Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 8th. CFA Saturday. 8th. CFA
Saturday. 8th.

Morning rainy and dark. I went to the Office as usual. The second of my numbers appeared in the Advocate.1 I do not think it equal to the first. The editor has also made a few corrections, some of which are no improvements.2 I see in one or two a distrust of my information, 415which I do not wonder at, but yet cannot admire. These are some of the difficulties against which young men always have to struggle, and I trust that they will not succeed in discouraging me.

Time taken up writing Diary and reading Lingard. A call from Deacon Danl. Spear of Quincy about the Pew of the Episcopal Church, the balance for which I paid.3 Took my usual walk notwithstanding the rain.

Afternoon, working upon Antimasonry. Finished No. 7. but am much dissatisfied with it. Shall have to write it over. I have not got that power yet, which enables a person at the first dash to give thoughts their most effective form. How labour saving such a power is.

Evening quiet at home. My way of life here in Boston, is the most pacific, secluded kind of thing imaginable. I see few, know few and trouble myself with few. Read to my Wife, the lives of Roubiliac and Banks, Sculptors, and with her more of Malvina. Afterwards I hammered away upon German, and found my progress not so much impeded. Understand the point of two or three Fables. I have a notion that these are not the easiest things possible to begin with.

1.

Page 2, cols. 3–4.

2.

“You must make great allowance for errors of the Press. My sense is most shockingly mangled and my friend Hallett now and then amends a sentence in such a way as by no means to improve it” (CFA to JQA, 31 Dec., LbC, Adams Papers).

3.

JQA had subscribed $100 toward the building of Christ Church in Quincy and had authorized the purchase of a pew at a price not to exceed $25 (JQA to CFA, 25 Nov., Adams Papers).

Sunday. 9th. CFA Sunday. 9th. CFA
Sunday. 9th.

Mist in the morning and hard rain at night. I attended divine service throughout the day notwithstanding. Mr. Frothingham preached. Morning from 1. Peter 2. 16. “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” A discussion of true liberty with a general view of the effect of the Reformation in giving it a true signification. I am sorry I did not follow a sensible sermon more closely. Afternoon from Colossians 3. 15. “Be ye thankful” upon Gratitude as a social, a domestic and a Religious duty. One thing I have to reproach myself with, the allowing of unsuitable thoughts in the house of God. Why it is, I do not know, but it seems to me as if I no sooner was seated, than my mind begins to run upon some view of the subject of Masonry, or my temporal affairs, or any thing in short but what is before me. This must be corrected.

Read a Sermon upon the Story of the penitent female, from Luke 7. 37 and following verses, by Massillon. The text is too long, as it 416includes in fact much of the Chapter, for me to quote it. Subject. Repentance. Division, 1st the common idea that repentance is barren — not true, for it must be followed by reparation, 2d that it is bitter — not true, for it brings with it, its own peculiar consolation. Many of the Sermons of Massillon are not only repetitious in their parts, but also of each other. This however must necessarily be the case, where a man writes and preaches much.

Evening quietly at home. Read more of Malvina but as my Wife was writing Letters, I began Ruffhead’s Life of Pope.1 Afterwards, more of Lessing’s Fables which I understand much better.

We heard today of the extraordinary result of a marriage intended to have taken place at Andover. My old acquaintance and my Wife’s Relation, Elizabeth Phillips, was jilted on her wedding evening, when she was dressed for the Ceremony. “There’s many a slip” &ca.2

1.

The edition at MQA of Owen Ruffhead, The Life of Alexander Pope, London, 1769, has JQA’s bookplate affixed.

2.

“The hour appointed for the ceremony was eight in the evening—at six Mr. Spaulding made his appearance elegantly dressed, and found most of the family assembled in the sitting-room. Not seeing Elizabeth among them he expressed a wish to see her alone and passed through to the other parlor where she was sitting. She remarked to him as he entered, that he looked unusually pale and low-spirited and told him (in a joking way) that his appearance was to her not very flattering. He then said to her, ‘I am perfectly miserable, I cannot be married this evening. You must consent that the wedding be deferred for a month.’ Elizabeth with great spirit answered, ‘We are married this evening or never’. After some little conversation with him she summoned her Mother who endeavored to draw from him an explanation of his extraordinary conduct, but he had none to give.... After remonstrating with him for a while Aunt Phillips desired him to leave her house forever, and with great deliberation he rose, put on his india-rubbers, tied a handkerchief about his neck and left the house.... The next morning he sent to Elizabeth the keys of his house and left Andover.... Previous to the evening of the Wedding he had been a most devoted lover, and had shown greater anxiety than any one else to have his new establishment in order for his bride”

(Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 9 Dec).

“The whole transaction, from beginning to end, has been published (without calling names) in the Haverhill paper ... much to the annoyance of Aunt Phillips and her family” (same to same, 12 Dec.; both letters in Everett MSS, MHi).