Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday 8th. CFA Sunday 8th. CFA
Sunday 8th.

The cold keeps on and renders us all very uncomfortable. I read this morning the numbers of the Society of Useful Knowledge on Planting.1 They are valuable Treatises although they want an elementary fare to be extensively beneficial. I had some idea of writing upon the subject. Attended divine Service and heard Mr. Newell of Cambridge preach. His Text in the morning was I think, Deuteronomy 4. 9, but I am not sure, so will not quote it. The afternoon’s was stated to be from 2 Chronicles 20. 11 but I could not find it there. His 276productions were both of them pretty ambitious ones upon self review. But I think I have stated before that he is not a favourite in my mind, and I find no reason now to alter my opinion. The duty of the Clergy is an arduous one and they should not be harshly criticized, but the duty of the listener is also arduous, sometimes, and he must sometimes be excused.

For the first time for a month my head was not in order from indigestion and it as usual discomposed me. I read twice over however a Sermon of Massillon’s upon Slander. His text from John 2. 24. “But Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew all men.” He divided the Apologies for Slander into three heads. 1. That they are about trifles. 2. That the reports are general. 3. Drawn from the Zeal for the faith. This was another valuable Sermon because it is drawn from an insight into human nature and calculated for good practical benefit. Quiet Evening. Went to bed early on account of my head.

1.

Useful and Ornamental Planting, London, 1832, was a recent issue in the Farmers’ Series of the Library of Useful Knowledge published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, London.

Monday 9th. CFA Monday 9th. CFA
Monday 9th.

Morning clear as usual but cold. I made great progress in Virgil, concluding the tenth book. There is a charm about his Poetry which I never felt before, a pathos in the expressions and a polish in the thought which is passed over by boys always with no more feeling than if it was not there. It is a great mistake I think to submit such things to be hammered over in such a way until return to them at a future moment is disgusting from the Associations it brings up.

At the Office. Did very little. Paid for Stock. Drew the remainder of my Dividends, and before I went to dinner, having settled with Farrar, I found myself more totally denuded of money than I ever recollect being since I have had the care of any.

Returned home and passed the Afternoon in my usual studies which went on very easy. A person called with a request from Miss Longhurst which I propose answering tomorrow. Quiet evening at home. I omitted reading Paley.

Tuesday. 10th. CFA Tuesday. 10th. CFA
Tuesday. 10th.

This is the first day upon which we have felt any thing like pleasant weather. I accomplished a good deal of the Aeneid before going to the Office. But performed little more there than I usually do. Had a visit or two from Quincy people with whom I talked considerably. They let 277me into the state of feeling in the upper part of Quincy. These Country towns are shocking places for men reputed to possess property. If they do not allow themselves to be mangled and mauled to the satisfaction of every man who calls himself poor, the cry against him is that he is hard. My father in the mean time is sucked dry by a parcel of hangers on, who see how things go and wink at it all.

I went in the Afternoon to Quincy, saw the proceedings of the man who has gone there to work, examined the young trees in the Nursery, which I find very much injured by the field mice, and directed what was next to be done. Then went and gave the painter some directions about painting and to Mrs. Adams’ where after remaining a few minutes we returned to town. By we, I mean I. Hull and I, for he accompanied me.

Evening quietly at home, where I read the account of Eugene Aram and his trial in the Newgate Calendar.1 Afterwards Mr. Brooks came in and sat a little while. These expeditions to Quincy ought to be trifling and yet they are fatiguing. Read a little of Bonaparte and Paley.

1.

Bulwer-Lytton’s novel was based upon the actual case of Eugene Aram, schoolmaster, who was tried and executed for murder in 1759.