Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 6th.

Thursday. 8th.

Wednesday. 7th. CFA


Wednesday. 7th. CFA
Wednesday. 7th.

I have begun by way of a little variety to read the Oration of Demosthenes accusing Aeschines on the matter of the Embassy to Philip. I did not think I should have begun upon him again, but the more I see, the more I am satisfied that the knowledge of the force of Eloquence is only to be got from a study of those specimens in which it is most displayed. I will get the mastery of the Greek Language if it can be done, by perseverance. Rode with my Wife as far as Brookline, making nearly six miles. She seemed to bear it pretty well.

At the Office, but Isaac Hull Adams soon came in to inform me that my Mother and Miss Roberdeau1 were in town at the Athenaeum Gallery. I went to see them and consumed a good proportion of the morning. My Mother informed me of the illness of the Judge my Uncle, and urged my going to see him. After leaving her I saw Mr. Foster and Edward Miller and their Account dissuaded me, for I can be of no use.2

Returned home and in the Afternoon read the Letters to Atticus which are pleasant but degrade the character of Cicero very much. It is impossible to deny it. He was a very weak great man and as for his patriotism it was not the patriotism of Cato. Read Bacon’s Essay on 131Empire in which he shows the same profoundness of mind which always distinguished him, mixed with a little of the weak prejudice of the age. Translated Cicero and read the Spectator.


Mary Roberdeau, of Philadelphia, had several times during JQA’s Presidential term paid extended visits to the Adamses in Washington. She had arrived at Quincy on 31 Aug. for a visit of some weeks. Her presence occasioned a number of evening gatherings that, because she sang prettily, were frequently musical. JQA, Diary, 3 Sept.; above, vols. 1 and 2 passim; LCA to Mrs. JA2, 27 Sept. (Adams Papers).


TBA had been in declining health for some months. Currently his illness was diagnosed as a nervous fever, characterized by involuntary convulsive motions of the limbs and delirium. Unexpectedly, his condition took a favorable turn on the 8th and he became for some time thereafter convalescent. JQA, Diary, 4 Sept.; JQA to JA2, 9 Sept. (Adams Papers).