Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 8th. CFA Friday. 8th. CFA
Friday. 8th.

Morning cloudy and unpleasant. I concluded not to go to Boston this morning. My time was taken up in arranging the few Papers left belonging to the period previous to 1790 and returning the balance. Very few interesting ones in comparison with the great mass. I also read a large portion of Hurd’s Commentary upon Horace’s Art of Poetry. It exemplifies the art of book-making. For Horace needs nothing but a reflecting mind to relish all his beauties. It matters little to that whether it is a regular Essay, or a disconnected series of maxims.

Judge Adams and his daughter Elizabeth dined here today. The latter seemed well, and I took the opportunity to pay her, her money. The former is irretrievably dull. I walked to Mount Wollaston to look at the condition of the Orchard down there. Found it doing nicely. The trees generally look healthy though the cold weather of last Winter killed the extremities of many of them. I took off from two of them a collection of Eggs from some Insect which I did not know. It had been formed round the small limbs of the Trees, and strongly protected by a thick, black gummy substance, so as to resist considerable pressure. If I had intended to remain out here I should have pursued the investigation, but as it is, they were better away from all harm to the Trees.

Evening quiet at home. I read Mr. Everett’s Article upon the State 86of Europe. Tolerably bold, and containing many radical principles which I cannot swallow.1 I did not read the Spectator tonight.

1.

Edward Everett’s article, “The Prospect of Reform in Europe” ( North Amer. Rev., 33:154–190 [July] 1831), was openly sympathetic to the democratic as opposed to the aristocratic forces in their current confrontation.

Saturday. 9th. CFA Saturday. 9th. CFA
Saturday. 9th.

Morning cloudy, I went to town as usual, and was engaged in performing Commissions a considerable part of the day. Also in conversation with Mr. Peabody upon matters and things in general. I went to see the exhibition of the Horticultural Society with him. Found some fine specimens of Flowers, and some very large gooseberries which are a great rarity here.1 I then drew some Dividends and attended a Stock sale without being able to purchase any thing.

Returned to Quincy with the wind blowing a gale to the imminent danger of my hat and as I sometimes thought of my Gig. Miss E. C. Adams and Miss Harrod2 dined with us. The afternoon passed in my regular occupations. But from some reason or other my health cannot be so good as it was, for I cannot bear for any length of time, arranging Papers. Continued Mr. Hurd’s Commentary, the North American Review, and read two or three remarkable trials in the Newgate Calendar.3 Evening, Grimm and made up my deficiency in the Spectator.

1.

In the absence of any notice of the exhibition in the newspapers, the probability is that it was a show for members. The Society’s rooms were in Joy’s Building, Cornhill (formerly Market Street). Boston Patriot, 13 May, p. 2, col. 4.

2.

Susan D. Harrod, ECA’s cousin; see vol. 1:162, 2:166.

3.

Andrew Knapp and William Baldwin, The Newgate Calendar. ... In the edition (4 vols., London, 1825–1826) at MQA with JQA’s bookplate, vol. 1 is lacking.

Sunday. 10th. CFA Sunday. 10th. CFA
Sunday. 10th.

It rained very heavily during the Night, clearing off this morning with a North West Wind and absolutely cool. I attended divine Service all day and heard Mr. Whitney preach. His morning Sermon upon the necessity of redeeming time. A valuable text, and full of moral to all.1 I feel the weight of it every day I live. The afternoon I do not particularly recollect. Feeling myself in many respects deficient in a due knowledge of the Scriptures and in attention at Church I propose to set upon a course after my return to town which shall fix me in a useful habit on Sunday. At present my Church going is rather useless. I read in the afternoon a good deal of Grimm and see more and more of his infamous infidelity. This was the cry of Reform in those days. Seeing so much of Diderot in these Memoirs I felt 87curious to know something of him and accordingly read the Article with that Title in the Dictionnaire Historique. I do not consider him entitled to one half the merits he seems to have thought his. Yet he did much in building up the useful heads of the Encyclopedie, though he is also responsible for it’s great crimes. Evening, continued Grimm and the Spectator.

1.

Thus in MS.