Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 25th. CFA Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

Morning cold and raw. The proportion has been very great of this weather during this month. The clouds seem to predominate. I read Italian before attending divine service. Heard Mr. Stetson, in the morning from Matthew 1. 21. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.” The mission of the Saviour, his people originally signified the Jews, but rejected by them extended to all men, who made themselves fit by a belief and practice of his commandments and in no other manner.

Afternoon. Matthew II. 29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The nature of the Communion, whether any difference is to be perceived in the injunction of Christian duty between those who partake of it and those who do not—the prevailing idea is erroneous. Notwithstanding this, I am of opinion that the Communion is a more solemn affair than all this would make it. A man is surely more criminal in violating an Oath than he is if he makes none. A man assumes a degree of virtue he is bound afterwards to sustain—the moral guilt of crime may not be greater, but the self degradation ought to be far more perceptible.

Read a Sermon of Atterbury. 2 Corinthians 13. 5. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves.” Subject. Religious sincerity which he considers to be proved by 1. obedience, 2. good conduct, 3. a wish to improve, 4. private devotion, 5. absence 318of interested motive, 6. self distrust, 7. Enjoyment in the study of the Scriptures. The discourse is a good one. Evening quietly at home. P. C. Hall came in for an hour.1

1.

On Peter Chardon Hall, see vol. 3:273.

Monday. 26th. CFA Monday. 26th. CFA
Monday. 26th.

Cold and cloudy. I went to town in the Carriage with Mr. Brooks and the two Everett children who were going home. Office where I remained very quietly reading Jefferson’s Letters for the greater part of the morning. My present Life is even more monotonous than that in Boston. It is passed in riding and in study, in Accounts and in idling. I have become a mere vegetable but a very contented vegetable.

Home. Afternoon, Mandeville, and Ovid’s Epistles, Hero to Leander which I read over with attention. There is so much sameness in all these that I have become pretty tired of them. It is all sugar and honey. Evening, Hume’s Essays, the first volume of which I finished and began upon the other which contains the philosophical and more abstruse works. Italian with an hour of Essay writing.

Tuesday. 27th. CFA Tuesday. 27th. CFA
Tuesday. 27th.

Morning cloudy with a cold Easterly wind, but it cleared away and became pleasanter in the afternoon. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. Called to see Mrs. Frothingham and from thence went round to the Athenaeum where I stepped in for a moment to see the gallery. It is not so good as it was last year,1 but will compare favorably with any other season. The proportion of good pictures is small, and I do not know that I was much struck with one of the new ones. Perhaps I may except from this remark the piece from Tristram Shandy by Leslie, and one or two copies from the old masters. Office. Nothing new.

Home. Afternoon Mandeville. Finished the Fable of the Bees. A system that recommends itself for nothing but its ingenuity. It is not worthy of an answer because it is as Hume calls it, almost a contradiction in terms. Ovid, Acontius to Cydippe—People whom I never had heard of before. It is much doubted whether the two Epistles are written by Ovid. Evening, read aloud to Mr. Brooks the report of the Committee of the House of Representatives upon the affair of the Bank.2 Hume.

319 1.

The 1833 exhibition at the Athenaeum Gallery had been rendered special by the importation from New York of a collection of paintings of the principal European schools exhibited under the management of an Englishman, John Watkins Brett, and referred to by his name (Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, p. 95–97).

2.

The Report of the Bank Committee appeared in the Globe on 24 May under unusual circumstances (National Intelligencer, 26 May, p. 3, col. 1). The Intelligencer was not able to carry it until the 27th (p. 1, col. 2 – p. 3, col. 4).