Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 9th. CFA Thursday. 9th. CFA
Thursday. 9th.

The morning was clear and warm, and a tolerable specimen of fine weather at this season of the year. I went to town as usual, though I felt still a little unwell. It is a little singular that the indiscretion in eating of Sunday and Monday should have so affected my system but so it is. My time was taken up in going to my House, obtaining some books for my Father, and in doing some business for him, which engrossed a great deal. Mr. Degrand called upon me and spent some time on the subject of the business. A very thankless task. And all these commissions make me feel sick of my residence at Quincy. Returned to dine.

Afternoon passed in reading Cicero’s Oration for Rabirius which I finished, and on the whole I think it not equal to the expectations raised at the commencement of it. But the great imperfection seems to be in the defective state of the Manuscripts which stops the pleasure 65of reading. I also spent a short time in reading Mr. Jefferson’s Letters and arranging them as usual. Afterwards Grimm, whose criticism upon Emile is to my mind exceedingly judicious. Evening Judge and Mrs. Adams called. I read Grimm and the Spectator.

Friday. 10th. CFA Friday. 10th. CFA
Friday. 10th.

Morning warm and dry. I was a little delayed by my fathers wishing to go with me, and he is rarely ready at his time. We started at last and reached town rather after my usual hour. Found on my table the decree of distribution upon the Estate of R. New and sat about a pretty heavy work of arranging the particular Dividends of the Creditors. As the rate is 27 Cents and 318/1000, this is not an easy process. As my father wanted to converse with Mr. T. Fuller1 I went to the Boylston Market to write out the record of that Meeting last Monday. I could not find the Clerk so that my Walk was useless. Obliged to return and hear a discussion of Freemasonry which I did not relish, and therefore sat about writing my Journal. Perhaps the record of yesterday can speak for itself, as to the confusion necessarily resulting. We returned at the usual time.

Afternoon, read the Oration for Ligarius. These are beautiful pieces of composition. They seem to flow from the power of Oratory in its highest perfection. No labour but the fruit of a habit. Although not equal to the early works as specimens of art, yet they will always be the most agreeable to read.

Assorted papers also. But this evening was selected for the purpose of giving a little party to the Bride, Mrs. Angier. The Quincy people generally were here and the two Mrs. Everetts from Boston. It went off well,2 and I went to bed fatigued after reading the Spectator as usual.

1.

Timothy Fuller, counselor and figure in Massachusetts politics, is identified at vol. 2:152. Currently he was a leader in the Antimasonic party and had presided over the recent state convention in Faneuil Hall. Fuller’s purpose in arranging the meeting with JQA was to secure JQA’s permission for him to publish JQA’s letter to him attacking Freemasonry; to secure JQA’s support for the movement to block the nomination of Henry Clay for the Presidency; and to engage JQA actively in antimasonic affairs at the national level. JQA withheld his consent to all (JQA, Diary, 10 June).

2.

The party which JQA and LCA gave was held in the Old House. The guest list and some description of the event are in JQA, Diary, 10 June; LCA to Mrs. JA2, 12 June (Adams Papers).

Saturday. 11th. CFA Saturday. 11th. CFA
Saturday. 11th.

The morning promised to be so warm that I thought it inexpedient to go through the process of travelling to Boston. Remained busy at 66home in arranging Papers to which however I do not devote my whole attention. I am sick of the business at present. The Letters are however many of them very curious, especially those from Mr. Jefferson most of which have been published. I also read more of Rousseau’s Emile which I like less as I progress. The man shines out at every page. A maker of paradoxes. A fashioner of gaudy instruments, bright to the eye, but utterly unsafe to use. The beauty of his style makes the wildest things easily swallowed, and the occasional clearness with which he lays down truth, in order to apply it wrong.1

My father, Isaac Hull and I went to bathe at Noon. The water was cold owing to an Easterly wind and Spring tide. Afternoon, read the Oration for Ligarius which may be included and make part of the subject commented upon yesterday. The flattery is rather gross, for Caesar after all was guilty of a high crime, yet one feels half inclined to give up the principle or at least to wink it out of sight. Evening, Grimm, and the Spectator.

1.

Sentence thus in MS.