Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 12th.

Saturday. 14th.

Friday 13th. CFA


Friday 13th. CFA
Friday 13th.

Morning clear, but the day was cloudy with now and then a few drops of rain. I remained at home and passed my morning in reading Thucydides and the life of Pericles in Plutarch, which strikes me as rather unnatural this time. He ascribes motives of action to him worthy of the meanest Statesman and yet calls him the greatest. Even Thucydides who was opposed to him in the State, and who suffered from it, gives better and more probable reasons for his course of policy. Indeed Plutarch is a valuable writer for the temper which he usually treats things, but he is often incorrect and superficial in facts.

Afternoon, read the rest of Seneca upon tranquility. I am almost tired of him. He never varies from his strained, pointed and occasionally extravagant style. I stole an hour from him to read Sydney’s life and Apology. He is one of the principal martyrs in the cause of liberty. He seems to have been a stern republican in his principles and pretty consistent in the support of them. His views of Government I believe I shall read.1

Evening, my Wife and I went over and paid a visit to Mr. Beale and his children. Nothing of consequence occurred.


JA had among his books now at the Boston Public Library two editions of Algernon Sidney’s writings which contained lives of Sidney: Discourses concerning Government ... to which is Added, a Short Account of the Author’s Life, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1750; and Works ... a New Edition with Memoirs of His Life. Revised by J. Robertson, London, 1772 ( Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 230).