Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 12th. CFA Sunday. 12th. CFA
Sunday. 12th.

A cloudy day with a few drops of rain and now and then a misty dampness in the air. I occupied an hour or two in work upon books and attended divine Service all day. A gentleman preached whose name I do not know. His first text was from Acts 20. 24 upon fortitude, the other from Luke 17.21 the kingdom of God. They were neither of them remarkable and both quite respectable.

Read a Sermon of Massillon’s for the Anniversary of the Assumption of the Virgin. Text from the Song of Solomon, 1.6. or rather 7 as it stands in our translation. “Tell me, O thou, whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.” He considered the death of Mary as affording her 1. consolation. 2. glory—Consolation for the indifference expressed towards her by Jesus, for the slights and injuries received by him from the Jewish People, for the length of her stay upon earth, glory as a compensation for her abasement on earth, by her state of privation, of dependence and of disgraceful suspicion. This is one of the Sermons which I do not admire. It gives such mournful ideas of the state of a religious man. It expresses such a conviction of his miserable state of unhappiness in this world, that I wonder how any man can think well of his God who believes it. The Saviour expresses no worldly affections because he had none. Mary was like all other women, a sinful being and the attempt to make her more so arises from the natural infirmity of humanity which lays stress upon the ties of birth. The Saviour in this as in every thing else must be excepted from the general rule. The mystery of the birth of Christ is one of those things I never pretend to rest upon. Inexplicable as it is in every point of view, I prefer to let it remain so, satisfied with the divine nature of the mission 88and its beneficent purpose. Mr. Degrand was here all day. Evening quietly at home.

Monday. 13th. CFA Monday. 13th. CFA
Monday. 13th.

Fine day. I rode to town. Weather quite warm. Time taken up all the morning in Commissions. Went to the House to see that every thing was safe and in order there. Found that the Painters had been both curious and negligent—Opening windows &c., but no harm done. Then to the Athenaeum, to write Diary at Office, and to make a purchase or two. Such is the outline of the morning.

I remained in town to dinner and went to the Tremont House, the table thin and not so good as usual. Thence to Boylston Market calling on the way to see one or two Tenants and to dun for money. There was no meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market as I had expected, so I remained in town for nothing.

Returned to Quincy by five and read an Ode or two of Horace. Evening very quiet. Upon going to bed however we, found the child exhibiting symptoms which from their suddenness and similarity to the croup alarmed us exceedingly. She got through the night however, though not without constant anxiety on our part. Indeed, I have never before experienced what emotion was. I love that child perhaps too much. If so, may God in his mercy look tenderly upon me.

Tuesday. 14th. CFA Tuesday. 14th. CFA
Tuesday. 14th.

It looked misty and rained occasionally so that I did not go to town. My morning taken up principally in reading Horace and in working upon the Catalogue. I make progress but as yet rather slowly. I hope to get things so arranged in a day or two as to make a final disposition of most of the books. To this purpose I had the Office cleared away this morning and effected a transfer of those volumes which I designed to go over. Some discrimination must be exercised as the mould has made serious inroads even upon the books of value.1

In the Afternoon, notwithstanding the rain, I was obliged to ride down to Mount Wollaston to see the farmer and buy some hay. The late dry weather has materially raised the price of this article.

The child appeared so hoarse today, that she was subjected to some severity of Medicine. I perceive now the value of so careful a Nurse as Mrs. Fields if I had not known it before.2 Some exposure has produced this effect. Evening quiet at home.

89 1.

“The Office,” located on the grounds at the Old House, was on the second floor of the old farmhouse. Until after JQA’s death, the books which JA had given to the town of Quincy remained there subject to “the injury of time, of damp, and mice, and utter neglect” (vol. 4:139, 389–391).


On LCA2’s nurse, Mrs. Field, see vol. 4:314.