Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 19th. CFA Monday 19th. CFA
Monday 19th.

Fine day and warm. At home. Afternoon ride. Evening at the Mansion.

Upon entering another year of my life, it is usual with me to look back and take a reckoning from the past. Yet I have little or nothing material to record. My life is one uninterrupted series of blessings which I feel I do not deserve by any active merit of mine, but which it is my constant effort to make myself at least less unfit for. This is the motive for my endeavours to attain a respectable position which have not been entirely without success. Although but little seconded by any and very strongly resisted in secret by some, yet I feel encouraged to think that my labours have not proved altogether without use. Today I see the Emancipator, an Abolitionist Newspaper, republishes my Articles upon the commercial convention of the South with a commentary which is complimentary.1 My vanity must not be led away by these things. But putting a firm trust in divine providence to guide me in the strait path, I will endeavor to walk with fear and hope. In my family I have been favored more even than usual, as my Wife has regained a share of health greater than I could have anticipated after her severe reductions.

I was at work in budding much of my morning and spent the remainder in copying and Menzel. After dinner, seventeen sections of Tacitus book 14th, and a ride taking my boy Charley. I went down to the beach of Mount Wollaston. The sea, the sky, the sun and green earth all combined to make a picture of beauty such as is not often to be enjoyed by us, but when it is, the effect is exquisite. Lovely evening, partly spent at the house below.

282 1.

With the promise to follow with others of the series, The Emancipator (New York) on 8 Aug. reprinted from the Boston Courier, “The Southern Commercial Convention, No. 1.” The accompanying commentary read: “We are encouraged to find four or five influential papers awaking to the importance of this subject [“Slaveholding Plots and Pretensions”], and already daring to call in question the imprescriptible right of slaveholders to domineer over the free states.... In this work the Cincinnati Gazette, the New York American and the Boston Atlas have rendered a noble service.... The Boston Courier has at times allowed a tolerable discussion of slavery topics. And lately it has given room to a series of well written and sound principled essays.... We do not mean to be understood, however, as endorsing all the sentiments of the writer” (p. 1, col. 1–2).

Tuesday 20th. CFA Tuesday 20th. CFA
Tuesday 20th.

Beautiful day and warm. To town. Afternoon at home. Evening at the Mansion.

I went to town today where the principal matter of interest seems to be the news from England by the Liverpool Steamer. It is singular to observe the difference already existing in the relations between the new and old world from the adoption of Steam Navigation. The commercial world is blending into one and the political state of Europe bears more directly upon our’s. The age is one of movement through all of which I see nothing so clearly as the truth of the line of Bishop Berkley, “Westward the star of empire takes it’s way.”1

Home. Finished the fourteenth book of the Annals and read twelve sections of the fifteenth. Memorable is the history of Nero, a man naturally of good disposition but corrupted by power and by the appliances of vice, to so great a degree as to leave a name synonimous with wickedness and cruelty. Lovely evening at my father’s.


An Adams family misquotation of Bishop George Berkeley’s “Westward the course ...”

Wednesday 21st. CFA Wednesday 21st. CFA
Wednesday 21st.

Warm day. At home. Evening visit to Mr. Lunt.

This was of the hottest of the season. I passed my time very busily in copying and gave only an hour to my study of the subject of credit, and another to Menzel. We dined at my father’s but I read twenty sections of Tacitus nevertheless. On the whole a very industrious day.

The copying is the most laborious part and that which perhaps is the most serviceable to me. Yet it is a tribute due to excellence from her own family which she is not likely to receive excepting from me. Could I do any thing of my own that would do me more credit? I doubt. In the evening I went to Mr. Lunt’s. Dr. and Mrs. Woodward there. Conversation general and not interesting.