Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Saturday 15th. CFA Saturday 15th. CFA
Saturday 15th.

Clear and cool. At home all day. Evening to see D. Greenleaf.

This was the first day that looked much like Summer and I enjoyed it although it was cold. When I remember the hot week of last year, this was a contrast. Busy at home in finishing a long law paper to be copied for my father and in writing over one sheet of my review of Tucker which did not satisfy me. I thought the portion I wrote was an improvement.


Read the remainder of Lessing’s fables and part of his dissertation upon fable. Also a part of Texier’s sketch of the Constitution of the ancient Roman republic.1 After dinner Lucan 8, 1–330, and working out upon my grounds. I felt very well all day which encouraged me much. Nothing in this world can be enjoyed without good health.

Evening called to see Daniel Greenleaf. My father accompanied me. Since last Summer Mr. G has lost his Wife and is now a lone person in the world, but he does not appear to mind it much. He showed me this evening the plan of the land called the three corner lot.


A. Adrien de Texier, Du Gouvernement de la république romaine, 3 vols., Hamburg, 1796.

Sunday 16th. CFA Sunday 16th. CFA
Sunday 16th.

Showers and wind. Usual exercises of the day. Evening at the Mansion.

It was quite dark this morning and we were up late. I devoted however my usual portion of time to my daughter Louisa and attended divine service where I heard Mr. Lunt in the morning from Romans 7. 22.23. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” A very good sermon upon the contest between duty and inclination which makes all the trial of life.

Afternoon, Mr. Whitney from 1. Corinthians 15. 53. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.” This gentleman is decidedly too old to preach. I could not hear him so as to fix any idea.

Read a discourse in the English Preacher. Proverbs 29. 25. “The fear of man bringeth a snare.” A good discourse by Dr. James Foster upon that servility to the world’s opinion which is rather a prevailing vice of our nation.

Finished Alciphron today, the ten last dialogues contain a close and powerful argument in favour of revealed Religion. On the whole the work is an able one though now probably very little read. In the Evening we went to the Mansion.

Monday 17th. CFA Monday 17th. CFA
Monday 17th.

Windy and cool. At home all the morning. Afternoon, Ride. Evening at the Mansion.


Our season has been by no means an agreeable one. An alternation of rainy and cold and boisterously windy weather make the external pleasures of country life much less than usual. We had a slight frost this morning.

I finished the substitute of the old Sheet for Tucker and then went down to the other house for the purpose of examining old papers. I am now out of occupation and this will not do for me. Indeed I suspect it is already the secret of the reaction that I feel upon my health. My doubt now is whether I will undertake the proposed plan by my father or devote myself to something else. In the meantime I am endeavouring to get rid of a parcel of papers that are embarrassing while left unexamined.

Continued Lessing’s Treatise upon Fable. He is too acute a critic, it becomes tiresome. He finds fault with every author for defining fable imperfectly when after all an imperfect definition is not a serious evil for such a thing. A fable is the illustration by anecdote of some moral lesson. That’s enough. Nobody fails to understand what a fable is who ever read one. Your acute critics get to be over verbal disputants.

After dinner, Lucan 8. 330–616. This book which gives the fate of Pompey is perhaps the best for vigor and harmony. I took a long ride accompanied by my Wife and we enjoyed the country round Milton much. Evening at the Mansion.