A clear but a cold day. I read Quinctius Heymerau von Flaming into the fourth Volume of which I have got. A singular and not agreeable story. The hero is represented as one of those system mongers common in Germany, adopting a theory of man in which the qualities were to be judged by the formation. The errors he commits by pushing his belief in light complexions into practice and the accidents by which he becomes deeply indebted to and finally marries a blackgirl make the interest of the Story. But after all this is carrying the joke a little too far.
Attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Stetson, although his Sermons were not at all remarkable. John 21. 17. “He saith unto him 2the third time, Simon, Son of Judas, lovest thou me?” The last words formed the subject, the Love of God. Proverbs 13. 15 “the way of transgressors is hard.” This was upon the old and often repeated idea that honesty is the best policy—A doctrine well enough for practical life but which reduces morality to a very low standard. The way of transgressors is no doubt hard in a great multitude of cases, but in others, it becomes easy by habit, and in the infinity of instances where the line of right and wrong is discernible only by attention to theoretical morality, self interest as a rule, which almost infallibly guides incorrectly.
In the evening Mr. Dudley Hall and Dr. Swan came in and passed a couple of hours. Their conversation was exceedingly fatiguing to me, who did not feel in a humor to listen to it. Read German but omitted my usual Sermon. The irregularity of my present life must be my excuse.
I left Medford this morning, one of our cold but most beautiful days of Autumn. In Boston at the Office engaged in looking over and making a disposition of old papers, regulating accounts &ca. Nothing material. Received a very short letter from my father communicating nothing and answered it in much the same manner.1 Returned to Quincy.
Found my Mother better, and full of making her arrangements for her Journey. She wishes to fix some day this week. I accidentally said Saturday and she fixed it so. This will make my going come on Monday which is full early. But as it is on every account desirable that we should get off I must brush up my neglected business to start. I occupied the afternoon in planting the remainder of my father’s seeds left for that purpose and in the evening continued Ovid and German.
JQA to CFA, 30 Oct. (Adams Papers); CFA’s answer is missing.
I went into Boston from Quincy and was occupied the greater part of my time in making the necessary preparations. Went to my House, from thence to the residence of one of the Tenants to make Collections. Wrote to my Wife and to my father1 and on the whole filled up every inch of my time. Returned to dinner. In the Afternoon 3with my Mother. She went out today to ride and bore it exceedingly well.
I have hopes now that weather permitting we shall get off and if favoured to New York we shall get along. The monotony of this life is so great that I am not able to put much into my Journal, and yet my activity and my responsibility were never more heavily drawn upon. Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 7—The Story of Medea, and the account of the plague of Aegina, both very fine morsels. German.
Both letters missing.