Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 14th. CFA Friday. 14th. CFA
Friday. 14th.

Fine day but cool. I went to the Office, but was not very industrious. Read the National Intelligencer for the Debates and was somewhat surprised at Mr. Webster’s tone which intimates pretty decidedly a refusal to adjourn during the present unsettled state of the times.1 Of course, this will make us a summer residence here—A thing hitherto untried.


Mr. Walsh came in and consumed some time. He is lengthy when he comes. Walk. Afternoon, Benjamin Constant, but he did not interest me. Continued Terence’s Phormio, to the last Act. Evening quiet at home, which is agreeable as a variety from the past. Ennui and conversation. Afterwards I read German.


Webster’s speech touching adjournment, along with Henry Clay’s, appeared in the National Intelligencer on 10 March (p. 3, cols. 1–4).

Saturday. 15th. CFA Saturday. 15th. CFA
Saturday. 15th.

Our Season is fine but uncommonly dry. I went to the Office, and read the Volume of Jefferson’s Memoir with the single interruption caused by Mr. S. Burril from Quincy on a promising expedition for his rent. Nothing important transpired. The Market for Money is said to be easier, but the distress and consequent loss by forcing sales is still great.

I dined at P. C. Brooks Jrs. with Mr. Brooks, Mr. Story and Mr. Frothingham. Nothing interesting. Conversation flagged. Returned home but did little or nothing. Evening quiet at home. Read part of Ennui, and afterward German.

Sunday. 16th. CFA Sunday. 16th. CFA
Sunday. 16th.

Fine day. I read Benjamin Constant. Divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham from Genesis 2. 17. “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” He gave to it a figurative meaning which I did not fully take and which I did not much admire. That experience gives a knowledge of good and evil is true, that man should be forbidden to touch experience seems to be only reasoning in a circle, for experience must come from something and it is necessary to explain what that was—Apple or something equally palpable.

Mr. Gannett in the Afternoon. Matthew 6. 13. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” This is a text of some difficulty at all times. Mr. G. makes it to mean trial in order that we may avoid evil. The common view is, Suffer us not to be led into temptation, and I think it just and reasonable. “Deliver us from evil” then means exactly what it says. The Lord’s Prayer strikes me as a perfect formula. One which supersedes all Prayer excepting that which may arise from special occasions of distress. Afternoon, Atterbury, Matthew 11.3. “Art thou he that should come? or do we look for another?” The Mes-279sage of John the Baptist and the manner as well as matter of the reply. A very slight composition.

Evening, we went down to pass the Evening with Mr. Brooks, Mrs. Everett. Mr. and Mrs. J. Bradlee came in and passed a part of it. Conversation general and not particularly interesting. We returned home at ten, but I do nothing afterwards, excepting my regular Chapters.