Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 22d.

Friday. 24th.

Thursday. 23d. CFA


Thursday. 23d. CFA
Thursday. 23d.

Morning cloudy with an Easterly Wind which became a rain Storm for the day. I concluded to remain housed today and pursue the train of my Quincy pursuits. A great part of the morning taken up in as-74sorting Papers of no interest. I will therefore take occasion to finish my reflections upon Emile, though I have already given so much in detached passages as to leave little to be said. Rousseau’s peculiar character violently influenced all his Works. He had made the Reputation he prized, by a bold and Paradoxical Essay, and being thus made aware that his natural bias was precisely that with which the world was disposed to be pleased, he gave it scope and spread it more or less through all the rest of his Writings. The great principle he seems to have adopted was, that All civilized systems and habits in Life were corruptions from the natural happy condition of man. This foundation being good for nothing, of course all his building upon it is useless. His education he boasts is a natural one. He says what he will do, shall be what the Child shall take, and not what he will say. He will lead by acting upon his senses and not upon his mind. But he forgets that the foundation of man is principle engrafted upon habit, and that few opportunities can be found of acting directly upon the interests of children compared to the number requisite to fix an impression permanently in the mind. Withal, there are a multitude of maxims interwoven with the system which are undoubtedly excellent. A child cannot be governed merely by reasoning, it’s principal guide must be example, and steadiness.

I read a part of Horace’s Art of Poetry with Hurd’s Commentary wherein he endeavours to prove it a connected piece of instruction upon the Roman Drama.1 It has generally been thought an easy way of throwing out loose maxims. Whatever it is, It is a gem.

Afternoon, read the Eleventh and Twelfth Philippics of Cicero, upon the course of Dolabella and the appointment of Cassius to command against him; and the new Legation to Antony. He excuses himself because he is afraid. I do not doubt he was. But there is a principle in the human character which will never admire though it may not disapprove such a reason. Quiet evening at home. Read two or three Pamphlets on the Question of Taxation, without profit, and the Spectator.


An edition of the Epistolae of Horace with an English commentary and notes by Bishop Richard Hurd, published at London in 3 vols., 1776, is at MQA.