Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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).

Monday 15th. CFA Monday 15th. CFA
Monday 15th.

Morning very warm, and so it continued until I thought it might be classed among the warmest days we have had this Summer. I read some of Vida. But the sudden disappearance of my Man Servant besides worrying me, has thrown all the labour upon my shoulders, and I consequently was obliged to walk first to Mrs. Frothingham’s, then to market, so that it was late before I reached my Office. I accomplished my usual Diary, which has grown so much as to make it no trifle, and wrote a large portion of the tenth of the Bible letters so that I was not altogether without producing something. Returned home and found my Wife and Child still holding on pretty well. This is my present care and if it go on favourably I shall hold it as one among my many blessings.

Returned home and in the Afternoon read the Correspondence between Plancus and Cicero. It shows good intention on his part, but the Republic was not to be saved. How could it be when Cicero advises a military man friendly to the authority of the Senate to pay no attention to it’s orders, but go on doing and let them approve afterwards. How is Cicero justified in giving this advice? If it was not right, then is he to blame. If it was right, the government was not worth the blood it cost to support it.

Evening quiet at home. Mr. W. Lee called not knowing that my 113Wife was confined. Read Vida, and the Spectator, besides finishing Paradise Regained. I believe the reason it interests so little is, that the hero is perfect and known to be so which takes from the interest of a story by disclosing the invariable result. The little action there is, is uniform, with a uniform termination. So that the occasional snatches of bright Poetry are not enough to keep the reader alive. I would say more but I dilate too much. How do my thoughts agree with the Critics?