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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0011

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-11

Saturday. September 11th. IX.

Arose a little earlier than I had myself expected considering that I had been up until so late last night. I immediately sat down and wrote my Journal for the morning’s business. My mother was not here this morning, so that I employed my time more than usual. My father went to Boston again today which will be the usual course while he is here. His friends being continually desirous to entertain him and do him honour. In this state of things also, they wish to be particularly marked in their way of treating him. I amused myself all the morning in reading Junius. It is astonishing to think of the power which this author obtained in England by his manner. No man but was afraid of him excepting perhaps Mr. Horne1 and he was afraid of nobody. Sir William Draper was to be pitied as in any other contest he might have come out with some credit but he came across the path of an enormously cruel as well as a powerful man and was treated accordingly. One thing, I am struck with in the remarks of the Commentator, that he is rather servile to the governing power and speaks of { 321 } Junius, the Earl of Chatham and all the other great men of the nation not as Patriots but merely as men swayed by the interest of the moment. Indeed English liberty is but a shadow when it’s greatest supporters are merely venal timeservers. What Junius was, though a matter of great speculation, will probably never be disclosed. He must have been a great man.
Immediately after dinner I took a walk to Neponset and spent the rest of the afternoon in playing, so long an absence has had a little effect upon my play which I did not get over for more than half an hour. I played however with my usual success and gratification. It is unquestionably a most interesting game. I remained until it was so dark, I could not see a ball and then returned home where I did not arrive until eight o’clock. I then read two letters of Junius, particularly the famous one for which the publisher was prosecuted.2 My father and mother did not return home until ten o’clock when we sat down to supper and except a very little time spent in conversation with George, who came out with them, we went directly to bed. XI:15.
1. John Horne Tooke (1736–1812).
2. George Woodfall (1767–1844), publisher of the Public Advertiser, was prosecuted for printing Junius’ letter No. XXXV, dated 19 December 1769, entitled “Junius’s Address to the King.” The printer obtained the celebrated verdict that he was guilty of printing and publishing only, won a new trial, and was freed. (Junius, ed. John Wade, London, 1881, 1:255–256; DNB .)

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0012

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-12

Sunday. September 12th. IX:30.

It was so late this morning before I arose that I found it impossible to do any thing before the time to attend Meeting. I went this morning in my mother’s carriage. We had a gentleman from Canton, a Mr. Huntoun1 or some such name as our Minister. I seldom attend to a Sermon but his was so simple yet so sensible that I could not help being pleased with it. Many of his observations though not new were correct and so exactly falling in with my sentiments that really I was pleased. He spoke much of hypocritical piety, and I have had so much of it in one instance in our family that he could hardly have used words which would have been too severe for me. He is much more sensible than the men, we are in the habit of hearing or, at least if not more sensible, he is more interesting. Which with me amounts to the same thing.
I returned home and spent the rest of the morning in the company of my mother. She was as pleasant as usual, describing the different great characters of this country, who are given very satirically indeed, { 322 } even the adherents of my father, she does not spare. At Washington, it is a little different. Singular, I have often thought that our sentiments concerning individuals should change so much as they take different attitudes in the Presidential question. Unwilling as I am to confess it, I must own a power which in spite of my candour governs me. But I shall not feel that as soon as this is over. I shall then have my own enemies in the world to undertake.
In the afternoon, I did not attend Meeting, but wrote my Journal this afternoon and a long letter to John.2 He complains very much of being melancholy as he is alone so that I in compassion address him oftener than I otherwise should. I cannot be said to possess much material but with the little I had I filled three pages and sent them off. I then read a few pages of Junius which filled up the afternoon. Mr. De Grand was here today again and Mr. Webster3 also paid a visit. In the Evening there was a great deal of company here, some people from curiosity to see the President, others as visitors to my father, Mrs. Quincy, Mrs. Greenleaf, Mr. Miller &c. After they were gone, we descended to supper where we sat until it became quite late. Mr. De Grand never takes leave until the last moment. XI.
1. Benjamin Huntoon, Congregational minister in Canton (D/CFA/1; Mass. Register, 1824, p. 90).
2. Missing.
3. Daniel Webster (JQA, Diary, 12 Sept. 1824).