Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 8th. CFA Friday. 8th. CFA
Friday. 8th.

Morning clear with a North West wind but milder than it has been. I went to the Office as usual. Received a letter from my Mother1 of a tenor rather more encouraging than heretofore. My father has nearly recovered from his sickness, and all the family are better excepting the children. I read Sir James Mackintosh, and had one or two interruptions from applicants for the empty house. Called on T. Davis and Blake to ask them to dine with me tomorrow. I was then engaged on one or two Commissions. Thus passed the morning, terminated as it usually is by a walk.

After dinner Anquetil and the intrigues of Cardinal de Retz. Evening read at home, Caroline de Litchfield until nine, when my Wife and I went to a party at Mrs. A. H. Everett’s.2 A great many there and a very mixed assemblage. Few whom I ever knew. I endeavoured to 26make my bow to every body whom I did know. And to find something or other to say, but it is hard work. Mr. Gannett speaks the truth. The conversation of an evening party is disgraceful to intelligent beings. Returned home late and read the World.


3 Feb. (Adams Papers).


On Mrs. A. H. Everett, the former Lucretia Orne Peabody, and her husband, see vol. 3:57–58.

Saturday. 9th. CFA Saturday. 9th. CFA
Saturday. 9th.

Cloudy and mild. I went to the Office and was engaged in my usual occupations. These were however somewhat interrupted by Commissions, as also by my endeavours to get a Company to dine with me. One or two of my acquaintances have declined and the consequence is that I am very much at fault. It is a little singular that in a place like this I should have so few friends. I believe the only intelligible explanation is to be found in my own character. The morning passed away and I had not made sure of filling my table of five guests. E. Blake, E. Quincy, T. K. Davis and Dr. E. G. Davis came1—Young men whom I know and of whom I entertain a very good opinion. It was the first dinner of any pretension that I had given and it passed off extremely well. My things were all pretty good and appeared to be very well relished. And the company sat more than three hours conversing very pleasantly. Evening quiet at home. I read to my Wife more of Caroline of Litchfield, a very prettily told Story. Afterwards, I wasted an hour, and read the numbers of the World.


For CFA’s views on Dr. Edward G. Davis, see vol. 3:240; on CFA’s kinsman Edmund Quincy, see vol. 3:3, 96, 141, and Adams Genealogy.

Sunday. 10th. CFA Sunday. 10th. CFA
Sunday. 10th.

Mild and cloudy. A thaw seems to be taking place as if to remind us of the passage of the Winter. I passed an hour looking over the engravings of the Galerie de l’Hermitage de St. Petersbourg.1 Some of them are very good. Attended divine Service all day and heard Mr. James Walker of Charlestown preach.2 In the morning from Hebrews 12. 22. 23 and 24th. The Text is too long to extract. The subject was the immortality of the social affections. A pleasing idea, very pleasingly managed. Afternoon. 139 Psalm 23–4. “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts.” “And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Upon 27purity of thought. I remember distinct portions of this discourse, but have no idea of it as a whole. Mr. Walker is an agreeable as well as a sensible Preacher. I know few of the Clergy who rank above him. I afterwards read a Sermon by Massillon from Matthew 11. 6. “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” It was upon the utility of afflictions. He considered the natural effect of them as injured by three excuses prevailing in the world. 1. That people were too weak to bear them, which arose from the want of resolution in themselves. 2. That the afflictions themselves were excessive which is an injurious charge against the Deity. 3. That the incapacity to bear them excused all purpose of improvement. This Sermon shows conclusively what I have so often said, the bad effect of a perpetual division in heads. The same general idea runs through the whole. Evening quiet at home. Read Ruffhead, and afterwards Wieland.


A copy of Musée Imperiale de l’Hermitage, Notice sur les tableaux, St. Petersburg, 1818, remains at the Athenaeum.


Rev. James Walker, whose wife was a cousin of ABA, was later President of Harvard College; see vol. 3:113.