Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

Clear morning and fine day. I occupied part of yesterday Afternoon and this morning in pasting in the rest of the labels in my possession into my father’s books. It is now some years since I received them, and only now have I finished the work.1 Many books still remain without them.

I attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham. Morning from 1. Thessalonians 5. 19. “Quench not the spirit.” A view of the 68danger to a religious spirit in the three ages of youth, manhood and age. I did not catch the Text of the Afternoon’s though a better discourse.

Read Massillon. The book I now am upon is entitled Mysteries, being Sermons upon those Anniversaries which commemorate the supernatural and inexplicable incidents in the history of the Saviour. This discourse was upon the Incarnation. 1. Corinthians 2. 7–8. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew.” Three characteristics he thinks are to be found in man. A disposition to judge of all things by the palpable distinctions of this world, which forms his pride. A reference of every feeling to the pleasures of the senses and an inclination to bring his reason up as the infallible and universal judge. These points he considers to be affected by the mystery of the Incarnation, first in the humility of the Saviour’s worldly situation, second, in the total disregard of all the objects of human desire, third, in the incomprehensible mystery of his birth. On this last point, there is some strong reasoning. Thus passed my day. Gardner Gorham passed the evening with us.


The bulk of JQA’s extensive library was at the Old House (vol. 3:55–56); however, upon the death of GWA, JQA had acquired, largely as an offset against his assumption of his son’s debts, GWA’s large collection of books. These remained in Boston in CFA’s possession (vol. 3:324–325; 4:283–284). Affixing JQA’s bookplate in each volume and cataloging the collection were the means adopted to maintain the identity of the books after they were shelved along with CFA’s own books in his home and at his office. The task had been carried on intermittently since March 1830 (vol. 3:176).

Monday. 15th. CFA Monday. 15th. CFA
Monday. 15th.

Morning clear but extraordinarily cold for the Season. I left home early for the purpose of attending a meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market. Question as to the Appropriation for widening the Street. A discussion of two hours followed which was wound up by a recommendation to appropriate two thousand dollars in aid of the object. The sum required is five. Mr. Child dissented.1 I consider the appropriation as rather heavy. But I was surprised to find the value attached to Property up here.

This delay was a serious one to me as I had designed an early day at Quincy. Determined however upon not being put off, I started at ten and reached the house about eleven. Found the Painter gone. My 69time being short, I employed it to the best of my ability and returned to town just by dinner time.

Afternoon, T. B. Adams called and conversed upon subjects of business &c. He leaves tomorrow. I find him vastly improved. Evening passed quietly at home. Began the Itineraire of Chateaubriand.2


R. Child (below, entry for 27 April). He is erroneously identified at vol. 3:220 and thus in the index (1968 edn.) as Joshua Child.


CFA’s copy of Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem et de Jérusalem à Paris, 2 vols., Paris, 1812, is in MQA.