Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 26th. CFA Saturday. 26th. CFA
Saturday. 26th.

Fine day although the East wind prevailed. As I had asked a friend or two to dine with me, I was occupied first in providing the neces-302saries to entertain them, next in making up the party which cost me a great deal of trouble. Having delayed it so late, most persons had made their arrangements for the day. Read a considerable number of Jefferson’s Letters which interested me in him somewhat. His character however is dreadfully artificial, warm words but nothing generous. The phrases always appear to outrun the man.

Walk. Messrs. T. Davis, E. Quincy, T. Dwight and J. W. Gorham dined and passed the afternoon with me. Conversation. Evening at home. I believe this is the last dinner of this description that I shall give. There is too great temptation to drink too much wine—And by barely saving appearances to escape the blame of excess, without escaping the error. In future, I shall mix a greater proportion of older persons. The conversation of convivial dinners is not overrefined, although I can boast that at my table it has never descended into coarseness. Literature and it’s collateral subjects generally prevail, but it is not that which draws out the mind. Read the last Debates in the Intelligencer which are fiery enough—My father as usual in the midst of the fray.1


The efforts of JQA to deliver a speech in the House of Representatives on 22 April are recounted in the National Intelligencer on the 24th (p. 3, cols. 3–4). The text of JQA’s remarks, in his hand, is in the Adams Papers (8 p.).

Sunday. 27th. CFA Sunday. 27th. CFA
Sunday. 27th.

I both eat and drank too much for my wellbeing, yesterday. The consequence was that I did not feel in my usual good order today. My morning was taken up in reading the Exalté—An animated but rapid and rather superficial sketch of a French enthusiast placed in the midst of the scenes of the last Century towards its close.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham all day. In the morning, a very good Sermon upon the virtues of patience. James 1. 4. “Let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing.” Perhaps there is no virtue which would require more of the lessons of religion than this, for a want of it very often distinguishes those who claim a very high position in the ranks of piety. Afternoon, Matthew. 10. 34, part of 35. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set at variance.” This is one of those singular texts in the Bible upon which much misconstruction can be put. Was it supposed that the Saviour meant that his great object in coming was to produce discord, it not only would make a startling doctrine but one entirely at war with every thing that otherwise distinguishes his char-303acter and precepts. He was looking rather to the consequences which would follow in point of fact, and which eighteen hundred years of the world have since developed. The preacher showed why the doubt that has been entertained of the benefits of the dispensation as compared with this mass of evil is groundless.

Read also a Discourse of Atterbury’s. Mark 16. 20. “And they went forth and preached every where; the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.” The subject was miracles as being the most proper mode of spreading the truth, 1. by the common opinion of mankind respecting them, 2. by the general nature of them as evidence, 3. by the peculiar properties they possess for this purpose.

Evening quiet at home. Read the remainder of Desodry. It is an instructive book by presenting in strong contrast the two characters, one founded upon the practice of general principles without regard to system, the other upon the adoption with enthusiasm of particular theories.