Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 27th. CFA Saturday. 27th. CFA
Saturday. 27th.
Medford

Morning clear and much colder than heretofore. I went to the Office as usual and received a visit from Mr. D. Greenleaf about the Shares of the Neponset Bridge Corporation. Read my German and made up my Accounts as usual. But owing to the fact that Mr. Brooks had sent for us to go to Medford, my time was too much broken to allow of any very material improvement of it. It is grievous to me to see how my mornings go in spite of all my best resolutions but so it is and, the more I try, the more impossible it seems to help it.

We started to go out of town at one o’clock in Mr. Brooks’ Carriage with Mrs. Everett. The roads were not over good, and when we arrived at Medford, every thing seemed pretty desolate. This is the first time we have been up there since Mrs. Everett was established,1 and the change does not seem very agreeable besides the different appearance which the House has when Winter approaches. I walked down in the Afternoon to see old Mr. Warren and get a receipt from him for the Trees purchased which he very readily gave. He is an old man of 371Eighty two and writes with much clearness yet. Such is vigorous old age.

Evening, I read Mr. Everett’s Lecture upon the Working Men’s Party2 and an article on the same subject in the Christian Examiner.3 I liked them both, particularly as there is now a current rising in this Country upon that subject which needs checking. It deserves very attentive consideration from every honest Citizen.

1.

The Edward Everett family had moved to Mystic Grove on 3 Nov. (Brooks, Farm Journal). Edward Everett had left for Washington on 22 Nov., his wife and children remaining at Medford for the winter (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 26 Nov., Everett Papers, MHi).

2.

Edward Everett’s Lecture on the Workingmen’s Party, delivered at the Charlestown Lyceum on 6 Oct., had been recently published in Boston as a pamphlet. It is included in Everett’s Orations and Speeches, 4 vols., Boston, 1850, at 1:283–306.

3.

An unsigned essay-review by James T. Austin of Joseph T. Buckingham’s Address Delivered before the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association ... Oct. 7, 1830, Boston, 1830, in the Christian Examiner and General Review, vol. 9 (new ser., vol. 4), p. 250–268 (Nov. 1830).

Sunday. 28th. CFA Sunday. 28th. CFA
Sunday. 28th.

The day was a very fine one. I attended Divine Service all day, and heard Mr. Stetson preach a very able and useful Sermon upon the practice of Slander and Gossip which is so prevalent among us. I like that kind of address, for it is probable that not a single person sat in that Meeting house to whom his words did not in some degree apply. This is the true purpose of the divine Ministry as established on earth, and not the writing a mere collection of beautifully arranged sentences of morals.1 This does not derogate from beauty of style or speaking because only that style of speaking can be worthy of the name of most beautiful, which most perfectly executes the purposes for which the whole Institution is designed. The afternoon’s Sermon was more doctrinal and less valuable.

I amused myself during the rest of the day, dipping a little into Michel Montaigne, with whom I was more amused than ever before. He has much thought delivered in a rambling kind of way. Evening, Messrs. Jonathan Brooks and his son Saml., came up and passed the whole evening, tolerably pleasantly.

1.

Both the sermon on slander and gossip and CFA’s strongly approving reaction to the choice of subject may have had a topical significance at this time beyond the general suitability of the lesson: “Boston has been in a state of consternation owing to a little scandalous peccadillo which has occurred and crushed all the interest of the European News and almost of internal politics. It is as high in its grade as the Knap murder and conducted with all the deliberation which rendered that incident so awful. The Lovelace began with bad 372books at the age of 12 and completed the Seduction at 14 and it has come out on the eve of the marriage of the lassy aged 22 because she would not agree to infringe the rights of matrimony. It is a New Bedford affair. The Mother gone distracted” (LCA to Mrs. JA2, 26 Nov., Adams Papers).