Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday. 11th. CFA Friday. 11th. CFA
Friday. 11th.

Morning so stormy that I could not very conveniently go to Quincy as I had wished and intended. Office where I was occupied partly in Accounts and partly in trying to redeem the arrears of my Diary. But 129the election returns absorb so much interest as to consume more leisure than ought to be spared. The appearances today are decidedly in favour of Mr. Van Buren in Pennsylvania although by a much reduced majority. This would seem to put an end to the exultation on the other side, but it does not, or rather the appearances are kept up for the purpose of operating upon the vote here next Monday.1 I called at the Advocate Office to look over their papers. Nothing decisive to be gathered from them. Home. Livy. Afternoon, continuing Grahame. My spirits by no means remarkable. Evening reading Lamartine to my Wife.


Congress did not set a uniform date on which elections for federal office would be held in all the states until 1845.

Saturday. 12th. CFA Saturday. 12th. CFA
Saturday. 12th.

Morning cloudy but it afterwards cleared. Office, occupied in Accounts, Diary and partly at the Advocate Office where I conversed more fully with Mr. Hallett. I asked him what the probabilities were of Mr. Van Buren’s policy. He intimated that it would be too much Southern to gratify the feelings of the North. This confirms my apprehensions and renders our position in this State exceedingly difficult. I confess I am puzzled. We must go along cautiously.

Mr. Hallett also talked to me of Alexander H. Everett. He said he had no confidence in him and although they should elect him that he was not inclined to think he would reward them for their pains by his conduct. The great difficulty with Mr. Everett is that he wants a basis of morals. Duplicity and equivocation have lost him the first position in the State.

Home. Afternoon, Graham and evening Goguet. My child has been threatened with croup something entirely new to her. Dr. Bigelow came in this evening and pronounced it passing off. Spirits heavy.

Sunday. 13th. CFA Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

A most lovely day, such as we seldom have at so advanced a period of the season. I employed an hour in assorting and arranging old papers which have been accumulating. Then attended divine service where I heard Mr. Austin1 preach from John 5. 36. “The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.” I recorded on Monday last that Mr. Frothingham had then explained to me the nature of the 130religious difference which has lately taken place in the Unitarian ranks. It seems that Mr. George Ripley one of several clergymen who have imbibed a fondness for German metaphysics has in a late review in the Christian Examiner advanced an opinion that the miracles performed by the saviour are no evidence of his divine mission. Mr. Norton has taken this in such dudgeon as to withdraw very formally in a Newspaper paragraph his support from the Review i.e., the Examiner , and the Clergy generally are at work upon it.2 Mr. Austin’s Sermon was as pointed as his text, and seemed to me to make out an unanswerable case.

Walk with Mr. Walsh who dined with me. Afternoon Proverbs 18. 15. “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” A sermon of good sense but not striking. Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow from Acts 9. 22 the whole instead of part of the verse as last Sunday. “But Saul increased the more in strength and confounded the Jews which doubt at Damascus, proving that this is the very Christ.” A further argument upon the true character of the Saviour from the nature of his power and the spread of his doctrine.

Evening, T. K. Davis took tea here and passed a considerable part of the evening. General conversation in which he was very pleasant. If I could find many of his character here how much pleasanter would this place be to me.


Probably Rev. Daniel Austin of Brighton, Harvard Divinity School 1827.


The controversy among Unitarian divines derived from Rev. George Ripley’s essay-review of James Martineau’s The Rationale of Religious Enquiry (London, 1836) in the Christian Examiner, 21:225 – 254 (Nov. 1836). Ripley’s response to the attacks upon his position is noted in the same, p. 402 – 403 (Jan. 1837).