Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

1 Saturday. November 1 [1834]. CFA Saturday. November 1 [1834]. CFA
Saturday. November 1 1834.

The morning was cold but it became clear and thus our precautions of yesterday were disappointed. I went into town leaving my Mother pretty comfortable and arranging the progress of her Journey. I was occupied at the Office in my Accounts and in looking over the remainder of my brother George’s papers which require destruction.1 My time is exceedingly brief now as I cannot very conveniently get into town much before ten o’clock. Went to Medford. Afternoon with my children, but I accomplished some German.

The brightest year of my life is passing and I am sacrificing it to others. I am more wound up in the interest of merely domestic affairs than ever I was, and the bustle of the external world with all its turbulence and confusion appears to me only as through a glass darkly. I am now the only son of my father, the only representative in my generation of the distinguished branch of the name and I am vegetating in a useless hot-bed of enervating luxury. Doing less than ever and yet I trust not entirely useless.


See above, entry for 27 Feb. 1833, note.

Sunday. 2d. CFA Sunday. 2d. CFA
Sunday. 2d.

A clear but a cold day. I read Quinctius Heymerau von Flaming into the fourth Volume of which I have got. A singular and not agreeable story. The hero is represented as one of those system mongers common in Germany, adopting a theory of man in which the qualities were to be judged by the formation. The errors he commits by pushing his belief in light complexions into practice and the accidents by which he becomes deeply indebted to and finally marries a blackgirl make the interest of the Story. But after all this is carrying the joke a little too far.

Attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Stetson, although his Sermons were not at all remarkable. John 21. 17. “He saith unto him 2the third time, Simon, Son of Judas, lovest thou me?” The last words formed the subject, the Love of God. Proverbs 13. 15 “the way of transgressors is hard.” This was upon the old and often repeated idea that honesty is the best policy—A doctrine well enough for practical life but which reduces morality to a very low standard. The way of transgressors is no doubt hard in a great multitude of cases, but in others, it becomes easy by habit, and in the infinity of instances where the line of right and wrong is discernible only by attention to theoretical morality, self interest as a rule, which almost infallibly guides incorrectly.

In the evening Mr. Dudley Hall and Dr. Swan came in and passed a couple of hours. Their conversation was exceedingly fatiguing to me, who did not feel in a humor to listen to it. Read German but omitted my usual Sermon. The irregularity of my present life must be my excuse.