Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 23d. CFA Saturday. 23d. CFA
Saturday. 23d.

Another beautiful day. I went to the Office and was engaged there part of my time in writing, partly in reading a little of the History of 54the United States and partly in correcting proof of my Father’s Report. I drew off the final copy of my Caption, and took it to the Office to be referred to Mr. Davis. Thus went the morning with a long walk in consequence of the beauty of the day.

After dinner I was engaged in drawing off the last of my Sherry Wine purchased some time since from Mr. Williams. In consequence of my want of confidence in my Man, I did the whole of the work myself. Afterwards, I read a good deal of Cardinal de Retz. Felt interested in the account of the Meeting with the Grand Condé, but on the whole, as Voltaire observes, there is a very great inequality in the style. Some portions are decidedly heavy.

Evening quietly at home with my Wife and Miss Phillips. This is almost the first evening since her stay that we have been domestic. Her spirits require company and variety. And I think her stay with us has improved them. Read Mrs. Trollope. She did not see the best Society. But she judged well of what she did see. An American could judge equally well of England. It is all nonsense. Architecture and the Connoisseur.

Sunday. 24th. CFA Sunday. 24th. CFA
Sunday. 24th.

A fine day although an easterly wind took from it the delightful balm which we enjoyed yesterday and the day before. I finished the Article Architecture in the Encyclopedia previous to attending Divine Service as usual at Chauncy Place. Mr. Frothingham preached all day, first from Psalms 34. 19. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” A discourse of a consolatory kind apparently. The reasons why the righteous are afflicted are not to be known by Man. He can merely assign some plausible conjecture with which to satisfy himself. But they present to him the strongest argument he has short of Revelation for the belief of a future State. They throw him upon the Justice of a creating and governing Deity, who will make all things result in good. Second, from the book of Leviticus 19. 14. “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind.” The Spirit of this passage may be taken to be, that you injure not the physically maimed, nor those who may morally be included in the class. Not the really deaf only but those who are absent and cannot hear, not merely the blind, but the ignorant and uninformed are within the scope of that benignant law which watches over the defenceless.


I afterwards read a Sermon by Massillon upon the Epiphany. 2 Matthew 2. “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” The Star in the East may be considered as the light of truth, which was adored by the Magi, avoided and concealed by the Priests and persecuted by Herod. Hence the division. I. Few receive truth. 2. Many endeavour to evade and conceal it. 3. Many openly betray and oppose it. There is a great deal of soundness in the discourse. The world is not easily open to new truth. It exerts itself to avoid it at first, and nothing but the force of habit and the brilliancy with which it continues forever to shine produces the conviction that at last settles down in Society.

William G. Brooks, my Wife’s cousin dined with us today. In the evening the ladies went down to Mr. Frothingham’s, and I joined them there at nine. A large Company. All the Wales family,1 Mr. Thayer, Dr. Fisher and many others. We remained a little while and returned home before ten.


Perhaps the family of William Wales of Dorchester. Mrs. Wales, before her marriage, was Elizabeth Quincy, great-granddaughter of Justice Edmund Quincy.