Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday. 21st. CFA Saturday. 21st. CFA
Saturday. 21st.

Although my copy was given out the other day, it has not yet appeared. I went to the Office. The clouds I spoke of last night have gathered so effectively that today we had a regular snow storm set in, with a very high wind. My time at the Office not much interrupted. I attended to the payment of several of the bills remaining due by my father. And thus the time passed.

Home, my Wife and I were invited to go down and dine with Mr. Brooks but the storm came on so violently she concluded not to go. I went and found Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham, nobody else. The dinner was tolerably pleasant though nothing interesting. Home after stopping for a minute at the Athenaeum. I did nothing all the afternoon.

Evening, read to my Wife from the affected and yet rather interesting narrative of Willis who imposed himself upon the credulity of the Europeans for an Official character of some consequence. After this, I 170sat down to writing but found my thoughts were hardly matured enough to go on very distinctly. I am almost tired of studying out so intricate a subject with the patience necessary for so little profit. To bed late.

Sunday 22d. CFA Sunday 22d. CFA
Sunday 22d.

The snow which had been heavy all night continued to fall throughout the day although not so rapidly. I attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham upon the cardinal virtues of temperance and fortitude, the text from the book of wisdom but I have been unable to recover the place. Afternoon, Mr. Ripley from Matthew 2. 1.2 “There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.” I have as it appears to me lost much of the virtue of attention, for I can say little of the nature of either of these discourses. Ripley is however no favourite of mine.1

Dine and walk with Mr. Walsh at home. Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow from Acts 2. 27 “because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.” This was upon that passage in the Apostles creed, “he descended into hell” and it stuck very considerably in the throat of the preacher. He begins by saying that it was a late insertion, he goes on to explain away the meaning of hell and ends by confessing he does not know what to make of it. My own mind has often been startled at the idea of the descent of the Saviour into any place of punishment, and I am from this sermon confirmed in a rejection of it. Evening quietly at home. Afterward, writing.


On Rev. George Ripley and CFA’s earlier reaction to his sermons, see vols. 3:149; 6:66, 260–261. See also CFA’s objections to his theological opinions, entry for 13 Nov. 1836, above.

Monday 23d. CFA Monday 23d. CFA
Monday 23d.

A fine clear day again with the air mild as before the snow. I find my Article does not yet appear. What is the meaning of it? Some long letters from Mr. Hallett at Washington tolerably clever but a little too laudatory. Office where Mr. Walsh came in and talked. Nothing of particular importance. I attended to my usual details, took a short walk and then returned home. Livy, the fortieth book of which I finished. This contains pretty much all of the pure and uncorrupted text, most of the remaining books being intelligible only through supplied passages.

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Afternoon reading Burnet. A singular author for a Bishop. One can feel marvellous little respect for such a man and yet his style displays his mode of thinking and makes the book interesting. I read a little of Forster

Evening finished a volume of the affected and ridiculous Willis, and yet he is amusing. After this I sat down and wrote another paper upon the currency. These are the result of labour, and reflection, they can not I am confident be written by every man, yet I cannot get them into a Newspaper without delay. How very encouraging to the cultivation of any occupation not having for it’s object the mere pursuit of money. I do not expect much from their success but they amuse and occupy me worthily.