Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 17th.

Wednesday 19th.

Tuesday 18th. CFA Tuesday 18th. CFA
Tuesday 18th.

A thick heavy drizzle. I went to town notwithstanding and was occupied as usual in the performance of commissions and in a visit to the Athenaeum. Home bringing to Mrs. T. B. Adams’ Miss Julia DeWint. Afternoon, reading. Evening at home.

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I called at the Athenaeum for the purpose of procuring for my father Mr. Cousin’s Report upon public Instruction in Prussia.1 Saw Mr. Brimmer’s late present to the Athenaeum of expensive works of engravings.2 Read the Newspapers which are now full of the result of the late election in Maine and the consequent abandonment of Mr. Webster by the Atlas in Boston.3 Strange things take place in politics.

Read of Lucretius book 3. 633–800. And observed for some time an eclipse of the sun, through a cloud which was sufficiently thin to make it perceptible without obscuring it too much. How much one of these events brings to the mind the grandeur of the Universe. These orbs revolving in space all in their order without interference and no more permitted to us to know than they do so. Mr. Price Greenleaf spent an hour with us in the evening.

1.

The stimulation of JQA’s interest in the Report by Victor Cousin may derive from an occasion noted in the entry for 25 Sept. 1836, above.

2.

During 1838, George Watson Brimmer gave to the Athenaeum his extensive collection of books on art; it formed the nucleus of the institution’s fine arts library (Mabel M. Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, Boston, 1940, p. 128).

3.

The Atlas, following the poor showing of the Webster-aligned whigs in Maine, announced its preference for William Henry Harrison (17 Sept., p. 2, col. 1).