Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 17th.

Sunday. 19th.

Saturday. 18th. CFA


Saturday. 18th. CFA
Saturday. 18th.

My Record of today can have but little of interest in it. I pursued my reading of Gibbon without material interruption. Finished the fifth volume and the Roman Empire under Arcadius and Honorius. No letter from my father. His occupation in the House now employs him so much that he will not give me a syllable even upon the most necessary topics. My Mother writes occasionally.1

Afternoon quiet at home. Finished the Oration for Cluentius, which on this reading strikes me as about the summit of this kind of Oratory. The vigour and yet the flow of the language is admirable. I wonder if I could form to myself any thing like the same style. It would be worth all the gold in the world.

Evening quiet at home. Finished the Bible. We have been reading the Chapters of Revelation. Of which neither she nor I can make any thing. Part of it certainly betrays ignorance of the doctrines now received of the Constitution of the Universe and no apparent light to supply it’s place from above. It makes the sun and moon and stars much more tributary to the earth than their relative size and importance in the Creation would seem to justify. I must confess it looks to me much more like the vision of a heated brain than the natural result of the mild and heavenly doctrine and practice of the Saviour. In him there was no rant, no extravagant visions, every thing is adapted to reason and to the conduct of life. Perhaps this single point is one of the greatest in which he can be contrasted with all mere men who have arrogated similar powers. They all more or less display the weak parts of the human mind. An imagination inflamed into wild enthusiasm, and showing itself in visions and ravings. He on the contrary works miracles and preaches Peace. Finished Hunt’s book. And Began Rose’s translation of Ariosto.2


CFA had received on the day before, LCA’s most recent letter (11 Feb., Adams Papers), in which she reported JQA well but “overwhelmed” with the business of the House.


Orlando Furioso. Translated into English verse. With notes by William Stewart Rose, 8 vols., London, 1823–1831. The copy at MQA has CFA’s bookplate.