Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 9th.

Friday. 11th.

Thursday. 10th. CFA Thursday. 10th. CFA
Thursday. 10th.

Morning clear and cold. I went to the Office as usual. Time taken up in reading Rousseau’s Essay. Read the President’s Message which got here yesterday.1 It is a pretty good production and in a far better 279spirit than any of it’s predecessors. I agree to all of it’s doctrine excepting that which regards the Bank of the United States. On that point he is as bad as usual. The political aspect at Washington is bad enough for the opposition. They are almost completely prostrate. But as I say my province is now to keep myself in reserve. To see what turn things take.

Home where I finished Juvenal, and began the Satires of Persius. A rough, ungainly style, with some bold thoughts. Evening, Levesque, and Gallatin’s Treatise on Banking. I wish to make myself master of the subject.2

Went to the play, Opera of Robert le diable,3 a singular story. Robert, Mr. Wood, is the son of the heiress of the Dutchy of Normandy by no less a personage than his Satanic Majesty. He has been expelled from his dutchy for his tricks and finds himself in Sicily in love with the Princess of the Island (Mrs. Wood). Here he is exposed to the temptations of his papa who has liberty to get possession of him provided he can do so before the clock strikes twelve. The temptations all prove too strong for the weak hero who is nevertheless saved by delay. There are horrors in plenty. The story is similar to der Freyschutz but not so consistent or striking. Mrs. Wood was suffering severely from a cold. We remained to the Afterpiece, “the Affair of honor.” Ridiculous enough.

1.

The President’s Message of 7 Dec. was printed in the Columbian Centinel, 10 Dec., p. 2, cols. 2–7, p. 3, cols. 1–4.

2.

See above, entry for 5 Feb. 1834, and vol. 4:36.

3.

Meyerbeer’s Robert the Devil was presented in America in Rophino Lacy’s adaptation (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:668).