Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Thursday. 20th.

Saturday. 22nd.

Friday. 21st. CFA Friday. 21st. CFA
Friday. 21st.

Morning cloudy with an occasional dropping of rain which did not amount to a shower. I rode to town and passed my morning indolently, part of it at the Athenaeum Gallery where I was present at the sale of Doughty’s pictures.1 They did very well on the whole. Paintings are things which require a very highly cultivated state of Society and a long established taste in the wealthy. We are as yet but little advanced in these matters. Money has not been long in any hands. I also passed some time in finding one of my father’s Tenants, out of whom I extracted his rent. This is at least something for my visit.

The whole town was alive with the expectation of seeing the President of the United States. General Jackson has been prodigiously successful in his excursion this Summer from Washington. His Popularity has appeared unbounded even in the strong holds of opposition. There is a cause for this. But where it lies I do not know. He has served his Country no more usefully than a thousand others, but he has the prestige of military glory which dazzles all mortal minds. The art of killing is prized higher than the art of vivifying. My father who was his competitor for the Presidency and a man of incomparably superior character, yet carries with him perpetually a load of unpopularity. He knows none of the arts of conciliating. And he relies too much upon the extent of his own powers to flatter by reposing confidence in others. These are useful lessons to the mind that will improve them. Public 111favour is a very fascinating thing, but what wise man would place his happiness in it. How much better to resort to less stimulating pleasures.

My Afternoon was passed in reading Mirabeau whose book I finished. It would have been as well, if closed with the first volume. I must now do something more useful. Threatened today with head ache and indigestion, but it passed away. Evening at home. Read two more admirable papers by Cumberland upon the Christian Revelation.

1.

Thomas Doughty, of Philadelphia, the well-known landscapist and lithographer, had taken up residence in Boston in 1832. Sixteen landscapes by him were offered for sale (Groce and Wallace, Dict. Amer. Artists ; Columbian Centinel, 21 June, p. 3, col. 7).