Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 20th. CFA Saturday. 20th. CFA
Saturday. 20th.

Clouds but no rain. I rode to town and passed my time in a very desultory way. Read a little of Marshall however. Went to see Mrs. Frothingham and sat with her half an hour. This engrosses pretty much all that I did.

Much newspaper discussion of Mr. Everett’s letter. The National Republican Presses are out against him very generally. Yet what is National Republicanism at this day? A splinter of a party—Containing 131not a Majority of any State in the Union. The fact is that just at present there is a centripetal force in parties which brings the mass together previous to new divisions.

Afternoon, I did little or nothing more than write my Diary and read an Ode or two of Horace. Mrs. Frothingham and her Son Thomas came out to pass the Afternoon. Passed the Evening in my Mother’s room who continues to improve, and read the remainder of the North American Review for July. I have not gone through a number for a long time before. It is pretty good. The Observer—Numbers upon Greek Literature.

Sunday. 21st. CFA Sunday. 21st. CFA
Sunday. 21st.

The day threatened great heat, but clouds and an East wind prevented. I read an Ode or two of Horace and attended divine Service all day. Mr. Brooks from Hingham preached and much better than when I have heard him on former occasions.1 His texts were Revelations 22.3. on the existence and worship of a God, and Hebrews 13.9. on the character of Jesus Christ.

I also read a Sermon of Massillon 1. Corinthians 6. 2. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world.” It was the occasion of the Anniversary of St. Louis or Lewis the 9th. of France. He proposes thus. Piety is deemed by the world incompatible with heroic greatness. High rank is held to Apologize the relaxation of rigid morality. The example of Louis overthrows the two ideas. He was a noble King by being a pious man. His station made him more rigorous in the performance of his duties. The Sermon is good, but St. Louis was not the less fanatical, for he exhausted his kingdom and threw away his life in the pursuit of a very trifling object. Jerusalem could not make men more pious nor add to the glory of the Saviour, yet how much blood was lavished to acquire and to keep it.

Evening Mr. Simmons2 and Mr. Degrand were here. I passed the time in my Mother’s room.


JQA praised Rev. Charles Brooks both for his sermons and his delivery, but he admitted that Brooks was “not a favourite with others” (Diary, 21 July 1833). For the other view, see vol. 3:318.


David A. Simmons, attorney, who at one time had had his office in the 23 Court Street building (vol. 3:2).

Monday. 22d. CFA Monday. 22d. CFA
Monday. 22d.

The day was exceedingly warm. I went to town, according to agreement for the purpose of collecting rent, but was disappointed, as I was also at Payne’s hill where I called before starting.


I remained very quietly at my Office all the morning reading Marshall’s Life of Washington, and I could not help being astonished at the vast amount of difficulty to be overcome to get our present system of Government into action. Nobody but Washington could have started the vessel. It is hard enough for others to keep it afloat. Returned to Quincy—My horse suffering more from the heat that I ever knew him to do for the five years that I have used him.

Afternoon, wrote my Diary, read an Ode or two of Horace finishing the second book and began copying some of the Letters to my Grandfather. I have been reflecting that as there seems no immediate prospect of a continuation of my father’s proposed biography, there is very great probability many of the valuable evidences may be lost which are exceedingly important as testimonials. I have concluded to take copies of them, without saying any thing to any body.1

The Evening was bright and warm. Mr. T. Greenleaf and his two daughters were here for an hour. It is the first time for two years that the Portico has been delightful to sit in, which always puts me in mind of former days. Read the Observer—Cumberland’s peculiar view of Harmodius and Aristogiton.


In the Adams Papers is a volume of 115 pages, mainly in CFA’s hand (M/CFA/31; Microfilms, Reel No. 327), consisting of transcripts from the letters of JA and AA and also reminiscences of JA by others. Most of the work was done during 1833. The first page bears a note:

“Quincy. July 23, 1833. The Manuscript papers of the late John Adams are in a state of confusion and liable to destruction from a variety of accidents that might happen. As this state of things does not at present seem to be likely soon to be remedied, I have thought it expedient to copy into this book, such Letters as from their nature are most liable to be lost, while at the same time, they are valuable as testimonials in the hands of his posterity. As I go on in my investigation, it is possible I may find other papers, copies of which I shall be glad to embrace in my present plan. I hope thus to form a volume which will be of value to myself at least, even should events show my labour to have been a useless public precaution. Charles Francis Adams.”