Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

313 Friday. 16. CFA Friday. 16. CFA
Friday. 16.

Another frost and the day cold although much pleasanter than it has been. I accompanied Mr. Brooks to town, after reading an hour in Ortis, a sort of crazy book of Italian sentiment. The language is charming from its soft sounds notwithstanding. Engaged much of my morning at the house, copying a letter of mine to T. B. Adams1 and finishing off the semi-annual Account which is on the whole a respectable one. I was also occupied in overlooking work for Agency. My Carpenter is a very clever man, but is fond of making new work when old will answer as well. Home to dinner notwithstanding a call to attend a Meeting of the Boylston Market Directors. I have got tired of this business and was elected on a tacit understanding that if not convenient I should absent myself. Madame de Stael and Ovid, Hypermnestra to Lynceus. Quiet evening. My Wife does not recover very rapidly from her cold. Mr. Calhoun’s Speech.2

1.

LbC, Adams Papers. Lt. Adams was at Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh. His reply of 25 May is also in the Adams Papers.

2.

Calhoun’s speech on the President’s protest to the Senate was delivered in the Senate on 6 May. It was printed promptly in several papers but did not appear in the National Intelligencer until 17 May (p. 2, cols. 1–5).

Saturday. 17. CFA Saturday. 17. CFA
Saturday. 17.

Weather better today although still very far from warm. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. Walk to the Estate, corner of Boylston Street to examine the premises and see the necessity of repair. Concluded against any more work. The outlay is considerable already. Proper attention to an estate like my father’s involves a vast deal of time requisite to be spent upon it. I take more interest in it than nine agents out of ten and yet, if I was myself the owner, I think I should improve upon my present amount. Mr. Carr came in from Quincy and made a settlement with me for his farm. I then arranged Accounts and returned with Mr. Brooks to Medford. Afternoon at home, reading Mandeville. Mrs. Palfrey and Miss Russell from Cambridge interrupted me. Ovid, Sappho to Phaon. Evening, Hume’s Essays.1

1.

Two copies of David Hume’s Essays are at MQA, one CFA’s, 2 vols., London, 1788; one JQA’s, 2 vols., Georgetown, D.C., 1817.

Sunday. 18. CFA Sunday. 18. CFA
Sunday. 18.

The first day in character with the Season and very pleasant it was. I amused myself in sauntering about a little while and afterwards in 314reading Hume’s Essays which are very interesting. His reflection and his style are attractive, though neither of them perfectly sound.

Attended Divine Service, Mr. Stetson. Prayer for Mr. Brooks upon the death of his only brother at Portland,1 after a lingering illness which made life to him hardly desirable, and not at all to his friends. Sermon Luke 20. 36. “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” This was incidental to the death of a little girl, the promising daughter of one of the parishioners, Mr. Furness. It was consolatory, in the usual course of reflection and I thought judicious and soothing.

Afternoon. 3 Philippians 13. 14. “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The necessity of future improvement, the vanity of turning back to the past unless with some view of operating upon the future. This is the reflection of a young country but it debars one of the most pleasing though melancholy pleasures. Reflection upon the past has its pleasures instead of benefits and why should an innocent pleasure be sacrificed. Not in the spirit of repining should it be exercised, certainly, but in regret unavailing as it plainly is, or in gratification at success equally unfruitful. What is Europe with all its wealth and power, unconnected with the charm of memory. It is the same with the moral qualities of being.

Afternoon. Sermon by Atterbury. Text, the same as last Sunday and the third in the Series upon the difficult passages of Scripture. It related more especially to the last clause which states the punishment of a wrong construction of these passages. This seems hard measure, but he maintains that it applies only to the wilful who wrest the meaning to purposes of their own, inconsistent with the real objects of Christianity. Evening, Charles Brooks and William G., his brother, were here from Boston. These are sons of the Portland gentleman lately deceased.

1.

Cotton Brown Brooks (1765–1834).