Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 15th. CFA Saturday. 15th. CFA
Saturday. 15th.

Morning mild, cloudy and wet. At the Office. Great talk about the 421proclamation, people seem to expect a new era. A letter from my father this morning seems to me to give very much the most sound view of this question. The Paper is good so far as it goes. But every thing else the Government is doing is calculated to depress the best interests of the Nation. Let us see the end of it.1 I have little hope. A storm is coming and the only way for every man to do is to gather in his sail and lie quietly to. It may bring us fair weather and new breezes. Walk, after reading a good deal of our friend Dr. Lingard.

Afternoon, quietly at home reading and writing. Continued No. 8. But the publication of my numbers has ceased, in consequence of the more exciting topics of Carolina and Government politics. I am always unfortunate in my times, and never shall succeed as a political writer. Let me turn then as soon as possible to Literature. Even there, is a blank.

Evening quiet at home. Read part of Malvina. Lockhart’s Life of Burns, a pleasing book, though I could never form such an estimate of the Poet as he and others have done. German as usual.

1.

JQA to CFA, 11 Dec. (Adams Papers). For the letter see above, entry for 14 Dec., note, and below, that for 17 Dec., note.

Sunday. 16th. CFA Sunday. 16th. CFA
Sunday. 16th.

Colder but still cloudy and dull. I went to Meeting all day. In the morning heard my Classmate Cunningham from Psalms. 107. 43. “Whoso is wise, and will observe those things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.” He discoursed upon the benefits as superior to the pains experienced in life. He considered the various supports of human nature in times of suffering as well as its enjoyments—Meaning to draw a favourable picture of human life. His discourse was terribly common-place. Cunningham has not yet fulfilled his early promise. He graduated first in my Class. I never stood near him in Scholarship. Yet now I think I could have written a rather better Sermon. Perhaps this is mere vanity for I am not likely to be tried. Afternoon. Mr. Parkman. 1. Corinthians 10. 12. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” The vicissitudes of life, wealth and poverty, happiness, misery, reputation and disgrace. A good practical Sermon.

Read Massillon afterwards, upon the Communion. Matthew 21. 5. “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee.” The question involved in this Discourse is one of deep interest to every Christian. I have endeavoured seriously to reflect upon it, and my conclusion has been that a man ought to be thoroughly confirmed 422in the habits of virtue, and of an age to authorize confidence in their continuance before he partakes of it. This Sermon goes even farther. It requires 1. Conversion. 2. Expiatory penitence. 3. Active Christian virtue. Here is almost too much, for that person shall have a marvellous self conceit who could bring to the Altar such claims of fitness in himself.

The days are so short I can do little else of a Sunday. Evening, my Wife was writing, so that I read Ruffhead’s biography of Pope. Some striking lines from the Essay on Criticism. Afterwards Malvina, and German.