Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 5th. CFA Friday. 5th. CFA
Friday. 5th.

I did intend to have gone to Quincy this morning, but the weather being misty and the roads wet, I also having a pretty bad cold, the design was abandoned. Went to the Office. Engaged in various occupations, of Accounts, writing &c. all my time. With not much apparently to do, I yet find that I have no time to read. This always was a great puzzle to me. Took my usual walk. The weather became warmer and the afternoon was clear.

I began my Afternoon on a new plan. Read Botta for two hours, 63and German for one, and found that it answered infinitely better. Evening. Read to my Wife, part of the Parvenus and the close of the Merry Wives. It is rather a mediocre play. Evening, I became interested in a guide book of the City of Paris. The Account of the Rogues and thieves there is extraordinary. But it was rather wasting time. Architecture or Painting will do far better.

Saturday. 6th. CFA Saturday. 6th. CFA
Saturday. 6th.

Fine weather. I went to the Office and was engaged in writing and Accounts most of the Morning. Received a letter from my father1 together with the Deed returned to the purchasers of the Boylston Property. I forwarded it directly to Mr. Curtis. Looked over my Affairs carefully, then drew up a Lease to settle with Mr. Fuller the new Tenant, and then went up to the House to examine it. The workmen were in it. From thence I went to an auction sale of Wines which consumed half an hour. And I had no time for my regular walk.

After dinner, read for two hours in Botta’s History translated in a pretty bald manner by Mr. G. A. Otis. I filled another hour with Schiller. The days having grown so much longer, I have to improve a morning hour, with which I read Horace’s Satires. On the whole my present distribution of labour pleases me.

Evening quietly at home. Read to my Wife. My cold was tolerably uncomfortable, and My Wife seemed to be following the example. Evening, not yet having regular labour, I commenced the Account of the Excavations at Pompeii, in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge.


1 April (Adams Papers).

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

Morning delightful. But the East Wind set in cold and harsh at Noon. I read part of the Account of Pompeii before attending divine service. Mr. Frothingham preached all day. Job. 5. 26. “Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season.” A funeral Sermon upon Mr. Morril late a Deacon in the Church who died last week at an advanced age.1 It was on the whole happily done, for the subject was one of those whose services to the world are not of a noisy character, and who pass through life satisfied with the performance of the honest but limited duties of their sphere. A good man is as the world goes, as fair a spectacle as it can present, but there is no great room for the vehemence of rhetorical eulogy, nor 64for the exercise of any extensive philosophical reflection. Mr. Frothingham did every thing that was possible. He alluded to his long life and his death as a uniform Christian and to the performance of his duties social and moral. The afternoons was a discourse commemorative of the day, Easter. John 20. 20. “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

I read a Sermon of Massillon’s from the same text as last Sunday’s, the subject was the proper disposition for a holy life, exemplified in the text through 1. the spirit of self devotion or sacrifice in the Saviour 2. in the spirit of fidelity of Mary. The first branch included a view of the Atonement which I do not meddle with as it is one of the knotty points of doctrinal theology. A short walk with my Wife who is suffering from a cold. Evening at home. Read Pompeii.


James Morrill had been an officer and deacon of the First Church from 1789 to his death on 3 April. A lengthy extract from Mr. Frothingham’s funeral sermon, together with a likeness of Morrill, is printed in Richard D. Pierce, ed., The Records of the First Church in Boston 1630–1868, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns ., 40 (1961):724–727.