Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 6th. CFA Friday. 6th. CFA
Friday. 6th.

Morning cloudy but it afterwards cleared a little. I accompanied Mr. Brooks to town. Nothing of material importance. Read some of Jefferson, conversed with Mr. Walsh, wrote my Diary. At Washington they have chosen a new Speaker in the place of Mr. Stevenson who has resigned.1 The result betokens some shaking in the Councils of Washington. The Caucus system does not go down quite so easily as in the smaller limits of the State of New York. On the whole the political horizon shows some few spots of light.

Home to dinner. Afternoon, Mandeville whose book I finished. His second volume somewhat softens the intention of the Author, although it does not appear to me to deduct from its deformity. Ovid’s Elegies. 324He seems to have been pretty full of his desires. He reminds me of Byron, in a very different style however. Evening. Maritime Discovery. A very interesting Account of the Northern expeditions, in which so many men have lost their lives in the most fearful manner.


On 2 June, following the resignation of Andrew Stevenson for reasons of health, John Bell of Tennessee was chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives (National Intelligencer, 3 June, p. 3, col. 4).

Saturday. 7th. CFA Saturday. 7th. CFA
Saturday. 7th.

Pleasant day. I rode to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. Nothing of any consequence transpired. I was at the office sometime. Mr. Spear called in from Quincy and I settled with him for his services in collection. This was a pretty efficient measure. It secured to me a sum in a few days which would have taken me as many months and at a less price to my father. I lose something by it, but that ought not to be counted. One or two other persons called with demands after which I left town.

Edward Brooks and P. C. Brooks Jr. dined at Medford and we had a very pleasant time. I did little or nothing in the afternoon in consequence. That is an incident to a country life. Evening very quiet at home. Pursued the History of Maritime Discovery which continues to be exceedingly interesting.

Sunday. 8th. CFA Sunday. 8th. CFA
Sunday. 8th.

A fine day and in character with the season which has been a rarity heretofore. I passed my morning, partly in reading German and partly in Hume’s Dissertation upon Morals. Attended Divine Service all day. Mr. Stetson preached. Job 27. 10 “Will he always call upon God.” The character of men as manifested by his habits of devotion. The impossibility of adhering to a custom very long after the sincere desire to carry it on has ceased. The difficulty of the hypocrite. Afternoon, Mark 4. 14, 15. “The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the wayside, where the seed is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” The meaning of the word Satan in the passage, Sin and sinful ways. The seed is the word, the wayside, habits of inattention. Then a digression upon the habit of sleeping, and neglect of the Sermon, as well as the disposition to criticize in a literary point of view. All of which he discussed calmly and sensibly. Mr. Stetson is rather above the ordinary level of the Clergy.


Read a Sermon of Atterbury. 1. Timothy. 6. 1. “That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” Subject, Wickedness no proof against the truth of Christianity. He maintains first, that wickedness is no proof because it is not evident that there is so much of it, but if there was, it is yet no argument from its abuse 3. inferences. The argument might be summed up in the short question whether Christianity made men wicked by any thing peculiar to itself which might be pointed out.

Mr. Philip Hone from New York with his daughter Miss Hone and Niece Miss Anthon came out and took tea. I have not seen him for many years. He seems to me to have grown old and conceited.1 Evening quiet at home.


On Philip Hone, the diarist, whom CFA had last seen in 1826 in New York, see vol. 2:58–59.