Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 20th. CFA Sunday. 20th. CFA
Sunday. 20th.

A beautiful day. I read a little but was more taken up in preparing my Wife for the intelligence of the death of her most intimate friend Julia Robins.1 This happened at about two o’clock, the consequence of a difficulty in childbirth. Such is the vanity of human life. Such are the hopes of man.

I attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham from Jeremiah 6. 16. “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways and see and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein and ye shall find rest for your souls.” An attempt to distinguish the true ground between improvement and innovation with a distant view to the question now agitating the Unitarian community. Mr. Walsh walked and dined with me after I had called at Mrs. Carter’s to see Anne by desire of my wife.

Afternoon a Mr. Ellis.2 Psalm 2. II. “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” A very fair Essay upon the mixed state of human life but neither novel nor much affecting the feelings. Afternoon Dr. Barrow continuation of text and subject of several preceding Sundays. This was an endeavour to prove the character of Jesus from the fitness of verification of the prophecies, a point by the way attacked some years ago by Mr. Noyes in the Christian Examiner.3 Thus it is that one or the other foundation of Christianity is perpetually attacked by its would be friends. Dr. Barrow’s argument appears to me extremely strong.


Evening with my Wife who is yet so feeble in her room that she sits up only for about an hour in the day. Afterwards I read Grahame, finishing his Account of New Jersey.


ABA’s oldest and closest friends were Anne Carter and Julia Gorham (vol. 3:2). The latter had married Richard Robins in Oct. 1835 (vol. 6:236). She survived her child, who died at birth, by only two days (CFA to LCA, 21 Nov., Adams Papers).


Probably George Edward Ellis, who in 1836 had graduated from the Divinity School at Harvard and who would later have a distinguished career in the pulpit and in scholarship; see DAB .


On the essay on Old Testament prophecies by George Rapall Noyes in the Christian Examiner in 1834, see vols. 5:340; 6:398.

Monday 21st. CFA Monday 21st. CFA
Monday 21st.

Morning dark with heavy rain. I went to the Office. Election returns still are dropping in. Mr. Van Buren has lost New Jersey and gained North Carolina by which proceeding he is restored. But throughout the Country the appearances are very great indifference to the result. Mr. Van Buren is President because the people do not know of any better man. He will have large scope for his talent of conciliation.

I was occupied in Accounts and bringing up my Diary which always is backward. This must no longer be. Home. Livy. The text is now extremely easy but not so interesting being merely the military progress of the Romans in Greece, and the victories of Flamininus. Afternoon, Grahame, History of Pennsylvania. This review of the work has been beneficial to me.

I spend nearly an hour every evening in instructing my daughter who now appears to make progress. Read to my Wife extracts from that frothy production the London Court Journal,1 after which I rewrote the paper which I design to send as my last communication for the present to the Advocate.2


See vol. 6:350.


CFA, in dispatching his article to the Advocate, accompanied it with a letter to the editor, B. F. Hallett: “Having at last reached the end of the voyage in which I shipped under your colours, Mr. Van Buren being now elected President with the Antimasons of this State generally rallied in his support, I now propose to rest for a time in peace. Whatever has been within my limits to do with a view to rescue Massachusetts from the Whig grasp has been cheerfully done and will in all probability if of any use be continued until success crowns our exertions” (22 Nov. 1836, LbC, Adams Papers).

Tuesday. 22d. CFA Tuesday. 22d. CFA
Tuesday. 22d.

Morning mild and pleasant but it afterwards clouded. I went to the Office and occupied myself mainly in writing. Mr. Walsh came in and talked. The political news continues remarkable. Mr. Van Buren ap-135pears likely to lose Georgia and Indiana. He is nevertheless in all probability elected. North Carolina has decided the question, but the success of his Administration is another and a totally different thing. I have made up my mind to do what I think right. At any rate, under such circumstances, I shall have my conscience clear.

Short walk and home. Livy. After dinner I attended the funeral of Mrs. Julia Robbins. I could not help remembering that the only time in which I was at this house was thirteen months before when this poor girl was married. The same scene, the same performers, but alas, what a different purpose. The world has passed on already and records only the departure of another mortal, but those who are in it look back as upon a dream on the purposes of her existence and submit with resignation to what they cannot understand. Dr. Palfrey made a long prayer in which he dwelt upon all the relations of the deceased in turn. There was much in the prayer that was good but simplicity of feeling was not it’s characteristic. We then followed the body to its final resting place and departed each to his home with minds impressed more or less by the lesson we had been taught.

My Wife was anxiously expecting me home to hear my Account of the closing ceremony on her most beloved friend. It is a little singular that my Wife should have been taken sick exactly at the same time and should have been prevented from witnessing any portion of the final scene. In this I view as I do in all things the action of a superior power which guides and guards us without our knowing how. I am religious because I am grateful. Evening at home. The Court Journal, and afterwards writing.