Fine day and warm. Morning as usual. After dinner to Quincy. Evening at home.
I was at the Office but unable to execute as much of my Review as I wished. This matter now begins to press and I must resort to some mode of hurrying myself. What with Mr. Hunt and Dr. Palfrey and my House and the Agency affairs, I am rather driven.
Home to read a little of Ajax. I have now arrived very nearly the termination and yet shall probably find it more difficult to reach that than going all the preceding way.
After dinner I went to Quincy, the wind being mild and allowing a dismissal of the surtout. I however attended as well as I could to what was left to be done. The man to build the wall was there and announced a deficiency in material.
Home late. Short evening. I went to work upon the final draft of the paper for Mr. Hunt and executed a large part of it but not the whole. The deficiency is in the necessity of consuming much time, occasionally to hunt up small facts.
Cold east wind. Divine service as usual. Evening at home.
I occupied most of my leisure hours today in writing upon the Essay which I promised to Mr. Hunt. To this end I devoted the hours of the evening which I have formerly spent in the family.
Attended divine service and heard Dr. Frothingham preach from Luke 6. 19. “There went virtue out of him and healed them all.” Also from 1. Corinthians 1. 27. “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” This last very good discourse, I have heard before.
Read also a Sermon in the English Preacher by
Cloudy and cold with rain. Morning to Quincy. After dinner to New York.225
It was a cheerless looking day that I have rarely known worse at the season. I rode to Quincy and gave as many directions as I could respecting what was left to do but as the principal man upon the wall was not there I had to leave the procuring more stone until my return from New York. The rest of the details about the old house are also backward. Hurried them as much as I could and then returned to town.
The rain began and I felt particularly gloomy about going. It was ten years ago on this day that my poor brother George left this same place for New York which yet he never reached alive.1 And I felt as if there was some danger in the coincidence. I yet felt that my father was alone and might need assistance if he found himself unable to do what he had engaged.2 So the conflict between duty and inclination was quite trying.
I finally determined to go, being influenced quite as much by a wish to break down the superstitious fear of presentiment which in my life I never yet knew verified although I have often felt it as by the more obvious motives. Accordingly I started in the Railway cars for Providence and thence to Stonington, where we took the Steamer Rhode Island for New York. There were in company Dr. F Parkman, Rev. Messrs. Lunt and Robbins, and Capt. H. Oxnard, and I got along very pleasantly. General W. H. Sumner was also on board of the boat.
See vol. 2:370–372.
JQA had been in ill health, sometimes without voice, since the adjournment of Congress and while preparing his oration for delivery in New York (Diary).