Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

349 Saturday. 26th. CFA Saturday. 26th. CFA
Saturday. 26th.
Medford

An excessively hot day. After despatching my business, I returned to town. These visits are short but necessary to keep up my father’s spirits which sink upon the return to quiet and solitude.1

At Boston I was very busy, first in Accounts, then in copying a Letter for my father to John following up the other. He wishes to bring him to settle in Quincy. I do not know but this is the only course in which he might do good.2 But if he accepts the invitation my position is most essentially changed and many of my views disappear. Not with any great regret on my part indeed, for I can easily adapt myself to the new circumstances. My time was so much engrossed that I did not execute all my work.

Returned to Medford. Afternoon quiet. Read Puckler Muskau Volume 1 which is more German than the rest. Ovid, and Madame de Maintenon. It was so warm that I was very languid.

1.

“The thoughts of the future haunt me in my dreams; of which I had a cruel one last Night” (JQA, Diary, 26 July).

2.

In this new “supplicatory letter” (Diary, 26 July), JQA wrote:

“You have met with severe disappointments, but let them not overcome your resolution or your perseverance. There are prospects incomparably more favourable for you here than any that it is possible should arise for you in Washington.... Washington is no place for enterprize. Here so long as I live and have a house over my head, it shall be yours and your children’s and when I depart it may with prudence, industry, and frugality secure to you and them an independent existence.

“Here my father began his career upon nothing, he lived a long life of vicissitudes but always a life of honour, always with a modest competency.... Here he found a refuge from the Hurricane of Political conflict. I have done the same. The ruin of all his fortunes and the destruction of his family would have been inevitable after his Presidency if he had taken his residence in any of our cities. My own situation has been similar to his. My preservation from ruin hitherto has been my retirement here, and here is a last resort for my children to maintain their independence when they meet with nothing but disappointment elsewhere.”

(To JA2, 26 July, Adams Papers.)

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

Another hot day. I passed the morning reading Puckler Muskau whose Style amuses me very much. His modes of thinking are curious, but he does think. Nor does he confine himself like the Duck of Saxe Weimar to follow the bill of fare of every Table d’hote he finds. The Germans are a singular people. Without much solidity in their opinions they indulge in a considerable range of thought, and combine with 350it a sense of refined enjoyment of the essence of beauty in the world both moral and physical which makes them as writers generally pleasing, sometimes unintelligible.

Attended divine service in the morning but not in the afternoon, Mr. Muzzy of Cambridge, a young man in College with me.1 He hit upon the same Text with Mr. Stetson’s on the 6th July: Acts 20. 35. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The present was a theoretical view of charity. Mr. Stetson’s was a coarsely practical one. Neither of them touched upon the sources which make Charity the greatest of three with faith and hope. Neither of them considered the moral duty in its operation both on others and on one’s self. It was too warm to listen well today.

Read A Sermon of Atterbury’s. Psalm 57. 7 and 8. “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory! Awake psaltery and harp! I myself will awake right early.” It was upon the usefulness of Church music, by fixing the attention and producing a proper state of feeling. One head was upon the superior adaptation of the music of the Church of England. And it closed with an exhortation. I once heard Dr. Kirkland2 preach upon the same subject but his was a historical sketch of sacred music. I am much of a believer in its efficacy. Read Madame de Maintenon’s Letters. And in the evening Mr. Hall and Dr. Swan were here. Conversation tedious.

1.

Artemas Bowers Muzzey, Harvard 1824, later an Overseer.

2.

John Thornton Kirkland was president of Harvard College during CFA’s undergraduate years (vol. 1:12; 2:226).