Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

151 Thursday. 4th. CFA Thursday. 4th. CFA
Thursday. 4th.

Morning warm. I walked out with Louisa and called to see Mr. Sharpe about my furniture. Then home. My committing of Pope goes on slowly. Office. My Political Speculation No. 7 came out this morning. How far these papers will go is yet doubtful. Went to see Mrs. Kirk about her business, then to the Athenaeum to lounge over the pictures. This with my usual occupations at the Office consumed my time. The Gallery is tolerably good with a great sprinkling of fine names but not corresponding excellence. The picture of my father1 in its simplicity contrasts singularly with the pretention of the others. Here is Governor Davis and Abbott Lawrence flaring in all the importance of silk and velvet.

Home. Juvenal. Afternoon, Thiers French Revolution—Struggles of the Thermidorians or counter revolutionary party. An instructive lesson upon the passions of men. Read a little of Crabbe and some of the letters of Madame du Deffand which I find amusing. Some observations particularly upon ennui are very good. What a fleeting show this life is. Action, passion upon nothing, or next to nothing. Evening at home.

1.

By Durand; see note to entry of 20 May, above.

Friday. 5th. CFA Friday. 5th. CFA
Friday. 5th.

Cloudy and very sultry. Committed some lines of Pope and then to the Office for a few moments but did not stay. I find the Atlas and Centinel are both out upon me and my attack upon Mr. Webster.1 The latter scolds like a fishwoman and argues a little. I had not time to spare upon them today but hurried home and from thence to start for Quincy in my Gig with Louisa. My Mother has been desirous to have her there to pass the day and I have complied though disliking extremely the hazard of a Gig with children.

We arrived shortly after eleven and I passed the time in conversation with my father and mother. He was exceedingly kind to me as upon such occasions he usually is. Discussed the substance of my Political Speculation and notified me of a valuable present of coins and medals he destined for me.2 This is a present of high value to me as some of the pieces are reminiscences of the public services of my parents. No other family in the Country possesses any thing like the same advantages in this respect. He seems gratified with my political course. 152If it was not that I was under the perpetual stimulus of my family pride I would never mix in the heated waters of political affairs.

I came home in fear of a thunder shower. Louisa slept the whole distance. Arrived at home I felt weary, and retired tolerably early.

1.

In their issues of 5 June both the Daily Atlas and the Columbian Centinel carried strong editorials taking issue with CFA’s No. 7, published on the 4th, which was CFA’s most direct attack upon Webster to appear thus far. Both quoted at length from the offending piece; both denied that the writer was a Whig and objected to the misuse of the name. The Atlas identified the author of the series as “a Tory writer” (p. 2, col. 1), while the Centinel made its comment under the banner, “Political Antimasonry identified with Jackson-Van Burenism” (p. 2, cols. 1–2). JQA took note of the response CFA had elicited, recording that “Charles’ political speculation N. 7 published yesterday ... has produced much excitement” (Diary, 5 June).

2.

“I told him I wished to give him my collection of Medals and coins, and that he should undertake to arrange them and have them put up in suitable boxes and draws” (JQA, Diary, 5 June).