Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

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.

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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.

1.

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

Monday. 25th. CFA Monday. 25th. CFA
Monday. 25th.

Foggy rainy morning but it afterwards cleared away. I went to the Office and was engaged most of my time in correcting proof for my father’s Report. It goes on slowly. Nothing of any particular consequence occurred. Took my walk. Received a letter from my Mother stating the probabilities of their coming.1 According to this my father is to be here directly and her coming is postponed until May. So it is.

My spirits were on the whole, better today. Afternoon, read Cardinal de Retz’s Memoirs who flags as he goes on.

My Wife and Miss Elizabeth Phillips proposing to go to the Theatre, we took tea at the Tremont House. From thence a whole party proceeded, consisting of Mrs. Gorham Brooks, Mrs. Frothingham and 3 children, two Miss Phillips’ and my Wife. Much ado about nothing, and an Afterpiece called Free and Easy. Mrs. Barrett as Beatrice, it being for her benefit. Barrett as Benedick.2 It was better supported than I expected. The other piece was absolutely good for nothing. Yet it made us laugh.

1.

Letter missing.

2.

On George H. and Mrs. Barrett (earlier Anne Jane Henry), actors in the theater for many years, see vol. 1:92, note, and Odell, Annals N. Y. Stage , 3:121, 123.

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