Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 28th. CFA Sunday. 28th. CFA
Sunday. 28th.

Fine day. I passed the early part of the morning in reading a Sermon of Massillon upon the resurrection. Romans 4. 25 “Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.” He considers this event as furnishing, 1. the motive. 2. the means for perseverance in grace. In the first point I agree with his reasoning. In the second I am hardly so willing. One position of his strikes me painfully. He describes the condition of Christians as utterly miserable if the truth of Revelation is not real. That is to say, that the privation of all the sensual gratification the world affords is a serious and tremendous evil unless it is compensated by a state of future happiness. I think the philosophy of many of the ancient heathen sects is superior to this, and the practical effect of the doctrine is far worse than the theory. That a future existence operates as a powerful superinducing motive to good conduct is certain, but without it, it is by no means true that a state of sensual indulgence would be a state of happiness. Virtue in many respects is its own reward. And it should always in public be so inculcated. For the passions are quite strong enough to require every possible obstacle to their indulgence.

We went to Quincy at eleven o’clock—My Wife and I. Found my father quietly settled at home. Dined with him, and in the Afternoon I attended Divine Service with him. Mr. Whitney preached upon Reform. Text Jeremiah 13. 23. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots, then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Sermon commonplace enough. The old Church is in serious peril on account of the pressure of the debt and the incompetency of Mr. Whitney to sustain himself.1 It is impossible to tell what the 78result is to be. Returned to the house, took tea and then back to Boston. The Country looks cheerless yet. W. G. Brooks passed half an hour with us.

1.

Rev. Peter Whitney was in his thirty-third year as minister of the First Church in Quincy (vol. 1:157). Both because of his age and as a result of recent over-expenditure by the parish, a special committee of inquiry had been recently constituted with JQA as its chairman (JQA, Diary, 22 April and following entries).

Monday. 29th. CFA Monday. 29th. CFA
Monday. 29th.

My man servant has left me and the consequence is that we are put to some inconvenience. This comes of these frequent removals. At the Office—Some applications on account of my house but none that I liked. Engaged in a variety of Commissions on my father’s account as well as my own. The day was sultry and oppressive to a most excessive degree. I felt excessively incommoded by a severe cold in my head caught on one of the chilly days of the last week.

After dinner read Botta. We had intended to have gone to the Theatre or to a party at Mrs. Crowninshield’s,1 but we could get no tickets for the one and I felt unequal to the other—So that we passed the evening quietly at home. I read a little more of Chateaubriand. The Itineraire has not much interest. It displays an amiable man, and an enthusiastic one.

1.

That is, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (vol. 1:30).

Tuesday. 30th. CFA Tuesday. 30th. CFA
Tuesday. 30th.

Morning sultry but the Wind afterwards veered and it became quite cold. I walked with the child previous to going to the Office. My cold however still so very troublesome, that I could do little or nothing with comfort.

I was obliged to go upon several pieces of business which took up time and fatigued me also. Called at the Boylston Market, made up the Record and made the arrangements for the purpose of calling a meeting of Stockholders to authorize the Appropriation contemplated as I mentioned heretofore. These various occupations engrossed all my time until dinner. Afterwards, I read Botta.

Evening walked out with my Wife and paid a visit at Mr. Frothingham’s. Conversation upon the Theatre, Miss Kemble and Francis the first.1 We returned early and I continued Chateau-briand.

1.

Fanny Kemble was the author of a tragedy, Francis the First.