Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Tuesday 18th. CFA Tuesday 18th. CFA
Tuesday 18th.

A thick heavy drizzle. I went to town notwithstanding and was occupied as usual in the performance of commissions and in a visit to the Athenaeum. Home bringing to Mrs. T. B. Adams’ Miss Julia DeWint. Afternoon, reading. Evening at home.

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I called at the Athenaeum for the purpose of procuring for my father Mr. Cousin’s Report upon public Instruction in Prussia.1 Saw Mr. Brimmer’s late present to the Athenaeum of expensive works of engravings.2 Read the Newspapers which are now full of the result of the late election in Maine and the consequent abandonment of Mr. Webster by the Atlas in Boston.3 Strange things take place in politics.

Read of Lucretius book 3. 633–800. And observed for some time an eclipse of the sun, through a cloud which was sufficiently thin to make it perceptible without obscuring it too much. How much one of these events brings to the mind the grandeur of the Universe. These orbs revolving in space all in their order without interference and no more permitted to us to know than they do so. Mr. Price Greenleaf spent an hour with us in the evening.

1.

The stimulation of JQA’s interest in the Report by Victor Cousin may derive from an occasion noted in the entry for 25 Sept. 1836, above.

2.

During 1838, George Watson Brimmer gave to the Athenaeum his extensive collection of books on art; it formed the nucleus of the institution’s fine arts library (Mabel M. Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, Boston, 1940, p. 128).

3.

The Atlas, following the poor showing of the Webster-aligned whigs in Maine, announced its preference for William Henry Harrison (17 Sept., p. 2, col. 1).

Wednesday 19th. CFA Wednesday 19th. CFA
Wednesday 19th.

Weather clear and warm. Morning spent in personal superintendence upon some improvement I wished in the road. Afternoon in reading. Evening at the Mansion where the family dined.

The necessity of personal direction prevented my attending to much study. A few pages of Locke 282–300 and Lucretius l. 800–915 comprised all of my reading. The days have now become so materially shorter that my afternoons cease to be profitable, and the evening is given to the family.

I perceive in the Morning Post of today an article which I presume to be from T. K. Davis, raising up Mr. Calhoun as the great man of the Country.1 Davis is not yet fledged as a politician and appears to me consequently to run into error by taking shadows for substance. But he takes a fair start and if things undergo a change as now appears likely he will gain credit for it. I wish I could have taken the same, but the thing was utterly impossible. The junction2 of Mr. Calhoun the very thing which fixes him entirely drove me off.

1.

“John C. Calhoun and the Credit System—A Final Appeal to all Real Merchants” (unsigned) was laudatory of Calhoun’s position on the credit and banking systems; Boston Morning Post, 19 Sept., p. 1, col. 6 – p. 2, col. 1.

2.

“Association, coalition” ( OED , 1b).

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