Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 13th. CFA Wednesday. 13th. CFA
Wednesday. 13th.

Morning clear but the air no longer had the softness which distinguished it for the two last days. I read the seventh Canto of the second book of the Fairy Queen. It is very pleasant to take up in this way. Office. Mr. Winkley called and I executed my part of the Lease after which we exchanged the Papers. I dawdled as Fanny Kemble hath it over Debrett’s Peerage with Mr. Walsh, moralizing upon the shortness of date of the most of English Titles and their ignominious origin. This is rather a shameful account of time. Hence to read Juvenal, a nervous writer but the wind makes me drowsy.

After dinner, began Duclos, Considerations sur les Moeurs de ce Siecle.1 The style is too studied. The thoughts fatiguingly laboured. Dipped into Mad. du Deffand.2 On first coming back to my books I am guilty of some literary dissipation. In a few days all this will settle down so that I can pursue my path more regularly again. Evening read to my Wife from the first part of Lalla Rookh.3 There are many good lines in this poem and some fine figures, but Oriental affectation has 138gone out of fashion and it’s terms disfigure the Poem while there is a great irregularity of versification. The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan is a disgusting story too.

Evening, copying. On looking over what I have done, I find it so valuable that I shall be induced to extend it considerably. Indeed I think now is the time for me to be gathering up materials for a definite purpose—And to read in connection with it.

1.

A copy, London, 1784, with JQA’s bookplate is in MQA.

2.

CFA’s copy of Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand’s Letters to Horace Walpole, 1766 to 1780, to which are Added Letters to Voltaire, 1759 to 1775, 4 vols., London, 1810, is in MQA.

3.

In reading aloud from Moore’s Lalla Rookh, CFA was returning to the approach to the poem he had used five years earlier; see above, vol. 3:189–196 passim.

Thursday. 14th. CFA Thursday. 14th. CFA
Thursday. 14th.

The day was cloudy and rainy. I read the first canto of the second book of Spenser, and then to the Office. Time not well spent. Mr. J. H. Emery from Portsmouth in New Hampshire called upon me with a letter of introduction from Ichabod Bartlett and a request to get him a sight of the Law Library.1 I having no right there myself was obliged to call upon T. Davis who procured him the necessary privilege. Nothing else material. Walk which was shortened by the approach of rain. After dinner, Duclos and copying several papers of the old Correspondence. Mad. du Deffand.

I forgot to mention that I saw in the Advocate this morning an Article alluding to the intrigue going on between Mr. Webster and Messrs. Grennel and Chapman last Winter respecting the election of a Senator. The allusion to those gentlemen was so pointed that I was inclined to think he was resting for his authority upon the communication I made him the other day. As this was drawn from my father’s confidential letters, I felt a little conscience struck,2 and called upon Mr. Hallet at his home, failing to find him at his Office, where I hinted at a little future caution. He said he had his information from other sources, which whether true or not I was glad of his saying. He also went into further confidence about the state of their Press by which it seems pretty clear that what I had long predicted will happen. It must go down unless it comes out for Mr. Van Buren. Mr. Webster’s friends make no effort for it. I presume they have full use for their funds in other directions. But this editor is worth a dozen of their’s. I advised him as I did before. Much as I dislike Van Buren, I see no other resource for New England.

Evening quietly at home. I read to my Wife the second part of Lalla 139Rookh or rather of its first story the Veiled Prophet, after which went on with a reperusal of Wilhelm Meister.

1.

The letter from Bartlett is missing.

2.

The article (Boston Daily Advocate, 14 May, p. 2, cols. 2–3) alleged that in 1834 George Grennell, Representative in Congress from Massachusetts and a Freemason, wrote letters at the instigation of Daniel Webster to members of the legislature to thwart JQA’s chances for a seat in the Senate of the United States. Henry Chapman of Greenfield was said to have been involved also. The matter is recounted fully in JQA to CFA, 31 March (Adams Papers).