Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 31st. CFA Sunday. 31st. CFA
Sunday. 31st.

Arose this morning to find the weather changed to intense cold. Every thing even in the parlour was frozen. The change was as sudden 149as it was disagreeable. I had no glass properly exposed to ascertain the degree but mine even in its sheltered situation sunk as low as eight, sixteen degrees lower than at any preceding time.

After breakfast, we went to Meeting and heard a certain Mr. Sewall preach, Mr. Frothingham having gone to Washington.1 My feet were so cold during the service that I could not feel comfortable and the preacher was not over lively. We returned home, our two ladies quite regretting they had come out at all. As my father was strong in his recommendation of going to Church in his yesterday’s letter, I thought I would go again when I found that the weather had moderated. Mr. Ripley preached.2 I know this young man from reputation at College. He has not kept up to it, and this afternoon he was quite long and tedious. Attendance at Church is no doubt a good practice, but to hear much of what is said in the Pulpit is a little fatiguing. Some things we think we can say better. Others we would not say at all. This may be vanity and self exaltation but we still can hardly avoid the reflections when we come to know what constitute the body of our Preachers.

Returned home to look over some more letters of my Grandfather copied by Mr. Sparks. One only I withdrew. The rest were admitted without objection. But I do not precisely know how far Mr. Sparks ought in justice to carry his selections. In the parlor 3 as my study was so cold, I sat with the ladies and read to them a part of Sir Charles Grandison, an amusing book, for it’s peculiarities though not for it’s merits.4 We were stopped by the entrance of Mr. Edmund Quincy, who passed the rest of the evening with us.

1.

Rev. Charles C. Sewall of Danvers or Rev. Samuel Sewall of Burlington ( Mass. Register, 1830). Mr. Frothingham preached in Washington on 31 Jan., 7 and 14 Feb.; on each occasion JQA was in the congregation (Diary entries for these dates; JQA to CFA, 13 Feb., Adams Papers).

2.

George Ripley, Harvard 1823, was minister of the Purchase Street Church, Boston, until 1840 and was afterward a principal figure on the Dial, in the Brook Farm experiment, and among the Transcendentalist philosophers ( DAB ).

3.

Editorially supplied for word omitted in text.

4.

Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, first published in 1754. CFA owned an edition published at London in 7 vols., 1817, now in MQA.