Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

57 Saturday. 28th. CFA Saturday. 28th. CFA
Saturday. 28th.

The day was fine, but I concluded that I would not go to Boston today as I have this Job before me. I sat down accordingly and worked from eight o’clock until two very steadily at the Papers, though I did not appear to make any progress. The Papers are very much mixed, and as I am occasionally very much inclined to read over several interesting ones my course is stopped. An acquaintance with the incidents of his life embraces a knowledge of the history of the whole period. And I feel as if I ought to seize every opportunity of knowing facts relating to the times. The hours flew rapidly.

After dinner, I accompanied my father to Mt. Wollaston to look at the Orchard, and at his Plantations of Trees. He is making experiments upon the cultivation of Forest and Fruit Trees from the Seed. I have little faith in the possibility of his doing it, as his absence and other occupations prevent the necessary continuity of care. But it is with caution that I express such a sentiment. Found things looking pretty well in general. Returned home quite fatigued. Found there T. B. Adams Jr. who passed part of the evening. Little or nothing of interest. I read a portion of Grimm and my usual Numbers of the Spectator.

Sunday. 29th. CFA Sunday. 29th. CFA
Sunday. 29th.

Our Weather hitherto since our stay at Quincy has been exceedingly cool, and often unpleasant. Today it was clear and very warm—The Thermometer rising to over 80° of Fahrenheit. I attended divine Service with my Father all day. We heard Mr. Flint of Cohasset, the very dullest Preacher that ever existed. It passes my comprehension to understand how a man could so totally deprave1 what might be supposed implanted by nature, the power of delivering a man’s own words and ideas to advantage.2 This gentleman dined with us. He seems to be a Man of naturally good strong sense but rough as a block of granite unhewn.

I took the leisure time to finish the Oration against Piso. It is worth studying for those who feel disposed to deal in invective, but for my own part, I prefer the more moderate, and argumentative discussions. And I cannot get over the strong inconsistency of his subsequent conduct. For Piso and Gabinius both afterwards were defended by him. I also read Grimm. Mr. Degrand and Mr. Dodge, a reformed Consul at Marseilles, paid a visit here and took tea,3 otherwise evening quiet and warm. Read the Spectator as usual.

58
1.

Deprave as a verb with the meaning to corrupt or degrade seems to have been already by this date an archaism ( OED ).

2.

JQA pronounced the sermon delivered by Rev. Jacob Flynt a good one but “much injured by a sluggish and ungraceful delivery” (Diary, 29 May).

3.

Joshua Dodge, who had served during JQA’s administration and had been removed from his post at the beginning of the Jackson administration, was now seeking reappointment. It seems unlikely that an ironic note was intended in the use of reformed. CFA seems to have been using the word here and in the entry for 8 Sept., below, with the meaning, already archaic or obsolete, ordinarily restricted to the military: an officer deprived of or left without a command ( OED : reformed, 4).