Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday. 4th. CFA Sunday. 4th. CFA
Sunday. 4th.

Morning very fine. My Wife was more quiet and better today. I am in hopes she will be making progress now. Worked on my coins until time for divine service which I attended and heard Dr. Frothingham preach from John 9. 41. “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” The discrimination between the ignorant and the wilful guilt is an ingenious one to draw and perhaps the most useful question of practical morals which can be agitated.

Afternoon Job 29. 2. “Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me.” A very beautiful moral discourse upon regret for the past, showing that it is inconsistent with the desire for progress which should animate men and can never be supposed to have existed in Jesus Christ the great exemplar of our faith. But this is no parallel for the consciousness of trial made life to him a suffering experience whereas to man generally the pleasures balance the pains.

Walk with my boy John, and Mr. Walsh dined with me. Read a discourse of Buckminster’s upon the epistle of Philemon, illustrating historically the character of Paul. Evening at home. Wrote a short letter 3to my Mother,1 and read attentively the seventh book of Politics of Aristotle.


Letter missing.

Monday. 5th. CFA Monday. 5th. CFA
Monday. 5th.

Fine day. Abby had a better night and is now I hope gaining. I went to the Office but did little or nothing. My constant and unavailing regret is for the loss of my mornings, the time when my mind is clearest and when success best repays exertion. But this is an evil incidental to my mode of life, and remediless.

Received a letter from General Jones respecting T. B. Adams’ affairs,1 which I no sooner got than I wrote to Mr. Harrod the necessary directions respecting the wishes of the family.2 Home. Sophocles. Afternoon, coins as usual. A puzzling though not disagreeable occupation.

Evening, turned my thoughts to reflection upon government and determined to read in connexion part of the Defence which I did begin with the Commentary upon Nedham.3


Letter missing.


CFA to Charles Harrod, LbC, Adams Papers. Adjutant General Jones having authorized the appropriate commander in the field to fulfill the wishes of Lt. Adams’ family as to the disposition of the lieutenant’s body and his effects, the accomplishment of Mrs. Adams’ wishes that the body and effects be returned to Quincy is here delegated to her brother in New Orleans.


Vol. 3 of JA’s A Defence of the Constitutions ... of the United States is devoted to commentary upon Marchamont Nedham (Needham), The Excellencie of a Free State, or the Right Constitution of a Commonwealth, first published in 1656 and reissued at the direction of Thomas Hollis, London, 1767. A presentation copy of this edition from Hollis’ heir Thomas Brand Hollis to JA is among JA’s books in MB.

Tuesday. 6th. CFA Tuesday. 6th. CFA
Tuesday. 6th.

A very lovely day. Office. My Wife appears really a little better today. Nothing new. I was engaged in accounts. Home, Sophocles with which I make some progress but not so much as I ought. Afternoon coins. Evening, Mr. Brooks came in to tea after which I accompanied him down to his son Edward’s where there was a family party.

Conversation with Edward about his course in the Legislature, with the results of which he seems to have better cause to be satisfied than I had expected.1 He has at least the satisfaction of thinking he has done some good.

From thence I went at nine o’clock to a party at Miss Scollay’s 4where I had been invited and an acquaintance formed. A small number but not unpleasant. Returned by eleven rather fatigued.


Edward Brooks had been a leading figure in the legislature in preventing action by that body to minimize or annul statutory penalties against failed banks. JQA was among those who predicted that the legislature would take such action and further that CFA would approve of it. CFA, in reporting Brooks’ efforts, took somewhat heated exception to JQA’s assumption (JQA to CFA, 4 March; CFA to JQA, 12 March, LbC; both in Adams Papers).