Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Thursday. October 14th. VI.

Saturday. October 16th. VIII.

Friday. October 15th. VII:20. CFA Friday. October 15th. VII:20. CFA
Friday. October 15th. VII:20.

Arose and dressed myself, my brother according to his usual custom having arisen much earlier—his custom of late I mean. I breakfasted and during the morning read much farther in the Memoirs I took up yesterday but I did not have time to finish them. I applied for my money to George, according to arrangement, but I found the bank rather deficient, a curse which I have so often felt and which I had congratulated myself was not to happen again. This was the occasion of the trouble yesterday. I received a sufficient sum however to clear me at Cambridge for the next three months as to debts although I shall be compelled to resort to the old mode of getting myself along. I then took a walk about town and at twelve went to Cambridge in the Stage. I dined in a hurry and at one went out to practice the rifle exercise which we performed quite well today. I then went to Declamation which was not remarkable today and employed the rest of my afternoon in writing my Journal which by my one day’s absence had fallen behind hand. It is now a much more serious matter than ever to miss a day although it has always been sufficiently difficult to make it up. I was constant to it all the afternoon.

In the Evening after Prayers we had a regular drill and were more of soldiers than ever. Indeed we were much delighted with the conduct of the company tonight and felt exactly as we wished to with respect to the men under our command.

After drill although somewhat fatigued at this double exercise, I attended Mr. Ticknor’s Lecture. I shall however fill up what I left out in the last lecture which I attended. Bourdaloue the unattained model of the pulpit eloquence of France was born in 1632 and educated a Jesuit. That body always knew how to cultivate the talent which would most promote them, so that they soon called him to Paris which happened in 1669, and in 1671 at the age of 38 he had no rival, which continued until his death in 1704. He was during this time the most popular and successful preacher in France. His works are in 16 volumes octavo, all sermons. There is in them greater conciseness, greater persuasion and more sincerity than in those of Bossuet. His logic is compact and his strength irresistible. He is perhaps less touching than Massillon1 but it is natural that force of character should spring up before tenderness and the assertion has been justified by the experience of all ages. Without great exertions he has equalled Bossuet and checked him.


Fenelon might have been his rival had he not been above ambition. This man from his genius, his labours and talents was entitled to be called the champion of the Church, but he had not the desire. He was born in the South West of France in 1651 and educated at home, from whence he was sent to College where he was distinguished. Indeed at 15 he preached. At one time he determined to be a missionary and move to the settlements in Canada but his family diverted him from it. At 24 he conceived the project of a mission to Greece and wrote a letter to that effect which fully discloses his enthusiasm. At 27 he was made superior of the new Catholics he governed with success for 10 years. He was then sent on a mission to Poictou to quell an insurrection of the Protestants. He only agreed with the king that force should not be used and he was successful. The deep feeling in that part of France which showed itself in the revolution may fairly therefore be attributed to him. In 1689 he was made preceptor to the Duke of Burgundy. But he had been successful too long, intrigue arose and oppressed him. He was too powerful for the favourites of the court although he never used his strength, and they made a handle of his intimacy with Madame Guyon2 who was at the head of the quietists in France. In 1695 however he was made Archbishop of Cambray which placed him at the height of power. Bossuet attacked him and influenced the king who caused the Pope to condemn Fenelon’s answer and finally he was exiled to his Archbishopric. His Telemaque completed the King’s anger and he caused the man’s name to be erased from the list of his household. Fenelon endured it all with most perfect patience; he retired to Cambray where he remained for the rest of his life. He obeyed with most perfect submission the orders of the Pope and read from his own pulpit the condemnation of his book. This is the “Maximes des Saints.”

I have got thus far and have only finished the preceding lecture so that I shall only be able to give that today, reserving the remainder for tomorrow and Sunday, in which days I have no observations to make in addition. I wrote until I was half asleep, after I returned, when I thought it best at once to retire. XI.


Jean Baptiste Massillon (1663–1742), bishop of Clermont.


Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon (1648–1717).