Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Thursday. 20th. CFA Thursday. 20th. CFA
Thursday. 20th.

Fine day although cloudy. I remained quietly at Quincy as much to get over the fatigue of yesterday as to do something in the way of 110literary occupation. I read Horace, the remainder of Neale’s Account of the Reign of Elizabeth, and a little of Hutchinson. These are all exercises of the mind but they are hardly as active as they should be.

I ought to be writing to keep my hand in practice. The Account of Hutchinson ought to inspire me with a subject than which I hardly know a finer. At any rate, I ought to meditate it. My father who is the person to do what is requisite seems to hang off from the undertaking, and to be disposed to plunge into any thing else which will give distraction to his mind.

In the afternoon, I read the second volume of Mirabeau which is not so interesting as the first. It has far more of the appearance of bookmaking. This with a little Indexing engrossed my time. Evening read some of Madame de Sevigné. And two very good numbers of the Observer upon the truth of the Christian Religion and the character of the Moral it inculcates. Conversation also with my Mother about General Jackson.

Friday. 21st. CFA Friday. 21st. CFA
Friday. 21st.

Morning cloudy with an occasional dropping of rain which did not amount to a shower. I rode to town and passed my morning indolently, part of it at the Athenaeum Gallery where I was present at the sale of Doughty’s pictures.1 They did very well on the whole. Paintings are things which require a very highly cultivated state of Society and a long established taste in the wealthy. We are as yet but little advanced in these matters. Money has not been long in any hands. I also passed some time in finding one of my father’s Tenants, out of whom I extracted his rent. This is at least something for my visit.

The whole town was alive with the expectation of seeing the President of the United States. General Jackson has been prodigiously successful in his excursion this Summer from Washington. His Popularity has appeared unbounded even in the strong holds of opposition. There is a cause for this. But where it lies I do not know. He has served his Country no more usefully than a thousand others, but he has the prestige of military glory which dazzles all mortal minds. The art of killing is prized higher than the art of vivifying. My father who was his competitor for the Presidency and a man of incomparably superior character, yet carries with him perpetually a load of unpopularity. He knows none of the arts of conciliating. And he relies too much upon the extent of his own powers to flatter by reposing confidence in others. These are useful lessons to the mind that will improve them. Public 111favour is a very fascinating thing, but what wise man would place his happiness in it. How much better to resort to less stimulating pleasures.

My Afternoon was passed in reading Mirabeau whose book I finished. It would have been as well, if closed with the first volume. I must now do something more useful. Threatened today with head ache and indigestion, but it passed away. Evening at home. Read two more admirable papers by Cumberland upon the Christian Revelation.


Thomas Doughty, of Philadelphia, the well-known landscapist and lithographer, had taken up residence in Boston in 1832. Sixteen landscapes by him were offered for sale (Groce and Wallace, Dict. Amer. Artists ; Columbian Centinel, 21 June, p. 3, col. 7).