Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 10th.

Monday. 12th.

Sunday. 11th. CFA Sunday. 11th. CFA
Sunday. 11th.

Morning clear and warm although the air was sufficiently elastic to prevent any inconvenience from it. I laboured to finish the assorting of the Letter files today, and completed it so far as I know of any at present. I have found some dating as early as 1762, two years before their marriage, and coming down through 1774, 5, 6, 7, 9. 80, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9. 92, 93, 4, 7, in each of which years there was a considerable separation. There is much valuable matter in the Correspondence, and it richly merits to be preserved and bound up into volumes. But I do not know whether at present I feel willing to undertake the responsibility of it.

Attended divine Service and heard George Whitney in the morning upon the difference between Morality and Piety, and in the Afternoon upon the beneficial influence of Christianity. George always looks to me oddly in the Pulpit. His manner is dashing and wants solemnity, and the man is too perpetually peeping through.1


I read in the Afternoon a very short and the closing Sermon in the volume of Panegyric—Upon a holy martyr, patron of a church not named. Text. Acts 1. 8. “Ye shall be witnesses.” He considers the testimony now necessary to be three fold: 1. A testimony of sacrifice or suffering, 2. of submission, 3. of desire for another world. This is the martyrdom of the present day. I cannot enter into the spirit of these doctrines. I wish to avoid all evil and sinfulness, I wish to submit as far as I am able to all the dispensations of divine Providence, but I cannot convince myself that the proper use of the enjoyments this world has to afford was to be denied us by a beneficent Creator. It is the province of the reasoning faculty to discover what this proper use is, and the neglect or disregard of its admonitions appears to me to constitute sin. Evening, Mr. and Mrs. J. Quincy Jr. and Edmd. paid a short visit.


Rev. George Whitney of Roxbury, son of Rev. Peter Whitney, spent his boyhood in Quincy and was one class ahead of CFA at Harvard. JQA thought that he “improves as he advances in years, and if he perseveres with industry and vigilance in his studies, will make a shining character” (vol. 4:68; JQA, Diary, 11 Aug. 1833).