Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 28th.

Tuesday 30th.

Monday 29th. CFA Monday 29th. CFA
Monday 29th.

A sultry day with the wind from the south but it did not rain. I remained at home all day and occupied myself as earnestly as I could. Read Livy, several chapters of which were very interesting. The Sicilian campaign of Marcellus and the origin of all the depredations which made Rome splendid at the expense of the world. Hannibal fought a brave battle for the supremacy, and failed only by the obstinacy of the Romans as a people. Where did this come from and how did it vanish? Montesquieu has attempted to resolve these questions, as I think with but partial success.

I was very busy writing and hammered out a second Article which as I think is better than the first. This seems to be always the case with me that my ideas clear as I go on. And I am the more disposed to do so as I have an opportunity which I want of explaining over again my own opinions.

The afternoon was devoted to the letters of my grandmother in which I found some very interesting facts, particularly two which lay open much of the secret history of the time. These are that the famous Journal which Hamilton made so much use of was originally intended as a private paper, and the other that a motion to censure the Ministers for not regarding their instructions was supported by three men, Madison, Hamilton and Wilson.1 Gorham Brooks and his Wife came out and took tea here. Evening Mr. T. Greenleaf and his daughter passed an hour.


CFA seems to be referring to AA’s letter to JA of 28 April 1783, although Madison’s part in the attempt to censure is not mentioned there; the letter is printed in The Book of Abigail and John, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, and Mary-Jo Kline, Cambridge, 1975, p. 346–348. See also JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:41–43.