Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 3d. CFA Sunday. 3d. CFA
Sunday. 3d.

Morning hazy with a warm day. I amused myself reading German for some time. I find I make progress in the particular book which I read without however being at all able to understand any other I happen by chance to open. Read a few of the Letters of Madame de Maintenon and some of the Life of Hampden.

Attended divine Service all day and heard a discourse running through both parts of it, upon the text 1 Timothy 2. 5. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.” I thought Mr. Stetson leaned a good deal to the stricter faith in his explanation of the passage. He explained his idea of a mediator as distinct from the notion of atonement, and yet clearly maintained the divine character of the Saviour and his unity of purpose if not of person with God. I am glad to hear opinions which do not all strain to absolute infidelity.

Read an excellent Sermon of Atterbury upon an anxious mind. Matthew 6. 34. “Take no thought for the morrow.” He considers excessive anxiety an evil as well as a folly. The first because it destroys energy, the second because it implies distrust of a divine providence. He yet does not understand the injunction literally for this would not agree with other portions of the Bible. I think so too and quote the parable of the faithful Servant, which he does not. Quiet afternoon and evening. Read a little more of Hampden and Maintenon. Also Mr. Dew’s Pamphlet on Slavery.1


Thomas Roderick Dew’s Review of the Debate [on the abolition of slavery] in the Virginia Legislature of 1831 and 1832, Richmond, 1832, later incorpo-355rated in the volume of essays entitled The Pro-Slavery Argument, 1852, was long regarded as the definitive economic justification of the institution ( DAB ).

Monday. 4th. CFA Monday. 4th. CFA
Monday. 4th.

Morning pleasant. I went to town alone. At the Office where I was occupied in my usual manner. Finished Professor Dew’s Pamphlet upon Slavery which has effected a considerable change in my opinions upon the subject. He mixes a great deal of fallacy, much narrowness of mind and Virginia bigotry, with clear and forcible views. The argument against the practicability of deportation strikes me as conclusive, that against emancipation as very forcible. I think the most expedient course is to leave the matter for those to settle who are most deeply interested in doing so.

Hull brought a message from my father informing me of my Mother’s arrival, so that I went to Quincy. Found her with her granddaughter Louisa and Walter Hellen.1 She looks better than I expected to see her. Nearly the whole of the remainder of the day was passed in conversation. I went out and rode with her, stopping for a few moments at Mrs. T. B. Adams.’


LCA’s nephew (1814–1850), son of her sister Adelaide, the second of the Johnson sisters married to Walter Hellen (d. 1815). See Adams Genealogy.

Tuesday. 5th. CFA Tuesday. 5th. CFA
Tuesday. 5th.

A warm morning. I remained at Quincy throughout the day and passed it in uncommon indolence. Much of it was taken up in conversation with my Mother and Walter Hellen and Isaac H. Adams who passed the day here. I did make considerable and encouraging progress in my German book nevertheless and read my usual portion of Ovid in the third book of the Tristia. Also took a bath at Mr. Greenleaf’s wharf at noon with my father. Thus I have a pretty thorough analysis of my day.

My father did not converse much as he is engaged in writing A Report upon the Harvard University Affairs.1 My Mother seems in far better spirits than I anticipated, but she gives an Account of Washington affairs which is truly bad enough—An immense sacrifice of property to negligence and fraud.


See below, entry for 23 Aug. and notes 1 and 2 there.