Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

The Morning was drizzly but it became clear and warmer as the day advanced. I attended Divine Service all day, and heard Mr. Stetson. The morning’s was a Communion Sermon in which he did not hesitate to introduce the powerful rhetorical figure of the supposed presence of the Saviour and this in a voice and manner just a cold as if he was saying that the weather was fine. In the Afternoon he endeavoured to discuss the doctrine of final retribution as the support of Christianity. This is an important subject in this day. Mr. Stetson is on the whole 123somewhat above the ordinary run of Clergymen, although his delivery is as usual very indifferent and subtracts from his influence.

Read a Sermon of Massillon’s though not so thoroughly as I could wish. It was upon the Anniversary of St. Magdalen. Luke 7. 47. “Her sins which are many are forgiven for she loved much.” Magdalen had loved the world, the same love when penitent she directed to the Saviour, a love which softened the bitterness of all her undertakings, a love which knew no limits in the extent of its sacrifices. That love which had been misdirected, when it took its proper course, was the means of her salvation.

I was quite unwell all day, from having indulged somewhat too much in fruits yesterday. A rigorous system of starvation for the greater portion of the day, effected the restoration of my comfort. Quiet evening.

Monday. 8th. CFA Monday. 8th. CFA
Monday. 8th.

The morning was cloudy with occasional showers of rain. I went to town and was occupied much of my time first in a walk to my House, next in business and accounts at my Office, third in an hour wasted at the Athenaeum. I also read a Chapter or two in Marshall.

As it was my day to stay in town, I dined with Mr. Frothingham very quietly. Afternoon. Attended a Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market Association. There was a Quorum for once and they passed upon two or three bills that were presented. The rest of the time was taken up in conversation. These are good men to talk.

We had a thunder shower during the time. After it was over, I rode to Quincy and found my father somewhat better and my Mother not very well. Solitude and want of amusing occupation are a little too much for them. I hope, I may find not so much stimulus in the active scenes of life, as to lose all enjoyment in those that are passive.

The evening was passed in conversation and reading aloud the Article in the North American Review upon Phrenology. It is by Dr. G. Bradford. He resisted the fever very imprudently, when it was at it’s height.1 Read the numbers of the Observer.


Presumably the “fever” over phrenology.

Tuesday. 9th. CFA Tuesday. 9th. CFA
Tuesday. 9th.

My purpose in coming here last Night was to obtain of my father the necessary Deed of the Estate in High Street. I had written it as 124long since as Saturday in order to get it done before I came, but my Father was so languid he did not finish it until this morning. He went up after breakfast to get an acknowledgment of Mr. Greenleaf, but forgot me when he got there and kept me nearly two hours dancing attendance.1 At last I went up myself and perhaps upon meeting him, lost my patience a little too much.

My father is in many respects an altered man. Age has relaxed his energies, and the extremes of hot and cold in which his mental system is exercised by his present mode of life are far too trying. Yet on the other hand my business character must be sustained—For I do not know that I shall have any thing else upon which to found myself. A smart pace got me to Boston at the time I had myself appointed for the delivery of the Deed. And the business was settled.

Received a Note from Mrs. Everett requesting me to dine at her house in Charlestown today. After passing my morning as usefully as I commonly do, which is not saying much, I accompanied Mr. Brooks to Charlestown. We found Mrs. G. Brooks and my Wife who had come from Medford. Our dinner was a very genteel one, and we divided after it to our respective destinations, i.e. the rest of the party to go to tea at Mr. Pratt’s at Watertown, while I drove Mr. Brooks’ gig to Medford. I found my little child glad to see me and passed the remainder of the day in idleness and solitude.

Mr. Everett was rather more gracious than usual to me today. It is unfortunate for me that I always suspect in him a motive of some kind or other for all the acts of his life. Mrs. E. looks better than she has done although still not well. The party returned at eight, and we retired early. In my hurry I forgot the Observer this morning but shall make it up.


It was Ezekiel Price Greenleaf, the son of Thomas, the notary, who so absorbed JQA’s interest on this and other occasions. The younger Greenleaf was an expert on horticultural matters and was so recognized by JQA. Examination of Greenleaf’s nursery of seedling plants, “a work truly stupendous,” generated the excitement which caused him to forget CFA (vol. 2:156, 229; JQA, Diary, 9 July 1833).