Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 19th. CFA Sunday. 19th. CFA
Sunday. 19th.

Nothing can be worse than our Weather has been for a considerable time past. The Alternations have been so rapid from cold to warm, and from dry to wet that the systems of People must be severely tried. I attended Divine Service all day. Heard in the morning a young man by name Chapman,1 a brother of him who was my Class-mate at College. His Text from Matthew 18. 3. “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” The subject, the purity necessary to a holy character. The Preacher did not lean to the doctrine of innate depravity for he spoke of Children as perfectly innocent and pure. Indeed it is difficult to make any thing out of the Text unless we suppose Children to be pure. Yet what becomes of the great orthodox doctrine if we do. Mr. Ripley preached in the Afternoon from Matthew 14. 23. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray.” He inculcated the propriety of private meditation and secret prayer, giving in the mean while something of a reproof to the prevailing fashion in these days of resorting to sympathy and public excitement for religious feeling. There was much sense in what he said, but he is dry in manner, as are nearly all of our Clergy.

I lounged over Spence’s Anecdotes of Pope an hour or two and read Massillon’s Sermon upon the small number of the elect. “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the Prophet, and none of them was cleansed saving Naaman the Syrian.” He gives three reasons why there can be very few saved. 1. They must either be innocent, or having been sinners, truly repentant. Of the first there are scarcely any, and no great number of the other. 2. Most people are led away by the voice of the Majority, and pay implicit deference to the regulations of the world which are not compatible with their salvation. 3. The rules which are most commonly rejected, are the most necessary to that salvation. This must be the Sermon which is said to have produced so powerful an effect that all the Auditors rose at one passage. That bold one in which he imagines the presence of Christ. On the whole the Sermon is a very powerful though far from a convincing one. There is too much effect in it, too much harshness in sentiment to be agreeable to my notion of the Deity and Religion.


Quiet Evening. Began the Old Testament to my Wife which I propose to read to her two Chapters nightly. Read a good deal of Grahame’s second volume.


George Chapman, Harvard 1828, had completed his divinity studies there in 1831 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

Monday. 20th. CFA Monday. 20th. CFA
Monday. 20th.

Snow, rain, and hail. Every disagreeable thing in the way of Weather. My morning was mostly taken up in reading the Memorial of Mr. Gallatin upon the Protecting duties, which my Father sent me this morning.1 It is long and I did not get through it. It seems to me well adapted to the purpose intended of destroying the Restrictive System and contains many arguments so specious as to make them appear to most people who do not probe, perfectly sound. I wonder if I could answer them. This is setting my powers in a pretty high Scale. But “faint heart ne’er won fair lady.” I will study it over at least. Went home directly as it was rather too wet to take a walk.

The Afternoon was passed in reading the first Oration against Antony which is a mere excuse of himself for going away and returning with some strictures upon the wonderful facility with which the Consul issued new parts of Caesar’s last directions. Here was the great error of the Patriotic party. They confirmed all the Acts of the Tyrant when dead, whom they were so desirous to get rid of while living because he was a Tyrant. They established the Government and destroyed only the Man. No wonder then, that another was soon found to fill his place. Quiet evening at home. Read part of Ariosto to my Wife.


On 30 Jan. the Speaker presented to the House a memorial drawn up by Albert Gallatin as chairman of a committee appointed by the supporters of free trade in convention at Philadelphia, Sept.–Oct. 1831. The memorial, a pamphlet of nearly ninety pages, immediately became the most authoritative of the statements of the antiprotectionist position. Henry Clay, in his tariff speech in the Senate, 2–6 Feb., in defence of the “American System” (see below, entry for 6 March), devoted much of his attention to a refutation of Gallatin’s arguments, and he may have been drawn to speak at all at that time by the appearance of the memorial. JQA had received a copy even before its presentation in the House. (Daily National Intelligencer, 1 Feb., p. 3, col. 4; HA, Gallatin , p. 640–642; JQA, Diary, 27 Jan.)

Tuesday. 21st. CFA Tuesday. 21st. CFA
Tuesday. 21st.

A little snow. Morning at the Office where I finished reading Mr. Gallatin’s Memorial and also Mr. McDuffie’s Report from the Committee of Ways and Means upon the same subject.1 The latter is a ranting thing altogether unworthy of a public body such as our Con-245gress. I reflected more upon the other, and concluded at least to make an experiment of commenting upon it. Went to the Athenaeum to get a Book upon the subject of the Trade with Great Britain and from thence went home. In the Afternoon I wrote as much as I thought would make one Paper upon the general view of the subject but postponed going into a particular examination until I had thought and read more upon it. Quiet Evening at home. Read some of Lord Sheffield’s famous Pamphlet which laid down the doctrine how we should be treated after we had succeeded in being independent.2


George McDuffie of South Carolina, chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means in the House, had submitted the Committee’s report, drawn up by him, on 8 Feb.; the report was flatly opposed to protectionism (Daily National Intelligencer, 9 Feb., p. 3, col. 4).


Observations on the Commerce of the American States, London, 1783, a pamphlet by John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield, in opposition to the bill introduced by Pitt proposing to relax the navigation laws in favor of the United States.