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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0001-0026

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-01-25

Sunday 25th.

It was very rainy indeed this morning, but as my father was going to the Capitol, I thought that it would be better for me to accompany him. We went in the Carriage and found Dr. Staughton performing the services. There was hardly any body present. This did not appear to be the most pleasing circumstance of all, and he made his sermon or rather homily what he called short, that is to say about ten minutes, the proper length in my mind, to have an effect. He told us that on account of the inclemency of the weather the service must be short, indeed he appeared in a great hurry to get out of the pulpit. Mr. Fuller appeared to think when I met him coming out, it was scarcely worth the trouble of coming up. It certainly was not worth the trouble of walking home in the heavy rain which was my lot as the Coachman had taken French leave as soon as we got out.1 Monsieur went visiting, he had an Umbrella, but I had to make the best of my Cloak and Cap which served me well, indeed I did not get wet except in my feet which were exposed, the water washing through my boots very soon.
This was a writing day at home. John, Mary, Madame and others employed. So that I was somewhat ennuyé, not being able to talk { 67 } so much politics on account of Johnson’s absence. This was remedied in the afternoon by his appearance. Finding Rockville a very poor place for bad weather, he thought he would again come up to try the air of the city and the conversation of friends to the cause of his favourite candidate. I was very glad to see him, as I know he enjoys himself more here and he is a very pleasant young man.
After some conversation concerning politics and a laugh at the fears about New York,2 we went up to dress for dinner. Monsieur had invited two or three. Blunt was invited to fill up the table. Professor Everett, and Dr. Sewall. They came early and we had to sit considerable time before dinner. Johnson got talking with Dr. Sewall3 about sickness and varioloid and every thing medical which must have been amusing to his nerves who can hardly hear the mention of blood. This man is a very unpleasant looking man as he has all the dark appearance of a rogue. Dwight of my class4 would say immediately that he was a most tremendous villain.
Blunt had his invariable self conceit and impudence and Everett looked every way except the right way, talked as if he was hammering steel, and excited the great displeasure of the ladies. But the circumstance which amused me most was that after dinner Monsieur got upon his favourite theory concerning comets and argued with a man of undoubtedly a great deal of learning without coming to much of a point. But Blunt undertook to talk upon the subject and informed us of the sundry great things he had done in his youth in the astronomical way. Monsieur treated him very much like an infant and manifested to him, if such a thing was possible, that he knew precious little about the matter upon which he was so fluent.
There was some discussion as to the character of the French Mathematicians, Monsieur attacking them as not being original geniuses, which the Professor did not seem to relish. This diverted me as the Cambridge course is entirely French. In fact I have often been led to question the propriety of using them so exclusively. Everett appears to be considerably down—as he finds no success in this measure of Webster’s, he packs up to go back to Cambridge and resume his lectures. He did not say much against the opposers of the resolution but his friend the Dr. supplied his place and poured his philipic pretty severely on the heads of the foolish men. Everett has an unpleasant way about him, arising from too deep seclusion and attention to himself. They retired early and Blunt went off not in the least troubled.
1. JQA had sent the coachman home (JQA, Diary, 25 Jan. 1824).
2. The latest report from New York was that the legislature might give Craw• { 68 } ford the state’s entire electoral vote. To forestall such massive support, the other presidential candidates were beginning to think of uniting forces to check Crawford. Their initial objective was to prevent a congressional caucus, proposed for April, from nominating the Georgian.
3. Dr. Thomas Sewall, Harvard Medical School 1821, was professor of anatomy and physiology at the Columbian College from 1821 to 1845 (Harvard Quinquennial Cat.).
4. William Dwight, of Springfield, Mass. (Harvard Annual Cat., 1824).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/