Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 23d. CFA Friday. 23d. CFA
Friday. 23d.

Morning cloudy and dark but it did not rain until night. I went to Boston today. Called at my Office but could not get in. I left my Key at Mr. Elliot’s,1 and he went to Salem where he left his. So that both of us were in fine condition. Had Mr. Peabody come at the same moment his plight would not have been one bit better. It was lucky for me that I had other occupation. My father had requested me to call upon Mr. A. H. Everett and give him the MS about the Federalists.2 After going to my House and making the arrangements which I proposed, I went to his. And though I had intended remaining for fifteen minutes Mr. Buckingham the Editor of the Courier came in, and I immediately retired. Perhaps it might be a curious question to know how this alliance has been forming.3 But I meddle not with such secrets. I then went to see Mrs. Frothingham, then to the Athenaeum, then to see Mr. Brooks, then on various Commissions, then to see Edmund Quincy and so the morning was consumed. I returned to Quincy to dine.

Afternoon, finished the ninth book of the letters to Atticus still de-144scribing his distress, his shame, his fear and his knowledge of the right with his indisposition to pursue it. Bacon’s Essay on Prophecies.

Evening heavy showers. Sat with the Ladies. Music. Afterwards, Affairs of 1830 and the Spectator.

1.

William Elliot Jr., an attorney, occupied the office in the 23 Court Street building formerly rented by D. A. Simmons (M/CFA/3).

2.

On 16 Sept. A. H. Everett in a letter to JQA (Adams Papers) had reminded him of his promise to lend Everett “your last letter to the Boston Gentlemen on the Hartford Convention.” JQA had replied (see above, entry for 19 Sept., note) saying that he would send the MS according to promise but that “it would not be fit for public inspection without severe revisal”; asking Everett to mark those passages “of which you would advise the omission” and to make comments to accompany the MS on its return (The letter is printed in AHR , 11:340–343 [1906]). In December, after a “little fillip” from JQA, Everett returned the MS to CFA (JQA to CFA, 13 Dec; CFA to JQA, 31 Dec., LbC; both in Adams Papers). Because JQA and Harrison Gray Oris were moved by political developments toward a reconciliation in 1832, JQA then abandoned any thought of publication; see below, entry for 17 Dec. 1832, note. On the later history of the MS, see vol. 3:63.

3.

CFA’s and JQA’s subsequent mistrust of A. H. Everett’s political stance may, in part, reflect this incident.

Saturday 24th. CFA Saturday 24th. CFA
Saturday 24th.

Lovely day after the Rain. Amused myself in writing my Diary, then in reading a part of the third Olynthiac. This I find is commonly put as the first of these three. It is much in the style of the rest. The same clearness, the same force. They are all worthy of attentive study, and while here I believe I shall confine myself to them. They comprise the whole book of Mounteney which I am now studying. Read some Numbers of the Federalist upon the Constitution of the House of Representatives. T. B. Adams Jr. called in and consulted me about the form requisite to make a Will. I gave him the best advice I could.

After dinner, read the tenth book of the Letters to Atticus to which I may apply much the same remarks I made yesterday. My way of life here is almost too quiet for my benefit if not for my taste. When I get into the common bustle of the City, it bewilders me. Yet if I had my way, I would not do any thing else. The din of arms or of Carts is not to my taste. Read Bacon’s Essay on Ambition, which has much politic truth, but little moral truth.

Evening with the Ladies. Afterwards I finished the Affairs of 1830 and the usual numbers of the Spectator.

Sunday. 25th. CFA Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

The day was very fine. As usual I attended Divine Service all day. Mr. Lamson of Dedham preached.1 Texts. Matthew 6. 34. “Take 145therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I. Thessalonians 4. II. “That you study to be quiet and to do your own business.” The first Sermon was an examination of the doctrine of the Text, which does in fact require explaining—The Epicurean system being based upon very much the same words. Mr. Lamson thinks the intention was to deprecate over-anxiety to the obtaining of the things of this world. This takes off the attention of man from higher objects and worthier feelings, and so indeed it is. The passion for wealth is perhaps the most universal on the Globe. Its operation is to narrow the liberal feelings, to check nobility of soul. If there is any reproach to be made to people in this Quarter it is this. The Afternoon Sermon was upon the Meddler, the busy body and his unfavourable influence upon Society. Both discourses were sensible and adapted to the practical course of life. This is the use of a Clergyman. Mr. Lamson and Miss Smith dined with us.

I read in the Afternoon a Sermon of Massillon’s, making the last of the Petit Carême. It was upon the triumph of Religion. Colossians. 2. 15. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” He shews that the glory of the world has three great obstacles in it’s way. The Envy of greatness, the influence of the Passions, and the decay of all things. Religion is the only basis upon which stability is marked. This addressed to a King was undoubtedly sound advice. But this and all the rest might as well have been pronounced to a Stone. Louis 15 was corrupt, and his Court profligate beyond most of his predecessors. And Massillon’s Oratory remains to explain another moral lesson of the weakness of human nature.

Evening, the Misses Greenleaf2 and Mr. and Mrs. J. Quincy Jr. Some Music. I read afterwards a part of Gillies Greece3 and the Spectator.

1.

Alvan Lamson was the Congregational minister at Dedham ( Mass. Register, 1831).

2.

The daughters of Thomas Greenleaf, Eliza and Mary Ann; see vol. 2:153.

3.

John Gillies, The History of Ancient Greece, Its Colonies, and Conquests, was first published in 2 vols. at London in 1786. A copy of this edition is among JA’s books at the Boston Public Library ( Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 102) and of another among JQA’s at the Boston Athenaeum ( Catalogue of JQA’s Books , p. 97).