Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

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.


The letter from Bartlett is missing.


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).

Friday. 15th. CFA Friday. 15th. CFA
Friday. 15th.

Heavy rain with a cold Easterly wind. I read a Canto of the Faerie Queen and finding myself embarrassed with the rapid accumulation of Pamphlets set about an arrangement. Met with a difficulty in distinguishing which were new and which were duplicates of those already bound. Set about a Catalogue at once and before the labour becomes intolerable.

Office. Diary and Accounts. Comparative condition of property now and last year, very satisfactory. Called in to see Edward Brooks and inquire how his father was. He met with a slight accident the other day, which was of no consequence. Conversation upon his situation in which I took occasion to explain the reasons why I could not go to Medford. He wondered I could remain there so long. I lost my hour for Juvenal and got home just in time for dinner.

Afternoon cold. I read a little of Duclos but went to work to get rid of this Pamphlet Catalogue. In the evening, read the remainder of the Veiled Prophet. It loses by repetition. There is a falseness of taste at its foundation which destroys it. Continued Wilhelm Meister which I now read with great ease.

Saturday. 16th. CFA Saturday. 16th. CFA
Saturday. 16th.

The day was showery with gleams of sunshine. I read a Canto of the Fairy Queen and went to the office. Mr. Spear came in from Quincy and paid me some Money. I gave him some directions about the Garden at Quincy but as I do not feel quite at liberty to leave home for a great while together I told him I could hardly see to it myself.

I took a walk towards the north end of the town in order to judge of the changes and improvements which are taking place, then home where after finishing the first Satire of Juvenal I began Gifford’s Translation.1 My attention was attracted to the extraordinary Account of himself given in the Preface. I have never read a more striking story. He was a man of powerful faculties and his energy carried him 140through. Afternoon continued Duclos, and worked through the greater part of my Pamphlet Catalogue.2 This is tedious, but I have nobody to do it for me.

Read some of Mad. du Deffand—How little to inspire respect, or affection in her character—Not even dévote which used to be the last resort of profligate women. She was licentious in early life, and atheistical in age. Evening at home. I passed it with my Wife in conversation. She remains much the same. Continued Wilhelm Meister.


A copy, London, 1806, with JQA’s bookplate is at MQA.


See vol. 4:107–108, 113.