Fine day, though windy. I passed my morning looking over a number or two of the Gallery of Portraits,1 then to Church. Dr. Lowell.2 I. Peter 4. 7. “The end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.” The Dr. did not exactly explain this hard passage, for he seemed to construe the end of all things as applied to any particular generation of men, to be death, in preparation for which they might be exhorted to sobriety and prayer. Perhaps in all the new Testament, now eighteen centuries old, nothing is more calculated to suggest doubt than the frequent announcement of the end of all things then near.
Mr. Walsh walked and dined with me. Mr. Frothingham in the afternoon. Matthew 10. 16. “Be ye therefore wise as serpents.” Mr. F. 149tried to explain the distinction between wisdom compounded of prudence and knowledge, and cunning but I think he would have more fully illustrated his point if he had followed out the text which evidently qualifies this passage by adding “harmless as doves.”
Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow upon the Incarnation. Matthew 1. 20. “For that which is conceived in her is of the holy Ghost.” A mystery. Evening at home. Goguet, and Tom Cringle.
A venture of the London Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge; seven volumes were published between 1833 and 1837.
Rev. Charles Lowell of the West Church, Boston; see vol. 2:395.
A lovely day. The cold season keeps back astonishingly. I went to the Office. Time occupied variously. Mr. Hallett for a rarity came in and talked. His object seemed to be to inquire what the probabilities were of my father’s course. I told him as much as I knew which was not much. We talked over the present state of things and I stated to him my difficulties, but on the whole my general resolution to go on. Politics are eminently disgusting to me. I can suit nobody. Mr. Hallett spoke of A. H. Everett and his having represented to him the objections to his going to Washington. Just at this moment A. H. Everett came in, and after Mr. H. went he spoke to me of the remonstrance and intimated a suspicion it had come from me. I recapitulated the statement Mr. Hallett had made to me on the 16th of last month and added that with my notions of Mr. Van Buren, his most effective course would be to acquire weight with the party here. They kept me until dinner time.
Afternoon at home. MS. and Swift. Evening looking over some volumes of Pamphlets, then to Edward Brooks’ where my Wife spent the evening. He is gone to Washington and she is alone. Home. Goguet.
Morning mild and pleasant. I went to the Office and occupied myself in a variety of ways, but particularly in accounts. Mr. Walsh came in for a little while and so did a Mr. Robbins with whom my interview was by no means agreeable. He is the man who sold to my carpenter Mr. Ayer some lumber and drew the money for it of me in advance on a misunderstanding which he himself occasioned as to the terms upon which he was to have it.1 He presented to me his Account with the balance due which I declined to pay and he left me. Received a short letter from my Mother upon various matters.2150
Home and read Livy. Afternoon, MS of Genl. Warren’s letters, exceedingly uninteresting considering his position. Swift, and a little German which I propose to renew. Had a fit of low spirits again today without exactly knowing why or wherefore.
Evening went to a party at Mrs. F. Parkman’s, consisting principally of the connections of that large family. It was exceedingly dull to me who knew but few of the persons. Talk with Edward Blake for a short time.3 And home.
On the arrangement made with Shepherd Robbins, see above, entry for 19 November.
LCA to CFA, 16 Dec., Adams Papers.
On Edward Blake, see vol. 3:2.