Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 19th.

Monday 21st.

Sunday. 20th. CFA Sunday. 20th. CFA
Sunday. 20th.

I did not arise in better humour than when I retired the evening past. And I continued feeling quite low spirited throughout the day. I attended Divine Service with Abby in the morning and heard Dr. Follen preach a Sermon without a Text. This is strange and I do not know how to like it; old prejudices are strong against the innovation and even without them, I think the evident object of the institution is to illustrate and explain passages of the Scriptures, and that it is therefore much more clearly effected by setting before one the end to which all conclusions must be directed. In modern times, texts have been falling into unpopularity but as I think very unreasonably, and I believe it would be found that much less will be found to remain in the memory of the common classes of people who are most benefitted by these Addresses, through the medium of a process of Orationizing, than by the old practise of familiar texts. Dr. Follen is a German who 22is attached to Harvard College and since his residence in this Country has taken to Divinity.1 He reads English well for a foreigner. He dined with us. After dinner I went to walk and not to Church for he was rather too dry.

On my return, found Mr. Shepherd who was soon after followed by Edward Brooks and his Wife.2 These are the most agreeable part of the family to me, though I have seen much least of them.3 They are tolerably merry people, and so they enlivened us much at tea. Mrs. Brooks looked and appeared fatigued and sick. The evening passed in conversation with Mr. Brooks upon fruits and then old Boston history—rather dry—but I try to interest myself in these things. Afterwards, a Conversation with Abby, which it will do well to remember, though I should be foolish to detail it here.

1.

Charles Theodore Christian Follen (1796–1840), Unitarian clergyman and first professor of German literature at Harvard, had come to the United States in 1824 ( DAB ).

2.

Resin D. Shepherd, father of Ellen Shepherd who had married ABA’s brother Gorham Brooks earlier in the year, was a Boston merchant living in Watertown; see vol. 2:165 and Brooks, Farm Journal, 20 April 1829.

3.

Although the Edward Brookses maintained a house in Boston at 4 Bulfinch Place ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830), apparently they preferred to remain aloof from society and family at their well-situated place in Watertown; see vol. 2:249. CFA’s expressed liking for Edward continued. A Harvard graduate (1812) and a lawyer, increasingly he assumed the management of his father’s extensive business interests, having “the whole care” from 1833 onward and earning his father’s entire approbation (Brooks, Waste Book, 26 April 1848). His concerns extended to public matters as well. In 1828, he had written a series of articles, appearing in the Courier signed “Brougham,” proposing the establishment of a university in Boston (Edward Everett to Alexander H. Everett, 19 Nov. 1829, Everett MSS, MHi). See also Brooks, Medford , p. 530–531.