Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 23d. CFA Sunday. 23d. CFA
Sunday. 23d.

Cool. Continued and finished d’Haussez whose book has diverted me much. He is satirical enough. He strips the glitter off English Society and exposes the nakedness as well as the pretensions which belong to it. His opinion of English women however is very flattering and perhaps not undeserved. The domestic character of the British female is unexceptionable. We are beneath them however only in one point, extent of cultivation.

Attended divine Service all day. Dr. Lowell in the morning. Psalms 55. 19. “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” A very sensible practical discourse upon the vicissitudes of life, the dangers of prosperity and the probability of changes to try the Christian. Dr. Lowell has much in his favour in manner. He looks the Clergyman, which is much, and he never acts in a way unbecoming to him. Afternoon. Mr. Frothingham. Matthew 14. 25. “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” A Sermon of beautiful phrases and generally of ideas highly refined which seldom actively interest. Mr. Frothingham used to indulge much in this style, but of late he has entered occasionally upon a bolder and a better one.

Read a Sermon of Atterbury’s. Matthew 11. 6 “Blesses is he whosoever shall not be offended in me.” On the incarnation of the Saviour, refuting the silly objections of the impossibility and unreasonableness of the account. Such a man of straw is hardly worthy of a blow. Even-283ing. Read Hamilton’s book on Men and Manners in America. Thomas B. Frothingham Passed the evening.

Monday. 24th. CFA Monday. 24th. CFA
Monday. 24th.

Mild. Read Mrs. Jamieson’s Memoirs of Female Sovereigns,1 Christina of Sweden—A curious and interesting personage. Office. Time pretty much engrossed by the Conants who came to make a settlement. I heard no more of the claim for labour but as a silent compromise admitted an Account of Collection for about five dollars more than usual. The business was finished in the course of a short time and much to my relief.

Short walk. Afternoon wrote a letter to my Mother upon the subject of our Summer Arrangements.2 Mr. Brooks has invited us to Medford, but our acceptance can only depend upon the probable length of the Session. Read Constant and Cicero’s Tusculan Question, Nr. 2. Evening quiet at home. Madame de Fleury by Miss Edgeworth. Afterwards, German.

1.

Mrs. Anna Jameson, Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns, 2 vols., London, 1831, borrowed from the Athenaeum.

2.

23 March (Adams Papers); a reply to LCA’s letter to CFA (19 March, Adams Papers) inviting his family to spend the summer at Quincy. The question of summer residence was left unresolved pending further word on the probable adjournment date of Congress.

Tuesday. 25th. CFA Tuesday. 25th. CFA
Tuesday. 25th.

Cloudy with occasional showers of hail and rain. Read the Account of Queen Anne by Mrs. Jamieson. I was not aware before that she became latterly intemperate. Office. Mr. Walsh came in and spent much time. I therefore executed very little. Walk. Afternoon read Benjamin Constant but without that degree of attention which it requires. Continued Cicero’s second Tusculan Question—Whether pain is an evil. He had too much mind to fall into the Stoic subtlety. Evening at home. Mr. T. K. Davis came in and passed an hour pleasantly. Nothing new.

Wednesday. 26th. CFA Wednesday. 26th. CFA
Wednesday. 26th.

Cool but clear. I went to the Office after lounging some time over Mrs. Jamieson. Her account of Maria Theresa is very interesting. The Austrian Princes have seen great reverses. And even now they cannot be free from anxiety. Office. Jefferson. His Early Letters want interest. 284I find only one upon the subject of the Cincinnati deserving of notice.

Walk. Afternoon, Benjamin Constant. Mr. Price Greenleaf came in and spent an hour. He had little news from Quincy excepting that the distress had extended there. I suppose we shall know more of this hereafter.

My wife and I went to the Theatre, to see Miss Kemble and her father. The piece was modern—The Wife or a Tale of Mantua.1 It turns upon a wish to undermine a wife in a husband’s affections. In order to do which, recourse is had by the villain to the force of suspicious circumstances. The result is defeated by the fact that the man selected to effect the object turns out to be her brother. Her part is not much. That of the brother is very well and Kemble performed it in his best style. We returned home early and much gratified.

1.

The engagement of Miss Fanny Kemble and her father at the Tremont Theatre had begun three days before and was to continue until 11 April. The Wife is by James Sheridan Knowles.