Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

Fine day. I passed the morning in reading German. Attended divine service and heard a young man Mr. Briggs just commencing his profession.1 In the morning from John 14. 21. “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father and I will love him and manifest myself in him.” The nature and force of love, as explained by the Saviour. In the afternoon Hebrews 13. 18. “For we trust we have a good conscience.” The intricate question of conscience is rather trying to a young beginner. However he managed it judiciously insisted only upon the necessity of enlarging it’s power by knowledge and especially by religion and of listening to it as the dictate of a judge not of a reasoner. He has considerable power. A degree of eloquence in his manner, and a fervor of style which might (I should think) raise him quite high in public estimation.

At home, read a Sermon of Warburton, upon the love of God. 1 John 4. 20. “If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a Liar, for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” He traces Religion up to Love, 386Love up to benevolence and benevolence to selfishness. This appearing to be the origin with him of the moral sense. Benevolence being the general Law which prompts to Love, it extends both to that for God and man and cannot easily be found where both of these its natural consequences do not exist. I do not at present entirely assent to this derivation of our moral sense, and of our virtues. The Sermon has nevertheless some merit.

In the evening, I read to Mr. Brooks at his request a Sermon of Sterne’s upon the text of this afternoon. It is a mixture half facetious, half profound with occasional touches of nature, like every thing else of that author. German. A new story in which I do not succeed so well.


George Ware Briggs had received his degree in divinity only in the preceding month ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

Monday. 15th. CFA Monday. 15th. CFA
Monday. 15th.

Fine day. The air milder than it has been. I went to Boston alone. My time partly wasted, partly taken up in Accounts and partly in investigations at the Office of the Register of Deeds, as yet without fruit. My father wrote me a letter1 requesting some things which I procured and then went to Quincy. Found my Mother still exceedingly ill. She has been suffering now for ten days without apparent amendment. A lung fever of great violence. I sat with her much of the afternoon but she was unable to talk much. The house seemed disconsolate enough. In the evening I sat up in my room and read German.


14 Sept. (Adams Papers).

Tuesday. 16th. CFA Tuesday. 16th. CFA
Tuesday. 16th.

My Mother was still very ill and I recommended the sending for Dr. Holbrook as consulting physician with Dr. Woodward which was accordingly agreed to be done. As I was of no service and a little in the way, I concluded to go and take Walter Hellen with me to Medford for a day or two.

Boston. Athenaeum where I remained an hour and afterwards to the Office. T. K. Davis came in to see me and he talked for a couple of hours, after which Walter came in so that I had little or no leisure to do any thing. My business is trifling and yet my interruptions are so numerous that I can hardly find any leisure to do it.


To Medford at the usual time. Dinner and Afternoon walk round the Garden. On our return, we found Mr. and Mrs. Everett, and Mr. and Mrs. Lothrop. Mrs. Everett was quite lively. Mr. Lothrop with the peculiar manners which one sees in him always and which betray the hypocrite by the force of circumstances.1 Mr. Everett looked in better spirits but careworn. They remained until after tea, and I was not sorry when they went. We had a game of Whist in the evening very quietly at home. Read for half an hour afterwards from Southey’s first volume of the Doctor. How my Summer has slipped through my hands. Doing nothing at all. And giving myself up to the course of circumstances.


On CFA and Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop of the Brattle Square Church, see above, entry for 10 April 1833.