much of our boasted modern discoveries. Evening, played backgammon and afterwards Potter.
Morning clear. Office where I was occupied but little. Read some of Sismondi’s Political Economy which appears to me to have in it some of the views I have been labouring elsewhere to find but they do not exist with the English writers who are general systematizers. I a little regret I have not been able to give to this work more studied and continued attention.
Home after lounging half an hour at Little’s bookshop. Began Sophocles Oedipus of Coloni, a play said to have been written by him at a very advanced age, and read in refutation of a charge that he had lost his mind.
Afternoon, Mr. Brooks called for me to go with him to Medford and I seized the opportunity to call upon Mrs. Adams who appears but little improved from when I last saw her. Returned to town to tea. Evening at home. Read four Cantos of Scotts Lay of the last Minstrel to my Wife. After which I read Potter. My boy John still unwell.
Morning cloudy with snow which surprised me. The contending powers of heat and cold begin to struggle during this month and make it the most uncomfortable of the year. I went to the Office, where I read some of Sismondi, and wrote a letter to Roger Jones Adjutant General1 and received one from my father inclosing the bond executed on his part.2
No public news excepting the developements of the fraud carried on in the Commonwealth Bank which exceed all hypothesis. Here is the key to the follies of the last two years. Yet how many men who are guiltless will suffer and how many of the perjured villains will go un-whipped of justice. This is life and as such we derive a lesson.
Home. Sophocles. Oedipus of Coloni, though apparently not more difficult it is very clear to me what a difference my College study 400which I looked down upon has made in this and the other. Afternoon, Aristotle, Politics in which there is much wisdom. Evening finished reading the Lay of the last Minstrel, a poem with much poetic fire, some invention, much sweetness and only disfigured by it’s tawdry display of hero Scotch freebooters as deserving of historical renown. Afterwards Potter’s Archaeology.
LbC, Adams Papers. The letter disclosed the family’s wishes about the disposition of Lt. Adams’ body and his effects.
JQA to CFA, 12 Feb., Adams Papers. The bond was necessary for CFA to undertake the administration of Lt. Adams’ estate.