Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Friday 24th. CFA Friday 24th. CFA
Friday 24th.

Cloudy, cold and rainy. At home all day. Evening at the Mansion.

This was my day for going to town but the weather seemed so very unpleasant that I decided to postpone it. Sat down quietly instead to write upon Mr. Tucker, but I must have overtasked myself heretofore or there is some other reason, for the extraordinary indolence which comes over me. I cannot write as I would. Perhaps it will come to me presently.

I read a little of Lessing’s Notes of a Memoir of Sophocles which are uncommonly adroit, and show how much may be made by an ingenious man out of very small materials.

Afternoon finished the second book of Lucan’s Pharsalia and read 240Wellwood’s Preface to the translation made by Rowe.1 Read a little of Grimm.

Evening passed at the house below. There is little or nothing stirring to excite any interest. A season of profound peace is now in the Country, such as we have not enjoyed for a long time, and the people appear to be striving to repair losses as earnestly as possible. Even politics are dull.


Nicholas Rowe’s translation of the Pharsalia, London, 1720, is at MQA.

Saturday. 25th. CFA Saturday. 25th. CFA
Saturday. 25th.

Rain but afterwards cleared up. To Boston. Afternoon out. Evening at the Mansion.

The morning opened with heavy clouds and a thunder shower in the midst of which I went to town accompanied by J. H. Adams. But it cleared afterwards. Time occupied in making calls of various kinds and commissions. I had in fact little to do. I had hurried my work so much before quitting the city that there is nothing left. No doubt in a week or two, it will begin again. To the Athenaeum to get some books for my father. Return.

The afternoon was so fine that I was tempted to spend it out in pruning my trees and examining the different things that grow about here. They look promising now, but there are few things more productive of disappointment than arboriculture. Evening at the mansion.

Sunday 26th. CFA Sunday 26th. CFA
Sunday 26th.

Lovely day. Services as usual. Evening at the Mansion.

I passed the morning, devoting the usual portion of time to Louisa, and reading the two first dialogues of Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher. This is quite a celebrated work of Berkeley to prove the truth of Religion.1 As yet I find little that appears to me like serious argument in the Dialogue. Alciphron is made to talk for the purpose of being confuted.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Morison of New Bedford preach from Acts 17. 23. “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To the unknown God,” and also from Luke 15. 23. “Let us be merry.” One of my uncontrollable fits of abstraction prevented me from deriving as much good from these Sermons as perhaps I ought to have done. I regret them even when I find myself unable to correct myself of them.


Read a discourse of the Reverend John Balguy upon the conduct of the Bereans in being convinced of the truth of Christianity by examination. Acts 17. 11. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” This finishes the third volume of the English Preacher. Evening at the Mansion. Mr. Price Greenleaf was there. Dull political conversation.


Bishop George Berkeley, Alciphron; or the Minute Philosopher, Containing an Apology for the Christian Religion, 2 vols., London, 1732.