Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 29th. CFA Thursday. 29th. CFA
Thursday. 29th.

This was the day appointed according to custom, for returning thanks to the divine being for so many favours and so much bounty as he has been pleased to bestow upon us. For my own part, I hope I am sufficiently impressed with a sense of my share of them. I hope I am properly aware of the duty of neither exulting nor repining at the situation in which I have been placed. How much during the last year as during every year, I have had cause to be thankful for. How unmixed my prosperity has been. My only prayer is to deserve by my conduct no discontinuance of these blessings—To do my duty in this world as I ought, in whatever relation I may be placed.

Read in the morning a good deal of Vasari’s Life of Corregio and the supplement to it. Attended divine Worship and heard Mr. Frothingham from Job. 22. 17—18. “Who said unto God, What can the Almighty do for them. Yet he filled their houses with good things.” An allusion to the practice of annual thanksgiving whether in good or evil fortune—A return for mercies bestowed even when the contrary seem to predominate. The practice of thankfulness forms a habit of grateful 409reliance upon the justice and mercy of the Deity. It is so, and must be so. Suffering in this world is natural. Prosperity is not so, if long continued. Therefore man must not complain if he experiences what he was born to experience, and he must be thankful for the good gifts which he has no right to claim.

Took a long walk. The day was lovely. I have not known such before in this climate, so late in the Season. Dined at Mr. Frothingham’s. Nobody but my Wife and Henry Brooks. Drank Champagne and tea. Returned to my Study for two hours. Looked over Macbeth, and one of the Nouveaux Contes of Marmontel. Wondered at Shakespeare’s perfect acquaintance with Dialogue. Returned again to Mr. Frothingham’s for my Wife who spent the Evening there.

Friday. 30th. CFA Friday. 30th. CFA
Friday. 30th.

Clouds and rain. At the Office. Received letters from both my Parents.1 They are in a tone of uncommon despondency. My father seems to foresee nothing but storms in the approaching Session of Congress. I suppose he will have a due share of them. And his inflexible character will perpetually expose him to suffer by them when others would escape. Be it so. His mind is a deeply conscientious one. His course is always the consequence of a self impressed conviction of duty, which though it may occasionally be wrong, can never fail in the end to be appreciated. I ought not to feel any dread of consequences which may fall upon me. I am but a worm in comparison with the interests of the Country.

Passed a considerable part of the morning at the Athenaeum. It was little better than wasted. Tried to walk but the weather was too bad. Afternoon, began No. 6. of Antimasonry. I find I can accomplish about the same quantity every day. Quiet evening. My Wife continued Malvina, and I read Nollekens.2 Afterwards, I read a German fable with a little more ease.

1.

The letters from LCA written on the 24th and from JQA on the 25th are in the Adams Papers. For JQA’s letter see above, 27 Nov., note, and below, 8 Dec., note. the notes to the entries for 27 Nov., above, and for 8 Dec., below.

2.

That is, the life of the sculptor Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823) which is included in the 3d volume of Cunningham’s Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters and Sculptors.