Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Saturday. 9th. CFA Saturday. 9th. CFA
Saturday. 9th.

A pleasant day—I went to the Office and was engaged in the usual manner, in accounts and Diary. Mr. Brooks called in respecting Mr. Tucker’s investment and asked me to go down and talk with him. He wants money or to be off the engagement. Of course I was very anxious to release him from all obligation, as I was quite unwilling to answer for it that I could get the money. But he appeared rather desirous of holding on provided I could give him an assurance before the 13th.

For that purpose I went to see Mr. Haven, the Cashier of the Merchants’ Bank, he was excessively occupied and only gave me a postponing answer, but he promised a positive one at the close of Bank hours on Monday. With this I was obliged to be content.


Lost my walk and a part of my time for Livy by it—But I saved a part and made up the rest from the afternoon. Sismondi and Fouqué. I was luxurious. Evening very quietly at home, finished the Journal to Stella. As Journals usually do, it omits the most important period, just previous to the dissolution of the Ministry.

Sunday. 10th. CFA Sunday. 10th. CFA
Sunday. 10th.

Cloudy with showers but it cleared away cold. I read the North American Review and a little of Swift, then to the Chauncy place meeting house, to hear Mr. F. Cunningham. Jonah. 4. 3. “It is better for me to die than to live.” Upon the effect which discouragements should have upon men. The text is a singular one as is the whole story of Jonah. Announcing an event as certainly about to take place, the Deity by whose authority he does it, is supposed to change his purpose in consequence of the submission of the Ninevites whom he was to destroy and thus to disavow his agent. Jonah takes this in dudgeon, and is not a bit more pleased with the adventure with a gourd which is an illustration of his condition. There is something to my mind exceedingly apocryphal in the whole of Jonah, and this vacillation ascribed to the Creator is not the slightest reason in my forming such an opinion.

Afternoon, Ecclesiasticus 37. 14. “For a man’s mind is sometimes wont to tell him more than seven watchmen, that sit above in a high tower.” The necessity of self warning, the observation of a man’s own mind in explaining the past, in guiding the present, and preparing for the future.

Cunningham’s style seems to take the tinge of his fortunes—He deals in melancholy views of life, and in expressions of disappointment. The ways of providence are inscrutable. He indulged no doubt in dreams of ambition which his College success did just enough to flatter. He hoped for much but from some cause or other, the opinions and feelings of the world present a barrier in appearance insuperable to his progress. Lothrop on the contrary with less labour and far less ambition is accepted very generally as the superior. In looking round upon my class, the idea cannot but strike one, how different the world judges from the inmates of a college. How different are the qualifications necessary for success in the two spheres. Perhaps my own case is not among the least striking, but it remains yet to be seen, and I fear it will be seen that the causes which in my own character worked my 368situation at Cambridge will work to the same end in the course of life. If so, perhaps he may on the same principle yet get up the ladder.

Resumed a walk interrupted by rain at the regular period, with Mr. Walsh. He dined with me. I afterwards read a Sermon of Barrow on the subject and text of last Sunday. He endeavors to account for the various instances of severity on the part of the Deity as explained in the Bible—The fall, the deluge and so forth. But he does not handle the subject with much power. The truth is that the Bible does not give us a fair opportunity to understand the motives of God, nor is it necessary that it should—Obedience being our duty. Evening, Mrs. A., Jos. H. Adams and I to Mr. Brooks’—Supper and home at ten.