Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. November 1st. CFA Sunday. November 1st. CFA
Sunday. November 1st.

The morning was misty and wet, with the air cold and chilly. I attended Divine Service alone all day, at Mr. Frothingham’s, and heard 64him deliver two Sermons, the one in the Morning upon the character and sufferings of Christ adapted to the service of the Communion, the other in the afternoon upon the inutility of the many controversies of the day upon abstractions. I agree with him in this, and approved the Sermon much. He stands almost alone in this doctrine however, as the Church here on all sides is rather of a Church militant. And this is probably one reason why as he makes no exciting stir, he makes no proselytes. I do not pretend to influence any man’s opinion but I think it would be desirable on all sides that peace should be the offspring of religious belief, for otherwise it rather hardens than improves bad passions. I read on my return home, Jeremy Taylor’s Exhortation to the Imitation of the Life of Jesus Christ.1 He is a powerful writer of the old school, and his piety and earnestness make a warm style which is at once pleasing and affecting. He is clear withal and lays down rules of moral conduct applicable to human life, which is after all the great end of religion if preachers would but remember it. I read also Walpole’s Castle of Otranto which I have long ago read, and I confess was better pleased with it from memory than from the re-perusal.2 In the evening continued reading Clarissa Harlowe to Abby, and finished the Gospels.

1.

A part of the matter prefatory (1:3–17) to the Life of Christ.

2.

Horace Walpole’s famous “Gothic” novel, first published 1764.

Monday 2d. CFA Monday 2d. CFA
Monday 2d.

I had two hours of this morning tolerably uninterrupted in which time I read much of the rules of Pleading in Marshall’s Law of Insurance. The weather was very chilly and disagreeable, a continuation of the storm of Saturday which in it’s effects proves much worse than I had supposed it to be. Mr. Curtis came in, to learn what my father desired to see him about on Saturday which I told him and he seemed quite sorry. It does not amount to much after all.1 Col. Jones the Auctioneer at Weston came to notify me that a sale of the Wood at Weston would take place on the 13th day of this month. I was glad to hear of this as I began to be apprehensive that I should not get the business done and it is desirable on account of my father’s situation that it should bring him some Money. I can hardly dare to hope although it is worth a considerable sum. The sale I shall feel obliged to attend. He had not left me before Titcomb came, being brought up by my threat that I would prosecute him directly. I got nothing out of him but promises, which he supposed might go down smoother from the circumstance of his bringing a Client with him. A certain Captain 65Lufkin who wanted to get his share of a Mackerel trip which he had earned some time in the year 1824. This is the first Client I have had since my Marriage. His case is a doubtful one, and after examination, I postponed a decision until he obtained stronger papers, which he promised to do and then left me.2 My Uncle, T. B. Adams called and finding me so busy went away again. He was doubtless a little surprised. Thus my morning was fully taken up.

After dinner, I continued my Catalogue, and read another portion of the Oration of Aeschines which was a little more difficult. I believe I mastered it at last. As Abby had gone out, I had two hours more which I spent in reading La Harpe on the remainder of Cicero. This Author writes well, but was too full of the French revolution not to crowd in much matter foreign from his subject, which however interesting to an auditory politically excited, agrees little with calm literary disquisition. I came across a violent tirade against the excesses of Robespierre, this evening, which find their true place not in discussions of Oratory but in History. At eight I went through the rain to Mrs. Frothingham’s for Abby, and found there, Mr. and Mrs. Everett, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Abby. We had a little Supper and on the whole a pleasant time, but I felt a little silent. I do not know how it is but there is something about the singular character of Mr. Everett that shuts me up completely. Returned at ten.

1.

The papers of administration of the estate of Thomas Boylston which JQA had sent to Petty Vaughan on 29 Sept. not having reached him, JQA had on the 31st, without Curtis’ help, secured a duplicate set, had them authenticated at the offices of Probate and of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and turned them over to CFA for dispatch by the Amethyst sailing the next day (JQA, Diary, 31 Oct.).

2.

Nothing further is heard of Captain Lufkin’s claim unless the action taken by CFA against a member of the crew of the ship Gold Hunter is in pursuit of it. See entry for 16 Nov., below.