Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 15th. CFA Sunday. 15th. CFA
Sunday. 15th.

Cold again. I passed my time in reading Loudon’s Encyclopedia. After all, a far more creditable plan of life to me will be to build and cultivate in Quincy, to try and improve his JQA’s estate and bring up my children as well as I am able—To improve my taste for literature and perhaps write some work for duration.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Dewey formerly of New Bedford, now of New York.1 Titus 1.15. “Unto the pure all things are pure.” This text was treated ingeniously to show that a man’s own mind was the real source of all the views which he takes of life, that goodness was the source of happiness and the opposite, that consequently a cultivation of cheerful views even of the severest sufferings to which man’s nature is subjected is an indispensable duty of a good man. Mr. Dewey has a very bad manner but his style is impressive and his thoughts are many of them fine.

Mr. Walsh walked and dined. Afternoon, James 4. 7. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” A Mr. Woodward who told us that the common notions of the devil’s power of ubiquity were incredible–A young man who has mistaken his vocation.2 I always feel for persons 389in such cases. They have made a false step at the threshold of life which never can be recovered from.

Afternoon, read a Sermon of Dr. Barrow. The last of the series regarding universal salvation, and quite conclusive so far as regards the orthodox doctrine of election, but not so satisfactory upon any positive ground. He concludes with three pages of application. In the evening, I went with my Wife to Mr. P. C. Brooks’, the last evening prior to his departure for the country. Mrs. Frothingham and her son, and a Mr. Coit besides ourselves. Home early, Swift.

1.

Rev. Orville Dewey, after ten years at the First Church in New Bedford, in 1835 had begun his distinguished pastorate at the Second Congregational Church in New York City, where he became a leading figure in American Unitarianism ( DAB ).

2.

Probably Rev. George Wheelock Woodward, Dartmouth 1831, Harvard Divinity School 1834 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

Monday. 16th. CFA Monday. 16th. CFA
Monday. 16th.

Warmer day, I was busy in getting up things to go to Quincy. The time has at last come when I must pay regular visits there to oversee the improvement of the garden. I did not reach there until nearly eleven, and passed an hour in talking with the man whom Mr. Spear had engaged. He promises fairly and will I hope be in a way to give us a better garden than we have been heretofore in the habit of having. Returned to town to dinner. The Country did not look as much advanced as usual and it seemed burnt up, for so early in the season.

Afternoon quietly at home, Sismondi, Ariosto, and Forster who is tiresome with his dissertations. Evening at home, until late. I tried to write to my father but was not satisfied with the attempt. Then to Mrs. Frothingham’s where were assembled a few of the family—Gorham Brooks and his Wife, W. G. Brooks his Wife and her sister. Return home, Swift.

Tuesday. 17th. CFA Tuesday. 17th. CFA
Tuesday. 17th.

Morning warmer. I went out with the children, but Louisa seems quite poorly. After a little run on the common, I went to the Office. Conversation with Mr. Everett upon the extraordinary course of the Globe against my father. He showed me a letter received from him last Saturday1 before this last event, in which I see clearly an approximation towards Mr. Webster and the Whig policy in the House. This is what I have been fearing and it shows the necessity of my keeping free from party engagement.

390

Visits from I. P. Davis about my Picture of my Grandfather,2 and from Ruf. Davis the Revolutionary veteran as well as a tenant. Nothing new. Home, read Livy—Minucius, Fabius Cunctator &ca. Afternoon, reading Sismondi and Ariosto. I am out of humour with Forster who germanizes. My spirits a little depressed—Why or wherefore I cannot clearly imagine.

This political turmoil is the uneasiest sphere in which to live that can be conceived—I mean to keep out of it. Evening at home with my Wife. Conversation until nine, when I made another attempt to write to my father which I did not leave until I signed my name.3 That is the only way.

1.

Probably JQA to A. H. Everett, 10 May (DLC; printed in AHR , 11:349–352 [Jan. 1906]).

2.

That is, the Gilbert Stuart 1823 portrait of JA, on which see vol. 2:426–430; Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA , p. 188–191.

3.

18 May (Adams Papers).