Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 20th. CFA Sunday. 20th. CFA
Sunday. 20th.

An exceedingly heavy rain all day and more particularly towards night. I laboured all my spare time upon the Catalogue, but attended Divine Service as usual. Mr. Frothingham preached in the morning from Matthew 11. 19. “Wisdom is justified of her children.” I lost the thread so cannot retrace it. The afternoon was from 10 Job. 4–5 “Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? Are thy days as the days of man.” The subject was the justification of the dispensations 301of divine providence from the complaints of man by explaining the difference with which things are viewed. 1. Man is hasty. Providence is slow. 2. Man is confined to particulars. Providence sees the whole. 3. Man must form his opinions from superficial examination. Providence from things invisible. 4. Man’s is limited in time, the Deity is eternal. It was a very good Sermon.

I read one of Massillon’s Sermons afterwards. Upon the evidence of Christianity. John 8. 46. “If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” He takes up two objections to the practice of the Christian precepts, commonly urged. 1. That where conscience is at ease, there is no need of them. 2. Where these precepts are so differently construed and hard to be understood, they do not call for attention. He urges in opposition to this, the force of conscience and the simplicity of the spirit of Christianity. On this last point he is good.

The Baby is still sick and fractious which very much wearies us as well as affects our spirits. Finished reading Paley’s book this evening with which I have been very much pleased.

Monday 21st. CFA Monday 21st. CFA
Monday 21st.

Morning clear but windy, cold and disagreeable. I continued my Catalogue and then went to the Office. Received a letter from my father informing me of the departure of my Mother from Washington and the probability of her being here some day this week. He also gives me news about the Tariff &ca. not of a very agreeable nature. He deserves credit for his very independent political course, but it is rather an injurious one in this Quarter, and likely to add to his unpopularity.1

After dinner, I went to Quincy. Found every thing in very good order. On the whole, more progress has been made in setting things right this year than during the three last. I am myself surprised at the result.2 I gave all the directions that remained to give which were not in great number, and returned home.

The Dr. pronounces the child better, and I think she is, but I still doubt the expediency of carrying her away from him. He does not however, so that I ought to be satisfied. My Wife and I paid old Mrs. Dexter a visit this evening. She is a woman of sane mind with a rather broken body. Returned home and continued Catalogue.

1.

“I expect to report a [Tariff] Bill tomorrow; but what is to become of it and of myself for reporting it, is in the Council of higher Powers. My Bank Report extinguishes all the fire of my Southern friends. I suppose the Tariff Bill will demolish me in the North, and then —

“Why then for the Biography of the last and the Oaks of the next Century”

(JQA to CFA, 16 May, Adams Papers; 302printed in part in MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 19 [1905]:519).
2.

LCA, on her arrival, expressed her pleasure in the changes she found at the Old House. To JQA she wrote, “I find every thing here in beautiful order and you would hardly know the Place” (26 May, Adams Papers); and to CFA, “I thank you very much for the improvements which you have made in the house which looks altogether different from what it was last year. And the Garden seems to be in fine order” (26 May, Adams Papers).