Fine day. Read in the morning Tocqueville, many of whose opinions are in a very high degree offensive to our National pride and would be so taken were it not for the air of candor and philosophy pervading it. Yet I think him profound.
Attended divine service and heard Mr. Lunt preach all day. Morning from John 6. 53. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” A Sermon for communion day. Afternoon from Deuteronomy 6. 6.7. “And these words which I command thee this day Shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.” Mr. Lunt is a very elegant and sensible writer, but my head is not exactly in train to gather what he says.255
Mr. Degrand came out after service and sat with my father until evening. I read one of Sterne’s Sermons upon the forgiveness of injuries illustrated by the example of Joseph. Genesis 50. 15. “And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evils which we did unto him.” Perhaps the most distinctive of Christian doctrines and the one most requiring force upon human nature.
After tea, walk with the family up the hill. Many people go there on Sundays to see the prospect and examine the progress. Mr. Beale and his daughter passed the evening.
Morning clear and cold, the wind coming round to the Eastward. I was much engaged in superintending the different portions of my house. Met Martin the Stone cutter and gave him some directions for the finishing work. I hope soon to be done with orders for materials. It seems to me remarkable to observe how much of this has been consumed, and yet the house is small. Home after a walk to the Canal respecting my account. Could not settle it.
Read Homer but not much of any thing else. For curiosity looked into Anstey’s New Bath Guide,1 a poem which must have had it’s currency from some supposed satire of individuals giving a zest to a watering place, rather than from very particular merit. I was the more induced to read it from a variety of allusions to it in Byron’s letters. Afternoon, read Wieland. There are many strokes in the History of the Abderites which hit our times and even this nation.
Evening, my father, Miss Smith, my Wife and I went to see Mr. and Mrs. Lunt. We were pleasantly received and entertained. Mrs. Lunt is very much of a lady in her manners.
Morning clear and cool. I went to town, accompanied by John Quincy Adams Jr. who went with me to the Office and I finished the transaction respecting his legacy and paid him the balance due.1 I then went to my House and upon a variety of commissions which took up time. Engaged also in Accounts prior to settling day. Called to see Carey and give him directions about the Mantle pieces which he is to set up this week. At Office, calls from J. T. Kauffer and A. H. Everett. 256The first about his bill and rent which I found as usual in such cases nearly set off each other, and the last to talk. Nothing new however. Home to dinner. Afternoon spent at the house and going round upon various objects. More materials. Will there ever be any end to this? Home at last to read a little of Wieland. Evening, conversation until late. Politics.
John Quincy Adams “Jr.” (1815-1854) was a legatee under the will of JA and entitled to receive the principal of his bequest at age 21.