Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 27th. CFA Sunday. 27th. CFA
Sunday. 27th.

Morning mild. I amused myself reading the second part of the backwoods of Canada which is quite interesting. Alas! Alas! that stern necessity should drive men to the limits of civilization to hew out for themselves a new creation—So it is. The crimes, the wars and the debts of thousands of years press upon the latest generation with amazing force, and compels it to begin the work of social organization anew.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham from Ecclesiastes 12. 7. “Then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” A magnificent thought which embodies all that can be said upon the subject. Mr. Frothingham used it to introduce some pathetic reflections upon a late case of death in his parish, Miss Homer, which brought tears from most of his female hearers. Walk. Mr. Walsh dined with me.

Afternoon, Jeremiah 12. 5. “If thou hast run with the footmen and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses; and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan.” He explained the last phrase to mean the sudden incursion of wild beasts when driven by the flood from their customary hiding places. But I lost the train of most of the Sermon.

Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow in continuation of that last Sunday and upon the same text. He pursues the subject of the prevailing motives to a concealment of piety, as for example, the desire of being courteous, and deference to the opinions of others, dislike of singu-360larity and prudential considerations. Evening, we went down to see Mr. Brooks. Nobody there but himself and his son and daughter. Evening middling. Home early.

Monday. 28th. CFA Monday. 28th. CFA
Monday. 28th.

Morning mild and tolerably pleasant, but the snow still remains in a most extraordinary manner. I went to the Office—Received another remittance of 2500 from Mr. Shepherd,1 making as I imagine nearly all he has. I called at the Bank to know if they could make an arrangement to discount these bills as Mr. Brooks had procured for me an opportunity for investment. But the Cashier, Mr. Haven declined doing any thing of the kind at present as he said they had very heavy payments to make. He said he would see if he could do better in a few days, and asked me to call in again.

The remainder of the time taken up with accounts. Short walk and Livy. Afternoon, Sismondi, finished Corneille’s Cid and the first volume of the Magic Ring, nothing further. Evening at home. T. K. Davis called and passed the evening. Swift, Journal to Stella.


To CFA, 12 March (Adams Papers).

Tuesday. 29th. CFA Tuesday. 29th. CFA
Tuesday. 29th.

Mild morning and cloudy. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied in Accounts and Diary. Nothing of any consequence has taken place. The ocean at Washington seems to be more still just at present, but whether it is likely to remain so is more doubtful. My last letter to Mr. Slade appeared in the paper of this morning. I think that with it I shall take leave of political affairs for the present. I have served pretty laboriously for some months and contributed to set the current which is now moving with considerable strength. Now I may rest upon my oars.

Mr. B. V. French who is living in Braintree tells me he finds some movement towards pressing my father out. I doubt not something of the kind will be agitated. But I told him I thought it not improbable he would withdraw. Perhaps the latest experience he has had will disgust him. I earnestly hope it will—But doubt. Walk. Livy. Afternoon, Sismondi and Fouqué. Evening, Junot and Swift.

Wednesday. 30th. CFA Wednesday. 30th. CFA
Wednesday. 30th.

Cloudy although the morning promised fair. I went to the Office and passed most of my time in examining the title deeds of the land 361which Mr. Tucker proposes to mortgage to me for Mr. Johnson’s account—A tedious process and one which I think under the circumstances it might be wise to decline.

Office where I found T. K. Davis looking over a pamphlet or two upon the Navy and presently Mr. Conant from Weston to pay his rent. Thus went all the morning, as well that for my walk as for reading Livy. Home. Afternoon, Sismondi and de la Motte Fouqué.

Looked into a work by Loudon upon domestic Architecture but it was not precisely what I wanted.1 I have taken a fancy to erecting a small Country house at Quincy for my family to live in during the Summer months, and I propose to take some steps to procuring a plan such as I want. This will abstract my attention from politics, which are a perpetual source of disgust to me.

Evening, went to a small party at Mrs. Josiah Quincy’s—Merely the immediate acquaintance and rather dull at that. I do not like the reunions of this class. Home at ten, a light supper.


John Claudius Loudon’s Forming, Improving, and Managing Country Residences, 2 vols., London, 1806, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.