Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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).

Monday. 30th. CFA Monday. 30th. CFA
Monday. 30th.

Morning in continuation of the preceding day. The weather somewhat warmer. I felt however obliged to go to Boston. Perhaps the heat is least perceptible in riding. For a Gig is sure to create a draught. Arrived uncommonly early and went to the House to perform some Commissions for my Wife and myself. Thence returned to my Office, and passed a large portion of time in writing my Journal which these absences make somewhat laborious. Little or nothing else was done except one or two extravagances such as buying a Cask of Claret Wine, a temptation the weather made it impossible to resist. Returned to dinner. The afternoon was so warm and my father’s room so heated by his neglecting every precaution, that I did nothing in assorting, and only read very superficially some sections of the Oration against Milo.

This was early interrupted by preparation necessary to attend the Wedding of Miss A. S. Adams to Mr. Angier, which took place this evening. She has been quite sick for some time and it has been doubtful whether she would be able to be married at all at present. But the matter was now set at rest. I think this will be better for the whole family. The number present at the ceremony was large, being nearly all the Quincy acquaintance, the Boston relations, and Mr. Angier’s family. Mr. Whitney and Mr. Stetson both officiated. We remained until nine o’clock, when having wished the Bride all happiness in her new State we returned home, for myself I can say pretty tired.1 Read two Spectators.

1.

The wedding is described in greater detail by LCA in a letter to Mrs. JA 2, 2 June (Adams Papers); also in JQA, Diary, 30 May.

Tuesday. 31st. CFA Tuesday. 31st. CFA
Tuesday. 31st.

Another extremely warm morning. The Summer commences with some fury. I felt myself obliged however to go to town, and accordingly started at my usual hour. Went to the Office and was busy there for some time, after which I did some Commissions. I sold a part of my Cask of Claret, as I found myself unable to persuade my father to 59take it, and I bought bottles as well as some strawberry Plants for my Father. The Sun was so scorching as to make moving about very disagreeable.

Returned to Quincy to dine, and as it was scorching in my fathers room, I read Cicero downstairs. My progress was not remarkable. I accomplished one half of the Oration for Milo, the whole being carefully reviewed. I have never experienced so much inconvenience from heat as now. Probably, my system has got braced to the prevailing cold which makes me feel this so much more. Nothing of any consequence took place.

In the evening there was a fine breeze which cooled us very much. I conversed with my father, principally upon the subject of the present excited state of things, as they regard Masonry. He has partaken of late, rather largely of this heated feeling, and I tried as mildly as possible to put a rein over indiscretions, which it must be confessed he will commit at times. I found it dangerous to press the subject, and as I was not disposed to fret myself any more than I could help, I broke off and read two Spectators.