Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 25th. CFA Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

Morning pleasant but far more according to the Season. The air was keen. I passed an hour in reading Lord Bolingbroke and found a pithy extract upon which I think I can base another number of Commentary. Mr. Davis tells me that my former papers on the state of the nation produced a great stir and inquiry for Lord Bolingbroke. I discontinued them from an idea that they fell dead upon the Community although I thought and think now that they were the best things I ever wrote. I shall resume them occasionally now that I know they tingled.

Attended divine service all day. An excellent Sermon from Mr. Frothingham. Matthew 7. 1. “Judge not that ye be not judged.” He alluded to the scruple of some founded on this text against impeachment of motives. He did not believe it was the purpose of the text to go so far and instanced the practise of the Saviour himself against it when calling the Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. He then endeavoured to limit the rules of judgment. He applied the text to hasty judg-251ments, to uncharitable judgments, to those which spring from the love of superiority and to those which are without mercy. Mr. Edes, the young man we heard at New Bedford preached in the afternoon, Job 22. 21. “Acquaint thyself now with God and be at peace.” This exhortation he explained to mean not merely acquaintance with the works of the Deity, but with the soul of man and the revelations expressly made of his divine will. A respectable performance.

I called with my Wife to see Mr. and Mrs. Sprague today. Read a Sermon from Barrow continuing the discourse of last Sunday. “Keep thy heart with all diligence” inculcating humility, patience under adversity, and moderation in prosperity, very sensible. Evening, a short visit with my Wife to see Edward Brooks. Mrs. Lyman was there, and shortly after Mrs. Whitwell and her daughter. Home at ten.

Monday. 26th. CFA Monday. 26th. CFA
Monday. 26th.

Morning fine. I went down to the Office and passed my time in writing. I see the Globe has at last republished the whole of the Appeal with a commentary. This merely repeats and affirms the various positions. This will give the Appeal a more extensive circulation than I had any idea of.1 We shall see what the Whig presses will have now to say. Will they persevere in their effort to push it out of sight. I think not, or if they do, it will hardly help them.

My time today was somewhat taken up by money affairs. My note at the State Bank came due today. I paid off one third part of it and had the remainder renewed for sixty days more. There was no objection to the renewal. I had my Boylston Market Shares transferred back to me and thus got rid of that subject. My Bank Shares might have been bought for less money if I had waited a month but I could not foresee that. And now they are worth more than I gave for them. I drew the remainder of my Dividends and went over my Accounts which took much time.

Home, found there Mrs. John Adams and Elizabeth C. Adams. Mrs. Angier also came in from Medford and dined. Nothing of any consequence. Afternoon cut up. My Wife writing notes for an evening party which she is to give—A tax paid to Society for the favour of being bored at other people’s houses. Finished an Article on the state of the Nation which I propose this week to substitute for the Massachusetts Voter. Evening quietly at home. I began Adam Smith’s History of Astronomy.2

252 1.

CFA’s pamphlet, An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, was reprinted in full in successive issues of the Washington Globe (23, 24 Oct., p. 2, cols. 1–7). For an account of its earlier newspaper publication in eight numbers, see note to entry of 23 June, above.

The Globe, in an accompanying editorial called “The Senate’s Usurpations,” commented: “The Constitution... secured to the President the right of removing incapable, delinquent, or unworthy agents.... The attempt to give those wielding the Executive Departments, a freehold tenure of office — to make them life officers, and independent of the President, is to make the Chief Magistrate their dependent.... The movements therefore of the Whig leaders in the Senate to wrest the power of removal from the President, and to appropriate it to themselves is in perfect keeping with ... their distinctly avowed design to maintain their stand against the known will of the nation. They have resolved to set up an independent oligarchy....

“The Constitutional questions involved in these attempts of the Senate, are so ably discussed in the ‘Appeal,’ which we publish, that we can add nothing to its convincing argument.... Nothing could give greater proof of this body’s willingness to exert whatever influence and power it can acquire to the worst of purposes ... than the instance which the Appeal given below makes the subject of its commentary” (23 Oct., p. 3, cols. 1–2).

2.

Smith’s Essays on Philosophical Subjects contains “Principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiries, illustrated by the history of astronomy,... ancient physics,... ancient logic and metaphysics.” At MQA is a copy of the Essays, Basle, 1799, with JQA’s bookplate, as well as a copy of The Whole Works of Smith, 5 vols. in 4, London, 1822.