Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 15th. CFA Friday. 15th. CFA
Friday. 15th.

The rain set in after sunset last evening and continued until morning when we had a fog so thick one could see but a yard off. I had fixed this time to go to Weston and arrange matters for a sale of the wood. I accordingly started at 1/2 after 8 o’clock and reached the Farm in two hours. It looked much as usual. I sent for Mr. Jones the Auctioneer, and we had a short conversation upon the time &ca., but as it was coming on to rain again I felt it necessary to hurry home. Accordingly, I started and reached Boston before three o’clock. The day had become clear, but heavy clouds again rose in the southwest and 214we had a clap or two of thunder with hail. Afternoon, Bacon. Evening, the Fair Maid of Perth and Racine’s play of Bajazet.

Saturday. 16th. CFA Saturday. 16th. CFA
Saturday. 16th.

Fine day although growing much cooler. I went to the Office and was occupied much of my time in Accounts. Mr. William Spear came in from Quincy and settled with me for the Wood which was sold last month. He reports another sale to have taken place and the whole to have done very well. Upon these sales we must depend finally to disengage my father from his embarrassments. I went through T. B. Adams’ semi annual accounts, drew one up to send to him and deposited in the Saving’s Bank his balance, all which kept me pretty thoroughly engaged.

At one, I took a walk. Mr. Brooks, Gorham and his Wife dined with us. The latter go away next Thursday to his new destination, Baltimore. He seems to have revived since he has the idea of an occupation. His mind is too active for indolence. They left us at four, and I passed the short remainder of the Afternoon in reading Virgil, whose fourth book I finished. The fair maid of Perth, and Racine’s Bajazet which I finished.

Sunday. 17th. CFA Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

Fine morning and the weather far more in character with the Season. I passed an hour in reading Chalmers on the adaptation of the mind to external nature, being the first of the Bridgewater treatises.1 A book written with too much of a flourish of trumpets constantly going beforehand but still not without it’s value. There is an affectation of a dignified, antique style about it which I do not admire, and a use of words and phrases which appear in these days quaint.

I attended divine service this morning and heard Mr. Barrett2 preach from 1. John 4–5. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world and the world heareth them.” An attempt to distinguish the worldly man from the man of the world, him, who makes it his object from him who keeps it in subjection to higher duties and purposes. There was nothing remarkable in it.

I did not attend in the Afternoon as my Wife went to ride with me. There is a difficulty now that Mr. Brooks comes into town about a Pew. I must get one at all hazards. Read a Sermon of Atterbury’s finishing the subject discussed last Sunday. The fourth point of which was to 215show the advantage of the miraculous spread of the Gospel, and the last, when and how and why it stopped—As sensible as usual.

I finished in the Evening the Fair Maid of Perth and also began reading one course after closing another—I closed the last number of the Lounger. This is also the last of the periodical Essayists included in my course began not less than three years since. With little intermission I have in that time regularly read two papers daily and each twice over, and in this manner have accomplished the Tatler, Spectator, Guardian, Adventurer, Rambler, Idler, World, Observer, Connoisseur, Mirror and Lounger. I now undertake a far more necessary study, that of the Bible in the same manner. I begin with Genesis and propose to take Hewlett’s Commentary to aid me,3 two Chapters nightly to be read once with the Notes and once without. May God prosper the undertaking.


Thomas Chalmers, Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, in the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual constitution of man, 2 vols., London, 1833, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.


On Rev. Samuel Barrett, see vol. 4:297.


A copy of Commentaries and Annotations on the Holy Scriptures by John Hewlett, 5 vols., London, 1816, is in MQA.