Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday. 26th. CFA Friday. 26th. CFA
Friday. 26th.

A high wind at North East with a heavy mist, but it dried afterwards and cleared at night. I went to town and had about as uncomfortable a ride as I well recollect. When I got there, I found plenty of occupation, first in arranging my little affair with the Bank which was not completed in my last visit, and then in one or two calls upon Tenants &ca. This took most of the morning, then home, the ride being less unpleasant. Afternoon, at the House where I found nobody working 250but the Masons, the carpenter having gone to town with his men in consequence of the rain.

Read a little of Wieland, a very amusing piece of jocosity, also, Tocqueville. The most singular error of whose book appears to be the statement that my father turned many people out of Office, when President. He must have been thinking of Jefferson. Evening, Conversation.

Saturday 27th. CFA Saturday 27th. CFA
Saturday 27th.

It was clear in the morning and remained so with the exception of heavy clouds occasionally passing over. I was at my house superintending much that was doing, though the overflow of water consequent upon the rains of the last week sets us back. From thence I went for the first time this season over to the Quarries and there found of the three only the lower one in operation. Dutton appears to have done much work there, but he seems now discouraged and talks of dismissing his hands and working only himself. The contrast is striking between the extraordinary impulse upon every sort of industry last year and the deadly languor which has taken place this. Neither betoken a healthy action of the monetary system in the United States.

On my return home, I wrote for a couple of hours and was pleased with the result. Afternoon Tocqueville and Wieland. The one for study, the other for amusement. Evening at home. Mr. and Miss Beale came in. I heard from town of the destruction of Mr. Ayer’s shop by fire, and apprehended the result to my things finishing by him. There seems to be reason to suppose, it was set on fire.

Sunday. 28th. CFA Sunday. 28th. CFA
Sunday. 28th.

A very clear day with the wind at the north west and quite cold. Morning Mons. de Tocqueville, whose book ranks close to Montesquieu’s. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Farley of Providence preach from Psalm 55. 19. “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” A view of the impassibility of a large class of the human race who from various causes of prosperity or otherwise acting uniformly upon them lose all sense of the superintendence of the divine Agency. Afternoon. John 19. 25. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother.” A brief examination of the story of Mary as gathered from the record in the Gospel, together with some ingenious applications to the maternal and filial principle. Mr. Farley dined with 251us. His style is good and his manner far better than is customary with us, but I was not very much pleased with the man altogether, and yet without being able to say exactly why? He appeared to me more superficial than clergymen commonly are. And I am far from thinking them in this generation extraordinarily profound as a class.

Read a sermon of Sterne upon evil speaking. James 1. 26. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, that man’s religion is vain.” It is a little remarkable that the Author in this discourse occasionally draws his own picture, whether with or without knowledge, I do not know. The contrast between his words and his acts, between his view of the moral obligation as well as of the sympathy which should regulate conduct in his writings and the performance as recorded by his contemporaries finds a record in some of his discourses, particularly in the beginning of this. For the rest, there seem some very good distinctions between the love of scandal leading to censorious talking, and the force of an exemplary line of conduct, repressing vice without indulging in malignity. Evening, Mons. de Tocqueville.