Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 30th. CFA Saturday. 30th. CFA
Saturday. 30th.

Clear morning, but the wind so very high as to be unpleasant. I went to the Office and was occupied in taking off the Quarterly Account. This with a stroll which I took with Mr. Peabody to look at the improvements going on at the North end of the town consumed much of my time, and I did not omit my regular walk. Dinner as usual. Afternoon, Mr. Joli whose work does not interest me at all. Is it not time lost to work upon it. Evening, Les Parvenus, and Schiller’s Thirty years War.

My time is pretty regularly filled up, but not very beneficially, and 59as I grow older, I begin to feel a greater doubt of my power of ever being able to apply my capacity to any serviceable end. Yet it is not quite fitting that I should despair. I am almost too young. Perhaps with the same powers, I cease to feel the same degree of confidence that I did. A young man can very often do more with assurance than an old one with substantial talent.

Sunday. 31st. CFA Sunday. 31st. CFA
Sunday. 31st.

The day was a pleasant one with the wind at the Southwest. I passed an hour in reading the Account of the French Revolution as given in the little Library of Entertaining Knowledge.1 It is a little confused from its declining to adopt the style of Narration and using the various testimony which has been elicited, according to the words of the Witnesses.

Attended Divine Service, but my Wife being taken faint in the morning,2 I left the Church with her in the Prayer. And as I could not well return, I took a walk. Afternoon, went alone and heard Mr. Bigelow. Text from Psalms. 37. 37. “Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.” I heard the same discourse at Quincy on the 29th of last July. His manner has not improved since then.3

On my return home, I read Massillon. A Sermon upon the Anniversary of the purification of the Virgin. Luke 2. 22. “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” He considers this as a striking example of submission to the will of God whence comes his whole discourse. The difficulties in the way of this submission he calculates to be, 1. A degree of vain glory which leads all men to question what they cannot understand. 2. An impression that all objects are to be referred to self as the object of creation 3. A false estimate of virtue which substitutes certain duties agreeable to the individual for such as properly belong to him. On the other hand, he holds the benefit of submission to be found in the relief it gives from the pains of life. These he classes thus, 1. Anxiety for the future. 2. Distress for the present. 3. Regrets at the past. On the whole a good Sermon, particularly in the third point of the first and the whole of the second division. But the system of division is bad in itself as may be seen in the first part where nearly the same idea prevails in 60the parts, the presumption of man. Evening quiet at home. Read a little of the French Revolution.


A continuing publication (51 vols., 1829–1838) of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, London. CFA’s set is in MQA.


ABA would give birth to a second child in September.


Vol. 4:337.