Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 29th. CFA Saturday. 29th. CFA
Saturday. 29th.

Fine day notwithstanding a little flurry of snow that fell early in the morning. I went to the Office as usual. Time taken up in drawing off my Accounts for the beginning of the year. My father’s funds never were so much in the Minority.1 My fifth number appeared in the Advocate with a recommendation of special attention from the Editor.2 I think I have already expressed an opinion that it was the 431best of the series. Whether they succeed or not in attracting attention, my duty is done. And in all future time, I shall endeavour to follow in that line which my conscience points out to me to be right, without any consideration of the mere results to myself. It may be that my interests may not be served by any such Quixotic course. But I feel as if there were other considerations than these to sway a man even on this earth. Difficult as it is to look constantly to the point of duty, yet I know no reason why I should not even consider it my interest to attempt it. Read some of Lingard and took a walk.

Afternoon, began the History of the Ligue by Anquetil.3 A portion of the French Annals of great interest as displaying the manner by which the Reformation affected that people in contradistinction to the English.

As my Wife was out in the evening, I also read a part of the second Philippic of Cicero. Powerful it is indeed. The Attention coming to it fresh again relishes it much more. Mr. E. Price Greenleaf took tea with us. He has much pleasant conversation. Principally upon South Carolina which State is going perfectly mad. God only knows the consequences. Called for my Wife at Mrs. Gorham’s at nine o’clock. Read German afterwards.

1.

The meaning would seem to be that never before was the income for the quarter so much less than the expenditures.

2.

The editor’s note inviting “special attention to the 5th No. of our valuable correspondent ‘F’” is at p. 2, col. 2, the article itself at cols. 3–5. Copy for No. 5 in CFA’s hand, differing substantially from the printed text, is in the Adams Papers along with copy for Nos. 6–9 and notes for additional numbers (Microfilms, Reel No. 319). Publication of the series stopped for a time with No. 5 but was afterward resumed (CFA, Diary, 21–22 May 1833).

3.

Editions of Louis Pierre Anquetil, L’esprit de la Ligue ... les 16 et 17 siècles, published in 3 vols. at Paris in 1771 and in 1783 are at MQA. The edition of 1771 has JQA’s bookplate and an inscription on the half-title of each volume: “George Washington Adams from his Grandfather 1825.” Also at MQA is CFA’s set of Histoire de France by the same author, 15 vols., Paris, 1817.

Sunday. 30th. CFA Sunday. 30th. CFA
Sunday. 30th.

Fine day although rather cold. I passed an hour of my morning in reading Montaigne’s Essays and this time I did succeed in finding a good deal that was original and striking. His ideas upon the subject of place and occupation and the agitation of human affairs are worth considering. A man most certainly may make himself very unnecessarily uncomfortable by meddling in matters where he has no occasion so to do. But then a man must not hide his talent in a Napkin. He ought not to go to sleep over his work.

Attended divine Service. Mr. Frothingham preached for the third 432time upon the danger of abusing the privileges of the age we live in. Text the same as last Sunday. He considered the three positions. Every man has a right to all the liberty he can acquire. Every man has a right to all the property and 3. to all the power and influence he can acquire. He defined and limited them. It was an excellent Sermon. A great deal of sense and spirit in the mode of treating the doctrines of the levellers of the present day. In the afternoon, we had Mr. Huntoon from Bangor, Maine—A man who was formerly settled at Canton and whom I have heard at Quincy.1 Text from Ephesians, 4. 1. “I therefore beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Subject, the religious character. He urged the strictness of the injunctions of the New Testament, and condemned the Lukewarmness of nominal Christians. When a man talks after this fashion, it is just as well to call him to a strict, definite explanation of what he means. Does he mean to make a Monk of a Man at once, to spend all his time in devotion, or does he refer to the performance of all the moral, religious, social and political duties for which Man seems to be fitted by the Creator. If so, let him define how they can be best fulfilled. That is a practical end, and free from confusing generalities. Mr. Huntoon is nevertheless a strong thinker. Some of his views were clear and able.

Afterwards, I read a Sermon of Massillon’s upon the Passion of our Saviour. Text, John, 19. 30. “It is finished.” But it was a general view of the whole Chapter. Three points. The Passion of Christ was a consummation of Justice to the Deity, of Malice in Men, of love in the Saviour. The whole doctrine of the Saviour’s atonement was involved in the first point. The Sermon was consequently less taking to myself. I do not pretend to be quite equal to the comprehension of so remarkable a doctrine. Evening quiet at home. I read some of Ruffhead, and some of Montaigne.

1.

When CFA more than six years earlier had heard Rev. Benjamin Huntoon preach, he had been impressed (vol. 1:321).