Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Monday. 4th.

Wednesday. 6th.

132 Tuesday. 5th. CFA Tuesday. 5th. CFA
Tuesday. 5th.

Clouds which seem almost fixed above us and drop down from over weight every now and then a quantity of rain. Goethe upon the Last Supper of Da Vinci. I went to the Office where Mr. Dudley called and I settled with him the terms of a Lease. The other party did not come. I engaged to go out on Thursday morning, which my laziness repents. Journal, and Accounts, then to the House where I spent the time devoted to walking. It began to look a little more homish. Dinner. Afternoon M. Thiers. Review of Landor in the Quarterly and Edinburgh which dress him as he ought to be dressed.1

Evening, Fanny Kemble Butler’s Journal—A singular compound of good sense, high feeling and strong expression, with coarseness, trifling and eccentricity.2 She has excited against herself the whole tribe of Editors, in this Country a noisy and influential set. And much of the truth she tells will touch the sensitive far more than the severest censure. Such is the fate of the world. Man is a compound of quivering fibres and woe be to him who sets them in motion, against himself. My father has all his life encountered the bitterest hostility because he tells the truth, yet how contemptible it is to tell falsehood merely to sustain one’s self.

1.

Reviews of Landor’s Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen were in Quarterly Review, 30:508–519 (Jan. 1824); Edinburgh Review, 40:67–92 (March 1824).

2.

The publication in 1835 in London and then in Philadelphia of the Journal of her American tours in 1832 and 1833 by Fanny Kemble (now Mrs. Pierce Butler) was widely anticipated since the appearance in January in Boston and New York newspapers of extracts featuring her unfavorable impressions of American society and of anguished rejoinders attacking her ingratitude for the hospitality extended her. The attitude of those whose kindness to her had been repaid with ridicule may be represented by Philip Hone’s: “The remarks she makes on the private habits of persons who received her and her father kindly, and treated them hospitably, are all in bad taste. As a literary production it is unworthy of the character of Fanny Kemble, and its publication, now that she has become the wife of an American gentleman and is to remain among us, injudicious in the extreme” (Hone, Diary, ed. Tuckerman, 1:126). On the interesting sequel to JQA’s becoming aware of her account in the Journal of some of his remarks to her at a first encounter, see above, note to entry for 11 May 1833.