Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 13th. CFA Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

Morning cold but it moderated in the course of the day. I did nothing excepting my regular duties. Attended Divine Service all day and heard Mr. Putnam of Roxbury preach. Morning discourse from Romans 10. 10. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” Upon morality and religion, the difference between them and the connexion, with a discussion of the prevailing tendencies to infidelity. A very good subject, tolerably well treated. Afternoon. Ecclesiastes 3. 1. “To every thing there is a season.” Subject, amusement and occupation, the business of life and it’s pleasures. Mr. Putnam is on the whole a pretty tolerable thinker. He discriminates justly and though I find in him few new or very forcible ideas, he has nevertheless old ones very sensibly presented.1

Read a Sermon of Massillon’s upon false confidence, in other words, upon trusting in faith without works. This is one of the few points in which the Catholics seem to have been right in the great quarrel with the primitive Reformers. The text of this Sermon is from Luke 24. 21. “We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” 10The belief of the Jews, from whence a natural transition to the existing generation. Two points—Such a trust without any labour to second it is extreme folly. It is extreme boldness. The discourse is a sensible one. Evening passed at home. I read Ruffhead, and Gardiner Gorham came in for an hour.2

1.

The powers of Rev. George Putnam are here rated at a somewhat higher value than on earlier occasions; see vol. 3:412–413.

2.

The three children of the late Dr. John Gorham, Julia, John Warren, and Gardner, were not only distant relatives of ABA but intimates of the household (vol. 3:55; 4:395).

Monday. 14th. CFA Monday. 14th. CFA
Monday. 14th.

Milder with the wind more from the Southward. I went to the Office. But my time was not very usefully taken up. After getting through ordinary duties, I attended the annual Meeting of the Stockholders of the Suffolk Insurance Company—My Stock there being sufficient to make it an object. The Report of the President was very satisfactory. For seven years they have never omitted a Dividend, and now they have forty five thousand dollars in crib1 over the Capital. They have also paid seventy odd thousand dollars for losses during the last year. It seems to me that on the whole it is fair to suppose that in the run of any seven years with the same direction no worse fortune may be expected inasmuch as the losses have been twice within those seven years excessive. I am glad to hear this Account inasmuch as my investments here have been at a high rate of premium, and I was fearful I had been hasty.

Took a walk and then home. After dinner wrote on the article which I am rapidly closing. At five went to the Athenaeum to a Meeting of the Stockholders about one or two motions to increase the privileges of the Reading public. I expected a debate but nothing took place. Voted against the motions and then went to the Tremont House to meet my Wife and Mrs. Gorham Brooks with whom I crossed over to the Theatre.2 Mr. Sinclair and Mrs. Austin in Cinderella. The Music of that Opera charms me always, and I prefer her singing a thousand times over to that of Miss Hughes. The mere Spectacle went wrong perpetually.3 We returned rather late.

1.

That is, in reserve or storage, by abbreviation and transfer from corncrib ( Dict. of Americanisms ). The transfer might have come equally well from the name given to the reserve pile of cards in cribbage ( OED ).

2.

On the two impressive structures designed by Isaiah Rogers and located on opposite sides of Tremont Street, see vol. 3:xiii–xiv.

3.

The singing of Mrs. Elizabeth Austin, especially in the adaptation of 11Rossini’s Cenerentola, was one of CFA’s persistent enthusiasms; see vol. 4:ix, 263–264, 283. He writes of the operatic season in Boston and comments on the principal performers in a letter to LCA (27 Jan., Adams Papers).