Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

186 Friday 17th. CFA Friday 17th. CFA
Friday 17th.

Not a great deal of snow fell, but it was very windy and it laid in deep drifts. I went to the Office and was engaged much as usual. Diary and Accounts. Not much of interest. I did not walk nor did I turn my time to better account than if I had.

Home where I read a little more of Herodotus. I find the text easy enough with a little attention but not so easy as to enable me to read it with rapidity. Mr. Walsh dined and spent the afternoon with me. He seemed to enjoy his time, particularly in my library. But I myself did little or nothing excepting to correct a proof of my projected publication, and to write an article for the Advocate.

Evening, read Lamartine to my Wife and afterwards Chateaubriand. Both are interesting in their way. The first however by appearing in a greater style of externals by which the people of the East are much dazzled, secured more respect for himself. The other was alone and depended for support in many cases upon his energy. His account of his treatment of an Aga is however very amusing.

Saturday. 18th. CFA Saturday. 18th. CFA
Saturday. 18th.

The cold was extreme this morning but it afterwards moderated very much and became pleasant. I went to the Office expecting visits from one or two of my Quincy acquaintance on business matters, but they did not come. I therefore enjoyed a very leisurely period which I improved in making up Accounts and so forth, and writing up Diary. I had some little talk with Mr. Walsh and we took a walk.

Called at the Advocate Office and took out my last paper upon the Currency which does not appear likely soon to be published and which if retained might delay my pamphlet. Gibson bored me with an account of the dissensions of the democratic party about filling the Collectorship. I think this the dregs of politics. Indeed the whole subject is getting into one inextricable maze of confusion. I believe divine providence consults my interest in keeping me out of it.

Home to read Livy. Afternoon, Burnet, Chateaubriand, and Forster each in turn. Evening, M. Lamartine, and then revising and rewriting the last of my currency Essay.

Sunday. 19th. CFA Sunday. 19th. CFA
Sunday. 19th.

A very clear, fine day. I read Chateaubriand for an hour after which attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham preach from 1. 187Timothy 6. 4. “Evil surmisings.” A very excellent discourse upon the bad constructions put upon conduct, so general in the Community. This is perhaps one of the prevailing defects in our lives here. We are quit of the grosser vices in a degree to indulge more largely in the smaller. Afternoon Ecclesiastes 3. 10. “I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.” Mr. Walsh accompanied me in a walk and afterwards dined.

I read a discourse of Dr. Barrow from Ecclesiastes 3. 17. “I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.” Upon the necessity of a future state of rewards and punishments as a corrective of the manifest injustice of this world. Dr. Barrow does not see the merit of the old Platonic doctrine of the self compensating power of virtue. He thinks nothing of the rewards of this life as an incitement to good action without the notion of the future state. This is a topic almost too extensive for human skill. What the system of divine justice is cannot be comprehended, but that it is so utterly inactive in this life, I am by no means disposed to believe. Evening, at Mr. Brooks’ with my Wife. Nobody there. We had a quiet time and then home.