Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

Morning pleasant. I was roused in the night by my Wife who felt herself sick, but I went to sleep again and did not get up again until 1/2 past six. Read part of Vida’s Art of Poetry which I had commenced yesterday, and went to the Office where I was again occupied in writing a Bible letter all day. They are worth the trouble I take with them, but they allow me time for little else.

I returned home and found that my Wife was in labour. This terminated at a little after three o’clock in the birth of a daughter, and the Mother and Child both tolerably well. Thus am I at last a Parent. A new relation in life is fixed upon me of which I hope I understand the importance. When I look back upon past time, my Engagement, my marriage and the fears and hopes which possessed me, and which were spread throughout my writing whether in this Journal or in my letters, I cannot restrain a loud cry of gratitude to God for the very merciful manner in which he has heard my Prayers. In my record of the 10th of September of last year I expressed my doubts of ever being blessed with Children. This is now removed, and my feelings are now perfectly at ease. But it is now that I have still greater need of divine protection, as the responsibilities which I assumed begin to make themselves felt. May the Deity look with favour 111upon my virtuous efforts, and support me through all days of suffering and trial. My heart was relieved upon being told my Wife was safely through, most incredibly. My Mother did not arrive until six o’clock.

Evening quiet though I could do little or nothing.1 Read the Spectator and took possession of my lonely bed.


CFA wrote letters to JQA and to JA2 announcing the birth of a daughter (JQA, Diary, 14 Aug.). The letter to JQA is missing, but that to JA2, forwarded by JQA at CFA’s request, is in the Adams Papers. A few weeks later the parents chose for the infant the name Louisa Catherine; in The Adams Papers she is designated as LCA2. In 1854 she was to marry Charles Kuhn, and her death in Italy, at the Bagni di Lucca, in 1870 is related in a moving passage in The Education of Henry Adams, p. 287–288. See also HA, Letters, ed. Ford, vol. 1 passim and Adams Genealogy.

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

Morning pleasant. Arose a little after my usual hour, probably from the fatigue occasioned by excitement yesterday. Found my Wife had rested well and was as quiet as could be expected. The Infant is small but quite healthy to all appearance. I was relieved to find she was in little or no trouble.

Attended divine Service all day and heard Dr. Harris preach,1 in the morning from Luke. 17. 20, 21. “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or Lo, there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you.” This text has abundant meaning. It conveys the great lesson of moderation to human desires. Men are always looking to some sensual enjoyment as the great end of virtuous conduct. They form ideas of reward, from the things that are prized in this life, which they are continually grasping for. Here they are taught that virtue is its own reward. That the kingdom of heaven is in a happy breast. Perhaps the Dr. did not say this, but something like it, the rest I supply from my reflections.

His afternoon text was from Hosea 6.3. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” This Text may be considered as an encouragement to exertion in the improvement of the spirit. It holds out the prospect of advancement in knowledge, of advantage to be gained from perseverance. Hence naturally follows exhortation to that effect. Dr. Harris is an old Clergyman of respectable character and extensive acquirement. But he does not appear to me to possess much natural power, and his Sermons are drily delivered. I called to see Mrs. Frothingham, who is yet in her room but pretty well. Her infant is large and healthy.


On my return home, I read Massillon’s fourth Sermon in the Petit Careme. Luke 11. 24. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.” The subject, was the increase of misery attending high rank unless supported by piety and virtue. He illustrates this in three ways, 1. by the power acquired by the Passions, when there is no inducement to control them, which operates as a constant goad. 2. by the Ennui occasioned by Satiety. 3. by the inevitable eccentricity of conduct occasioned by the total absence of method in life. The Sermon is a Corollary from the first half of the preceding one.

Evening. Conversation with my Mother. My man-servant B. P. Sawtell having for the last four days been the cause of great anxiety finally left me tonight. He selected an unfortunate moment, but I was on the whole relieved at being rid of him. Read a little of Vida and the Spectator.


T. M. Harris, D.D., was the Congregational minister at Dorchester ( Mass. Register, 1831).