Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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.

Sunday. 12th. CFA Sunday. 12th. CFA
Sunday. 12th.

Although the wind was high, the power of the Sun this morning was very great. I attended divine service as usual, and heard Mr. Parkman of Boston preach from the second Commandment. I was much pleased with his Sermon and thought it better than any thing I had before heard of his. He dined with us and was quite pleasant. His afternoon Sermon was upon preparation1 and I did not think so much of it. With such weather as this, sitting in Church is irksome.

I amused myself the rest of the day reading Grimm and Rousseau. The first seems to me to be remarkable for two qualities. Considerable critical judgment in literature, and fine taste in the arts. But his mind is constantly biassed by the tone of philosophy which he wants to support, against religion and its supporters. Upon the character of Diderot’s writings he is no authority. The world has long ago pronounced its decision and it is not Baron de Grimm’s. Of Rousseau I have spoken so much already as to need no repetition. Evening quietly at home. After the ladies retired I continued Grimm and the Spectator.

1.

Doubtless in an ecclesiastical sense: the actions of an individual that should precede and anticipate his participation in Communion.

Monday. 13th. CFA Monday. 13th. CFA
Monday. 13th.

Morning clear and warm. I went to Boston as usual arriving quite in good season. At the Office after going to the House for the purpose 67of obtaining two or three articles for myself. Engaged in making out the Dividend for the Creditors of R. New’s Estate which I accomplished and paid one of them upon the Spot. Mr. Degrand called but entirely without success in his purpose of investment. On the whole, so far as my purpose is concerned it is as well. Found that the New England Office disappointed me in its Dividend this six Months, which satisfies me more than ever of the expediency of my advice as to paying off all engagements here. I feel the relief sensibly now of the payment of six thousand dollars in the last year.1

Returned to Quincy to dinner. Afternoon, read the Oration for Deiotarus, a thing apparently thrown off without any effort. An ingenious defence though rather an unsound one. This is the last of his Orations in defence. The Philippics only remain as a close of his brilliant though agitated career. Continued filing Letters.

Evening, T. B. Adams Jr. paid a visit here. I had a business conversation with him, and took the occasion to advise him to the best of my ability as to his course. The Ladies returned from riding, my Wife not very well. I afterwards read Grimm finishing the 3d volume and the Spectator.

1.

See above, entry for 12 May.