Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 17th.

Saturday. 19th.

Friday. 18th. CFA


Friday. 18th. CFA
Friday. 18th.

Morning quite clear. I went to the Office after passing an hour in reading Buffon’s Natural History of Man. Occupations as usual. I finished Jean Bodin. This Author is rather injudiciously praised. He has a good many things that are valuable but I cannot see that his System such as it is, has any merit. He talks about absolute Sovereignty as being necessary to a Prince, and although he qualifies this remark by confining him to the performance of just things, yet he seems to leave the Judgment of what is just and unjust entirely to him. We know from history that even with good dispositions power produces rather strange effects. I also read the Account of the resources of France in the Sixteenth Century. A valuable paper though showing the deficiency which existed at the time in the knowledge of Political Economy. Also the Essays and the Prince of Machiavel—These forming the first volume of the Bibliotheque.1

Took a long walk as far as Dorchester Heights and South Boston. What a change since the time of my boyhood. All this was Common 12and quite desolate.2 Returned home and passed the Afternoon, in reading the Orations against Rullus upon the Agrarian Law. I did not complete the Second. Evening, Captain Parry until interrupted by Edmd. Quincy who spent the Evening. After which, very Drowsy. Read the Spectator.


CFA’s annotations accompany the “Etat du commerce en France,” “Discours de Machiavel sur la Ie décade de Tite-Live,” and “Le prince de Machiavel.”


South Boston was reached by the older South Bridge and the Free Bridge, opened in 1828. Formerly a part of Dorchester, the area was annexed to the city of Boston in 1804 at which time ten families were resident on it. By 1830 the population had grown to 2,865; numerous factories and commercial establishments had been built and several public institutions constructed. See C. H. Snow, A Geography of Boston ... and the Adjacent Towns, Boston, 1830, p. 117–123, 126–127.