Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 13th. CFA Saturday. 13th. CFA
Saturday. 13th.

Morning clear and cold. Our weather as yet does not moderate. I have very seldom known a more severe month. I went to the Office, after having marketed in the absence of Benjamin, my Man Servant who went home sick. I found this rather a new business, but still attempted to do as well as I could. It is an essential article of knowledge.

My time at the Office was passed very much in preparing some methodical train of reasoning for any argument which might take place tonight, upon the much talked of subject of the Militia laws. I inquired of Mr. Brooks as usual, and found that Mrs. B. was not much altered. I found Mr. I. P. Davis and delivered to him the patterns of Frames which had been returned to me by my Father. Nothing happened otherwise. Mr. Sparks had a conversation of a few minutes about the Papers and made a request that I would again look over those I had last examined, and reject what might not come within my father’s rule. I did so in the Afternoon but found none to make objection to.

The remainder of the Afternoon was passed in methodizing and modifying the remarks I thought of submitting to the Society. This 162labour costs me much time and trouble. But it is very beneficial for it habituates me to the practice of bringing ideas in a train and of managing them to an effective purpose. We met as usual in the evening though the meeting was small. I had expected that the discussion would fall through, instead of which it became animated and it was my luck to bear the whole brunt of the battle, for nearly all the Speakers were on the other side. I made a very few remarks but with very considerable warmth. I had been a little nettled at the tone of the remarks of A. W. Fuller,1 and I replied in a manner perhaps not altogether agreeable to him. One effect however I found my warmth produce upon my Speaking, it checked the flow of my ideas so as once or twice to put me in the hazard of losing my train. But on the whole I was very well content. Adjourned without a settlement, and called for Abby and Miss Phillips at Mrs. Frothingham’s to return home.

1.

Abraham W. Fuller, counselor, whose office was at 31 Court Street ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

The morning was severely cold. I attended divine service at Mr. Frothingham’s Church in the morning, and heard Mr. Sewall preach rather a dull Sermon. He is not an agreeable man to my fancy. My wife went to Medford with her brother so that Miss Phillips and I kept house. Our dinner was quite comfortable, and in the afternoon as it was cold, I remained at home, and wrote a long letter which was due to my Father.1 Our Correspondence is now a tolerably agreeable one, being upon common subjects of interest and having no reference to objects of an unpleasant nature. I write, generally speaking of my literary occupations, and he replies in his most pleasant vein. After I had finished, I read aloud to Miss Phillips, a Sermon of Jeremy Taylor’s on Meditation. It was in his peculiar style, flowery and pedantic but containing much sterling sense. He advises in it practical Christianity, and is very severe upon the spiritual effervescencies which so frequently distinguish those who aim at extraordinary piety. The Sermon was good and served the purpose better than Mr. Sewall’s. Abby did not return until late in the Evening. I read a little of Sir Charles Grandison, but Edward Brooks came in to enquire about his Mother. Abby gives, I think a very unfavourable account.2 But I feel unwilling to alarm or distress her.

1.

Letter in Adams Papers.

2.

Perceptible loss of strength and an increase both in the frequency and in the duration of periods of aberration characterized Mrs. Brooks’ condition (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 14 Feb., Everett MSS, MHi).

163