Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 21st.

Friday. 23d.

Thursday. 22d. CFA


Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

The weather again severely cold. The Season is unprecedented. We have had more sharp weather during the month of December than during the whole of our ordinary winters. This comes at a time of scarcity in fuel and of extraordinary sickness, so that on the whole the suffering in the poorer classes must be severe.

I went to the Office and passed my time in drawing up my second Article upon which I sickened a little of the whole job. Davis does not publish and the thing is getting stale.1 It takes me a good deal of thought to write a Paper of this kind and I get no pay in money or in reputation. So it is. My efforts all turn out poorly yet I will not be discouraged. Went to the Athenaeum, and suffered more on my return home than I have before this Winter.

Afternoon, Read Cicero’s De Fato, which is a species of supplement to the rest, as a refutation of the Stoic doctrine of Fate. Perhaps this is the most puzzling point human ingenuity has ever exercised itself 203upon. This has come down to us only with a different name. The question of predestination and free will amounting to about as much.

Evening, my Wife spent downstairs and I read to her part of Harriet Lee’s Canterbury Tales.2 Afterwards Homer’s 12th Book of the Iliad, a little of Gibbon and the Spectator.


The extensive space being devoted in each issue of the Boston Patriot to the race for the Boston mayoralty, preliminary to the election on the 22d, crowded out all communications on other subjects, including CFA’s first number on the Treasury Report. It was published on the 24th; see the entry for 17 Dec., above.


Harriet [and Sophia] Lee, The Canterbury Tales, 5 vols., London, 1797–1805. All were by Harriet Lee except “The Young Lady’s Tale” and the “Clergyman’s Tale.”