Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 24th. CFA Sunday. 24th. CFA
Sunday. 24th.

Since Mr. Brooks has taken possession of his Pew, I have to go to some other and my efforts to procure one have been hitherto pretty unsuccessful. My Wife and I concluded to go to Meeting at any rate, and try one of the Gallery Pews, which an acquaintance of her’s had just left. I was much pleased with the situation although the world of fashion pronounces them not to be tolerable. They command a view of the House and are admirably situated both as respects the preacher and the Music.

Mr. Frothingham preached all day. Texts, Phillipians 4. 8. “If there be any virtue.” Considering the three classes of reasoners who doubt the existence of virtue—The sceptic by profession, the sceptic by the illusion of his passions and the sceptic by the operation of the world, and the apparently unequal dispensations of prosperity. The other from John 8.7. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a 219stone.” Upon the duty of gentleness in judgments of others, and the difficulty of claiming to be immaculate one’s self. The discourses were both moderately good and with pretty simplicity.

I read also one of Atterbury’s Sermons describing the Scorner. Proverbs 14. 6. “A scorner seeketh wisdom and findeth it not.” The person mentioned in the text he defines as impelled by pride or suspicion, and given to false wit or sensuality by which all his opinions are twisted from the right way. Quiet evening at home.

Monday. 25th. CFA Monday. 25th. CFA
Monday. 25th.

Snow and the first arrival of winter. I went to the Office. Mr. Conant from Weston came in and passed a considerable time in talking about the lease of the farm there and many other matters appertaining to it. He demurred also about taking my horse which has puzzled me extremely. The expense of keeping him here is very great.

I went to vote for the remainder of the Representatives to be elected from Boston, and put in the whole Antimasonic ticket excepting myself in whose room I put T. K. Davis. I do not know what the probabilities are. Read more of the Parliamentary debates in 1774. Afternoon at home. Lord Bacon, and Virgil 5 and 6 books. Evening Tom Jones and Smith’s Moral Sentiments.1


A copy of the London, 1792, edition of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments is in MQA.

Tuesday. 26th. CFA Tuesday. 26th. CFA
Tuesday. 26th.

Snow continues with pretty warm air. I went to the Office as usual and passed my time in reading the Parliamentary Debates. Came to the famous speech of Mr. Burke on Conciliation with America which is a jewel. It is a pity that two or three coarse yet strong figures rather depress the general tendency of the style. When I read productions like these, I feel the full weight of my own vanity and insignificance. They are Orations indeed.

I did not take a walk today. Afternoon, Lord Bacon, Novum Organum. Evening, Tom Jones, and writing. I was a little depressed today. I know not why. But at this season, it will be so sometimes. Read some of the Psalms which relieved me.

Wednesday. 27th. CFA Wednesday. 27th. CFA
Wednesday. 27th.

I went to Market as usual upon the morning preceding Thanksgiving day and found the price of Poultry by the extortion of the venders 220who attempt a monopoly so high that I declined buying any at all. And my general purchases were very slight. Occupied some time in running about to procure a pew at the Meeting house in Chauncy place and finally succeeded in taking one in the Gallery, which I occupied last Sunday.

The remainder of the morning passed in reading the Parliamentary Debates. I find nothing satisfies me after the speech of Mr. Burke. Afternoon, Lord Bacon, Novum Organum, and in the evening, besides Virgil I began Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. Read to my Wife from the Psalms and Tom Jones.