Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

74 Saturday 20th. CFA Saturday 20th. CFA
Saturday 20th.

I was detained later than usual in consequence of my having to draw a Check upon the Bank in this place. I then went into town and found myself somewhat cramped for time. I first attended a Stock Sale for the purpose of investing the small sum belonging to Elizabeth. But I found nothing that suited me. The pressure for money is very considerable and reduces very much the price of Stocks. But most of those now habitually sold at Auction are such drugs and of so little intrinsic value that even a low price is hazardous. I could not adventure and therefore returned to the Office.

Mr. Spear of Quincy came in and we had much talk upon a variety of subjects, principally connected with the disposition of the property at Quincy. This detained me until late when I went over to see Mr. Brooks and consult him respecting the expediency of my mode of building. He gave me many ideas which will prove of very great use to me I do not doubt. There is a great value in practical knowledge of the subject. I must acquire it slowly and patiently and by asking. Returned home late.

Afternoon passed partly in reading Livy and partly in a walk. There is no part of my daily life which gives me so much pleasure as the short period spent in reading the Classics. Evening, read several numbers of the Discourses on Davila.1 A very interesting Essay.

1.

JA, Discourses on Davila, Boston, 1805. These were written in 1790–1791 and first published in the Gazette of the United States; see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:225.

Sunday 21st. CFA Sunday 21st. CFA
Sunday 21st.

The remarkable coldness of the season continues unabated. It has become a matter of great doubt whether the crop of Corn will ripen. I spent my morning idly, in part because I got up late. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Lunt preach in the morning from Revelation. 5. 1.2. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side sealed with seven seals, and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof.” Mr. Lunt took hold of the subject with an attempt to explain the general meaning of the revelation and then applied the opening of the seals to various historical events of ancient times. But this is arbitrary and uncertain. Revelation, I must confess it, never looked to me much beyond the frenzy of an excited imagination.

In the afternoon Psalm 16. 11. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: 75in thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” I was unable to keep my attention fixed having lost my nap by the presence of Mr. Degrand. He remained all the afternoon. The conversation principally upon a letter of General Jackson to the Governor of Tennessee disavowing the course of General Gaines.1

In the evening, my mother, Mrs. J. Adams,2 my Wife and I went to Mrs. Quincy’s. Found there Mrs. Quincy the elder, and her daughter Anna.3 Nothing interesting, and we returned early. Read a Sermon of Dr. Barrow, upon natural religion. Jeremiah 51. 15. “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.” There was little variation from the topics usually brought forward in the Creation, but they were enforced with more eloquence than I have yet found in Barrow. He seems to rise with his subject.

1.

In response to requisitions from Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines forwarded by the secretary of war to Gov. Newton Cannon for a brigade of Tennessee militia for service on the Mexican border, the governor had sent the correspondence to President Jackson. On 6 Aug. the President responded that the requisition was unauthorized and unjustified by the circumstances. The letter was published in the Daily Centinel and Gazette, 22 Aug. 1836, p. 2, col. 3.

2.

Mrs. John Adams 2d, the former Mary Catherine Hellen, who, after the death of her husband in 1834, with their two daughters, Mary Louisa and Georgeanna Frances, regularly summered at the Old House; see vols. 1:xxvi, 32; 6:12, 254.

3.

Josiah Quincy IV and his wife, the former Mary Jane Miller, regularly occupied the family home in Quincy during the summers. His mother, Mrs. Josiah Quincy III, wife of the president of Harvard, and his sister, Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy, were visiting from Cambridge.