Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

Morning pleasant and cool. Read some portions of Hazard’s State Papers1 and a little of Chalmers. The more I read, the more I am satisfied of the correctness of my views in the North American. Attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham, but I am mortified in having so continually to record that I cannot follow him. His morning Text was from Philippians 2. 12. “Work out your own Salvation.” He said that the Doctrine commonly adopted was that man being under the original curse pronounced upon the fall of the first of the species was therefore to redeem himself from his original sin. He expressed his dissent from the doctrine. This is one great obstacle in my way. How the words of the Bible can be evaded.

Afternoon, Psalms 19. 11. “In keeping of them there is great reward.” The merit of virtue is in itself and not in any direct advantage to be realized from it. Reward commonly means some personal advantage accruing from the performance or omission of some Act. But the Preacher meant to inculcate the use of virtue in itself as administering to the happiness of the mortal, without reference to any future state of Happiness or Immortality. This is all very well, but I do not think refinement of this kind will often reclaim from vice.

I walked home with Mr. Chadwick and he gave me Mr. Ingham’s Letter to read—A violent attack upon the President.2 What a state of things in our Country! I afterwards read a Sermon from Massillon—Text, Matthew 17. 3. “Behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” The subject was the respect due to religion 107from the great. By religion he means that of faith and practice combined. The views are two, first as it respects themselves. The exalted station given to them on earth makes it more of a duty that they should demean themselves virtuously, second as it respects their inferiors, and the public generally, by spreading a spirit of piety. He goes on to advise the support of religion as an aid to Government, and says that it is a fact, that heresy in the Church has always been connected with rebellion in the State. This is a Jesuitical doctrine. It rests upon the expediency of sustaining a particular Sect without examination of its principles, and is not worthy of the rest of the Sermon. Evening at home. I read as usual the Spectator.


Ebenezer Hazard, Historical Collections; Consisting of State Papers and Other Authentic Documents; Intended as Materials for an History of the United States, 2 vols., Phila., 1792–1794, concerning which, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:109.


The editors have found no further information about S. D. Ingham’s letter, apparently published as a pamphlet, of near this date and of this character. Perhaps it was a version of his address to his constituents in Bucks County, Penna., after his return from Washington in late June, which was printed in the county newspaper. William A. Ingham, Samuel Delucenna Ingham, privately printed, 1910, p. 13.

Monday. 8th. CFA Monday. 8th. CFA
Monday. 8th.

Morning pleasant though Easterly Winds have prevailed all along for some time. I went to the Office and was busy as usual in writing. Copied a large portion of the Bible letters. They certainly lean to the doctrines of the stricter sects and I do not wonder at their consequent desire to have them published. My father came into town and called at my Office for a few moments. He is one upon a Committee of the ΦBK Society about their secrets. He showed me an Anonymous letter about this business of the Pamphlet which is curious enough to be sure.1 Returned home to dinner.

My father and Mr. Brooks dined with us, and we had quite a pleasant time. They left us and my Mother who has been spending a week quite pleasantly here. I had little of the afternoon left and devoted it to making out a Catalogue of my Pamphlets, of which I can make very little use without one.2 And on the whole, I have a pretty valuable collection.

In the Evening Mrs. Saml. Dexter called to see my Mother. She sat half an hour and immediately upon her leaving, Judge Hall came in. He is a little prosaic but very well meaning. Continued my Pamphlet Catalogue in the Evening and read the Spectator.


JQA notes that the letter was signed James Shadel and that in it the writer said he “would call in the course of the day.” The letter’s purport was “an argu-108ment threatening and persuading me to pay for suppressing the pamphlet.” On his return to Quincy he was visited by one Joshua Colburn who informed him that the Jackson and Masonic forces planned to distribute thousands of copies over the country to injure JQA’s chances for the Antimasonic nomination for the Presidency. Colburn also divulged particulars about the publication of the pamphlet. JQA records his refusal to pay anything to suppress and his conviction that the Jackson-men, David Henshaw, collector of customs, and Nathaniel Greene, postmaster, “are at the bottom of this as they were of the Cunningham Correspondence. Their sting is now invenomed by the fear of losing their places. There is also Masonic Charity in the Cup” (JQA, Diary, 8 Aug.).


A catalogue of CFA’s pamphlet collection in his handwriting, containing publications dated as late as 1833, perhaps a continuation or revision of the catalogue here mentioned, is in Adams Papers (Microfilms, Reel No. 326).