Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 6th. CFA Sunday. 6th. CFA
Sunday. 6th.

Another fine morning. I was grieved to find this morning my child’s eye affected by a violent cold and inflammation.1 How it can be accounted for I am entirely unable to say unless it proceeds from teething. It disfigures her exceedingly. The anxieties on account of children are infinite. And I know of none so torturing. My reliance is invariably upon a higher power. What could I do without it?

Went to Meeting all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham in the morning from Joshua 10. 13. “And the sun stood still and the moon stayed.” He denied the possibility of such an event. An assertion as rash as it was presumptuous. Had he confined himself to the probability of the story, I should perhaps have considered the question whether the Deity would stop the course of creation for the sake of the slaughter of a battle. But I can not and hope I never shall doubt the power of the Deity to do what seemeth to him good with the works of his hand. The rest of the Sermon was a pretty application of the idea to the various desires of Man, whether as impelled by ambition, by avarice, money or the various other passions.

In the Afternoon Dr. Lowell2 took up the same subject of time as connected with the opening of the year and illustrated it forcibly in one or two familiar points according to his custom. He rarely says much that is novel. But his discourses are always calculated to affect strongly the mass. His single idea that this was the beginning of a year at the close of which perhaps many of those present would not be living created a profound silence. Yet there is no more common topic in the Pulpit.

At home, I did not succeed in reading Massillon until evening.3 Being obliged to go for the Dr. on account of our anxiety for Louisa, our child. His report is that her sickness comes from the eye teeth. He lanced the Gums. I read some of Ruffhead.4 Massillon’s Sermon was upon the danger of falling back into Sin. Division, three causes. 1. The precautions against dangerous temptation omitted. 2. Resolutions wantonly violated. 3. The Reparations for sinful conduct not practised. Text. Romans 6. 9. “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead 6dieth no more: death hath no more dominion over him.” Easter day. The Text has but an indirect application. Passed an hour at Mr. Frothingham. Our friend Buckingham came in.5


Louisa (LCA2), now eighteen months old (vol. 4:111 and Adams Genealogy), was the object of unremitting parental solicitude.


Charles Lowell, minister of the West Church, Boston (vol. 2:395).


CFA, in pursuing his study of pulpit oratory, was in the habit of reading and commenting on a sermon of Jean Baptiste Massillon each Sunday (vol. 4:97).


The Life of Alexander Pope by Owen Ruffhead; see vol. 4:416.


Joseph T. Buckingham, editor of the Boston Courier, was only in some senses a friend of the Adamses (vol. 3:342).

Monday. 7th. CFA Monday. 7th. CFA
Monday. 7th.

Fine morning though the Weather was colder than it had been. The child does not appear to be materially relieved. I am anxious about her. Went to the Office. Accounts and Diary took up the time. Gulliver sent and settled his Acct. by compromise. I was glad to get any thing. My Writ was the last resource and I had thought it unavailing. But it seems to have done the thing. Mr. Geitner also called in and paid on account. This gives breathing time to my money affairs.

Took a walk. Mr. Brooks and his son P. C. Jr. dined with me. After dinner, I went to a Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market Association. All present. Accounts looked over. Nothing done.1 Thence to the Annual Meeting of the Proprietors of the Athenaeum. Election of Trustees. Col. Perkins declines. Mr. F. C. Gray chosen. Ticknor, Vice-President. I do not admire all these People.2

Return to tea. The child has had a Leech applied and taken Medicine, but the inflammation continues. It is always painful to see a person suffering, but when that person is a child it is ten times increased. Finished Burns. No fire in my study so I read Ruffhead in the Parlour. Mr. Everett sent home my Article. I read it over coolly.


CFA had become a director and the clerk of the Boylston Market two years earlier (vol. 3:417) to represent JQA’s shares in the Association.


On CFA’s attitude toward Boston’s men of wealth and station who, among the proprietors of the Boston Athenaeum, currently filled its offices, see vol. 1:312; 3:xxx, 124.

Tuesday. 8th. CFA Tuesday. 8th. CFA
Tuesday. 8th.

The weather today was clear but much more in accordance with the usual character of the Season. The Child seemed on the whole to be relieved though yet very much of a Sufferer. I went to the Office. Engaged all the morning in my usual occupations. But I obtained a short 7time of leisure to read more of Dr. Lingard. I seized half an hour to go and pick up a book at the Athenaeum and then took my walk, first of all, calling at my Wood dealers for some fuel, and then at the Boylston Market to examine the Pantheon Hall for an advertisement.

Afternoon quietly at home. Began rewriting my Article which I read yesterday. This will perhaps be no better than the last, and I am foolish to make further attempts, yet I do not like to lose entirely all my previous labour. My mind produces nothing that satisfies me or any body else. I am in these matters pretty much discouraged.

Evening quiet at home. Read to my Wife, part of Ourika a French novel of Madame de Duras, and Pope’s Eloisa to Abelard as well as the Rape of the Lock.1 Received rather a dispirited letter from my Mother.2


Probably in the edition of Pope’s Works now at MQA (vol. 4:116).


3 Jan. (Adams Papers). LCA had been ill with scarlet fever which had followed hard upon an earlier illness.