Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

297 Friday. 18th. CFA Friday. 18th. CFA
Friday. 18th.

The thunder of yesterday chilled the air for today. I went out early and rode to Quincy. Passed the morning in superintending the garden and looking over some of my father’s books and papers. Nothing material. The air was so cold that standing was not pleasant. Returned home to dinner.

Afternoon, at home read Maritime discovery, the first portion of which at least must be confessed to be dull. The author flies off to a dissertation upon the mythology of India. I sometimes wonder at the varied attainments of such a man as Sir James Mackintosh, and when I consider how little I have acquired and yet how much of my time is passed in literary occupation, I do not easily comprehend how men with four times the active occupation should have so many hundred times greater knowledge. I allow too for the difference of capacity and for the superior foundation of education.

Read Ovid’s heroic, Phyllis to Demophoön. Evening at home, but my Wife having been out late on an excursion on horseback we read nothing. Afterwards, German.

Saturday. 19th. CFA Saturday. 19th. CFA
Saturday. 19th.

Morning Cloudy and towards night, rain. I went to the Office and was occupied in a variety of things—Accounts, calls from Mr. Spear and Thomas Doyle. The first about Quincy business, the other about his engagement as Coachman. I gave him a direction to be ready to start by Tuesday for Washington.1 Wasted the remainder of my time. Walk, home. Afternoon, Maritime discovery, and half of an Epistle of Ovid, Briseis to Achilles. Evening quiet at home. Miss Edgeworth’s Belinda and afterwards German. I am slowly going forward.


Authorization to send Doyle on to Washington to accept employ as coachman had come from LCA in her letter of 12 April (Adams Papers).

Sunday. 20th. CFA Sunday. 20th. CFA
Sunday. 20th.

Morning cloudy after the rain but it cleared away before night. I read Basil Hall’s visit to Loo Choo which I think is the most amusing of all his works.1 He has less of the pretension of authorship and more good will to his subject which renders him extremely disposed to flatter. This sooths the pettish irritability of his natural temper and thus puts out of sight all rough and unsightly points.


I attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham preach all day, though without the power of clearly fixing my attention. His Texts were first from 1. Thessalonians 5. 14. “Support the weak,” second from 2 Kings 2. 9. “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” I must candidly confess I can say little about the discourses beyond what the Texts suggest. My mind will wander into fancies which are perhaps of very little service to any body.

Read a Sermon of Atterbury 1. Acts 3. “To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs being seen of them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” The points discussed were three. 1. Why the Saviour remained forty days with his disciples. 2. Why he appeared only to his friends. 3. What was the employment of his time and consequent purpose of his return. I do not see that Atterbury strengthens the argument materially. When you discuss the motives of the Deity in governing the world, it is very natural, that you should be set afloat upon an unknown Sea. It is sufficient to me that the facts are duly authenticated.

In the evening I went with my Wife to spend the evening at Mrs. Frothingham’s. Mr. and Mrs. Wales with their family were there and a Mr. and Mrs. Clement—She being one of the Phillipses of Andover.2 Dry talk and return home at ten. Wrote some letters.3


Capt. Basil Hall, Account of a Voyage of Discovery to Corea and the Great Loo-Choo Island, London, 1818.


Phoebe Phillips, oldest of the children of Lydia (Gorham) and John Phillips of Andover, was the wife of Rev. Jonathan Clement (Henry Bond, Genealogies of Watertown, Boston, 1855, p. 886).


One of the letters was to his mother (Adams Papers).