Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 28th. CFA Friday. 28th. CFA
Friday. 28th.

The season is uncommonly clear and dry. I went to the Office and occupied myself as well as I could, not however without reading News-285papers an undue portion of the time. The state of public affairs is becoming daily more critical. The Bank of Maryland has failed, and the Governor of New York has sent a Message to the Legislature which looks very much as if the Safety fund was in the most imminent danger. Yet there is not a symptom of relenting on the part of the Government.

Walk. Afternoon Benjamin Constant—The Age of Homer which he construes to please himself. Began Cicero’s third Tusculan Disputation upon the Stoical doctrine of endurance. We passed a quiet evening at home quite alone. Finished Madame de Fleury. I pursued German.

Saturday. 29th. CFA Saturday. 29th. CFA
Saturday. 29th.

Lovely day. I was so much tempted to be out that I did not execute much at home. Walked to the Boylston Market to make up the record of the annual meeting which took an hour or two. Mr. Kirke called in to see me from Quincy. My Mother has, I presume dismissed him and he has come for his wife.1 This will probably have some influence upon our Summer arrangements. The idea of a totally new batch of Servants is comfortless enough. I have been very much inclined to accept of Mr. Brooks’ invitation for this year and yet when I reflect upon it, I scarcely know what the result would be. I never yet could get through a week there, how could I manage six months? We must await the decision from Washington. Afternoon, Benjamin Constant and German in which I think I get on. Cicero.

1.

John Kirk, the Adamses’ coachman, was periodically intemperate. Mrs. Kirk regularly lived in the Old House while her husband was employed in Washington. See LCA to CFA, 19, 28 March 1834 (Adams Papers); vol. 4:330, 398.

Sunday. 30th. CFA Sunday. 30th. CFA
Sunday. 30th.

The Weather yesterday terminated in a shower and subsequent fall of the temperature more than forty degrees to this morning. It was today unusually cold. I amused myself with Benjamin Constant, but I think his latter volumes do not correspond to the first. They partake too much of system–mongering.

Attended divine Service on this being Easter Sunday. Mr. Frothingham was suffering from so severe a cold he could scarcely speak. His Sermon was from Hebrews 2. 15. “That he might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime in bondage.” Upon death, the mode in which various people view it. The fearful ideas entertained 286of it by Christians, more than others, and that in direct opposition to the superior hope they have through the revelation of Christ in his resurrection. This is a curious subject for inquiry and observation.

In the afternoon a Mr. Kent supplied Mr. Frothingham’s place.1 His Text was from 1 Corinthians 10. 13. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.” No, I am wrong. This was the subject of the Sermon by Atterbury which I read afterwards, and which I liked. His position was that temptations are always beneath the power of endurance, that this is proved both by experience and by reason and that it is a text full of comfort and exhortation to the Christian.

Mr. Kent’s discourse was from Matthew 25. 29–30. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The duty of moral exertion. By moral exertion, a distinct duty is presented from the physical or intellectual efforts which are always impelled sufficiently by selfish motives. Perhaps this idea was rather developed than directly expressed. The illustrations all looked to it. The preacher was neither correct in delivery nor in style, but his substance was practical and sound. Afternoon occupied as mentioned. Evening quietly at home. Nothing of particular consequence. Mr. G. Gorham came in and passed an hour in conversation—After which I read German, and my usual occupations.

1.

Benjamin Kent had taken his degree in divinity at Harvard in 1823. His pulpit was in Duxbury ( Mass. Register, 1833).