Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

152 Saturday. 24th. CFA Saturday. 24th. CFA
Saturday. 24th.

Office, weather mild. Occupied upon my Diary and so forth. Mr. Spear came in from Quincy. Conversation upon various matters at Quincy. I made some inquiries about the condition of my premises which he reports very good as yet and gave some directions as to the payment of the Note which will become due at Quincy given by me in payment to Mr. Adams, and as to the bringing in of a picture of my grandmother wanted by the Engraver for the National Portrait Gallery.1

He had not gone out before Mr. A. H. Everett came in and talked about a variety of things. He is nettled at an article which appears in the New York Journal of Commerce stating in substance that General Jackson had ridiculed the claims of Mr. Everett for place and made an allusion to the articles of invective he had formerly written.2 This is no doubt fabulous but there are some curious things in the letter. Some attempts to lead to a union between Mr. Van Buren and the Northern men, which perhaps are thrown out for the purpose of keeping the opposition cleverly disorganized.

Took a walk with Mr. Walsh and home. Read Livy. Afternoon at home, finished the remainder of the Warren letters. I am now at a standstill with the MS, for they are so divided I can finish nothing between this and Quincy. Read an Essay or two of Bacon3 and some German. Evening at home. Afterwards, writing.

1.

The painting of AA was that done by Gilbert Stuart in 1800. The engraving was to be done by G. F. Storm. He completed the work before 1839, in which year it appeared in vol. 4 of Longacre and Herring, National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, N.Y. and Phila., 4 vols., 1834–1839 (Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA , p. 140, 251, 254–255).

2.

On the 24th, the Daily Centinel and Gazette (p. 2, col. 4) reprinted from the New York Journal of Commerce a dispatch from its Washington correspondent, dated 18 Dec.: “There had been an intimation (or perhaps an application) made to the President some months ago ... that the Hon. Alexander H. Everett was desirous to obtain the office [of postmaster at Boston], as it was one which would suit his literary habits and pursuits. The subject was renewed to him a few days since, and the old hero got into a passion, and read a letter he had received from Boston, detailing Mr. Everett’s former bitterness and abuse,—and he declared he must be tried longer before he could be trusted. The old chief said, ‘I tell you sir, I have read more literature than you imagine, and know all about these men of the 11th hour.’”

3.

Francis Bacon was one of the authors to whom CFA returned many times. The Essays had occupied him in 1824 and again in 1830; see vols. 1:23; 3:201. Extensive reading of other of his works had been undertaken in 1833; see vol. 5:189.

Sunday. 25th. CFA Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

Christmas day. Quite mild and pleasant though slightly rainy in the middle of the day and a heavy fog in the evening. I went to Meeting 153and heard Mr. Frothingham preach from Matthew 2. 11. “They presented unto him gifts; gold and frankincense and myrrh.” This discourse I am very sure I heard some years ago because the figurative management of it then struck me. I will look back in my Diary and find it.

Walk with Mr. Walsh and home. Found Mr. T. K. Davis there and they both dined with me. We had quite a pleasant little Christmas dinner and in the afternoon heard Mr. Frothingham again from the Psalms. 100. 3. “Not we ourselves.” A very good and sensible discourse upon the ascribing to ourselves much of action.

Afternoon Barrow. Matthew 1. 20. “For that which is conceived in her is of the holy Ghost.” The mystery of the incarnation with some reasons why it should have happened. These are more satisfactory than the discussion of the rest of the subject. Evening, paid a visit at Mrs. Brooks’. Nobody there but a Mr. Ingersol and friend of Mrs. B. Jrs. Home early.