Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 9th. CFA Saturday. 9th. CFA
Saturday. 9th.

Fine morning. I went to the Office and passed my time pretty industriously there. Read more of the life of Gouverneur Morris and of his intriguing disposition in France. He was an Aristocrat in feeling. His connections were Tories and although he emancipated himself from their bondage, he retained through life the marks which had been printed in early life.

Went to the Athenaeum to read the comments that the principal Newspapers make upon public affairs. Mr. Clay comes out rather brighter than has been anticipated. Success is the great rule by which public men are tried. It saved my father in his critical position of last year, and it will probably extricate Mr. Clay now. The principles which produced both measures, will remain open for discussion in future years.

As my Wife went to Medford, I dined at P. C. Brooks Jr’s. Salt fish and Mr. and Mrs. with the two Miss Olivers.1 Nothing peculiar. Returned home and read De Retz. My Wife got back to tea. Quiet evening at home. Sidney Brooks called in and sat an hour. He told us more of 46Mr. Dehon’s absence. The better opinion seems to be that he was in a state of the utmost mental anguish and on a stormy night of last week wandered away and was frozen under some snow bank.


Probably the Francis J. Oliver family, relatives of Mrs. P. C. Brooks Jr., who was Susan Oliver Heard.

Sunday. March 10. CFA Sunday. March 10. CFA
Sunday. March 10.

A lovely day. I read some of the History of the United States this morning. A feeble book. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham preach from 1. Corinthians 15. 26. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed, is death.” It was an attempt to treat the subject of death in connexion with two or three losses that have happened in the Society lately, more especially that of young Joy. I thought it a little heavy. Discourses of that kind must distress a Clergyman greatly. There is no room for any particular eulogy, and common places are tiresome.

Mr. J. D. Green in the Afternoon from Romans 12. 2. “Be not conformed to this world.” Public opinion as a standard of moral conduct. Its fluctuating character and innate defectiveness. A common subject, simply treated. It is a prevailing vice among us. The judgment of the public is not the proper rule, but it is rigidly imposed as such in this Community. On my return home I read Massillon. Luke 2. 10–11. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” On the Nativity, considered as having produced 1. Glory to God, 2. peace to men. The sermon was a good one.

Evening quietly at home. Resumed my German and read the Connoisseur,1 being the next of the Essayists in order.


CFA’s copy of The Connoisseur, 2 vols., London, 1822, is at MQA.

Monday. 11th. CFA Monday. 11th. CFA
Monday. 11th.

The Winter will not leave us. This morning we had snow and sleet and weather altogether disagreeable. I went to the Office. Nothing new. Wrote a good deal and made some progress in Sparks, the latter part of whose book is very cautiously worded indeed. He says but little respecting the violent days of the embargo and the war.

Took my usual walk. In the afternoon, I attended a meeting of the stockholders of the Boylston Insurance Co. for the purpose of learning something in regard to their Affairs. Found them not so well off as 47I anticipated. The amount of business is so trifling that any loss comes hardly. They have no means of setting aside a reserve to meet it and make Dividends too. I crossed over and then attended a Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market. Nothing material done. A good deal of talk about that stock. Mr. Williams1 would give 130 for it. He will drive every body out of the Market literally.

Quiet evening. Read Madame de Genlis and Mrs. Child. Afterwards, Herder.


John D. W. Williams; see vol. 3:150–151.