Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday. 9th. CFA Saturday. 9th. CFA
Saturday. 9th.

Day clear and warm. I went to town. Engaged in accounts and commissions, interrupted only by a short visit from Mr. Walsh. Nothing of peculiar interest from Washington today: the election of printers not having been decided by the house. But the secession of the third or conservative party from the Administration begins to show itself here, numbering twenty three votes in favor of the editor of the paper lately set up and called the Madisonian.1 When I look round now and think of myself, how encouraging is my prospect for fulfilling the injunction of the epigraph to this volume. Is this my fault? If so, and I am not prepared confidently to deny it, I must only work the harder.

I felt unwell and rambled down to the Athenaeum to look at the 312Advocate which I have entirely lost sight of since my subscription stopped and to find a new book or two. The Advocate exhibits signs to my mind of mortal decay. As to the books, I could not find them. Home.

Afternoon, the ladies went to Boston to see Mr. and Mrs. E. Everett. I remained to see to my work but I found only one man at my house and felt myself so unwell that I soon came down and after reading a few pages of Humboldt laid down. This quieted me at first and I got up to tea and played Loto with the children, and then tried to write my Diary. I accomplished this but could do nothing more and went to bed. These headaches are a singular infliction in regular health.


See entry of 11 Sept., below.

Sunday. 10th. CFA Sunday. 10th. CFA
Sunday. 10th.

A very fine day and growing warmer thus balancing the average of heat of Summer. I felt recovered this morning and occupied myself in reading Jeremy Bentham’s Defence of Usury. An essay having very considerable acuteness and although not uniformly sound yet with much of sound thinking.1

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Green from John 20. 29. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” Faith, and an argument upon evidences drawn from concurring testimony, or rather the negative argument of absence of contradiction pretty ingeniously applied. Afternoon I believe from John 2. 27. “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” The use of divine worship upon a fixed day, and of forms of worship supported by a variety of the usual arguments. Mr. Green is neither original nor particularly forcible, and yet I thought both his discourses ingenious.2

Read a Sermon of Sterne upon the advantages of Christianity to the world. Romans I. 22. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” This is maintained rather from a comparative view of the attributes of the Deity according to the Christian idea and to that of the ancients, than from any argument of superior moral excellence in action. I read also some of Malthus3 as I have still clinging about me some favourite notion of writing on the present state of our affairs. Malthus writes well, but he mystifies.


CFA’s reaction was probably to the application of laissez-faire principles to the acquisition of money. His copy of the 3d edn., London, 1816, is in MQA.

313 2.

Rev. James D. Green of Cambridge Mass. Register, 1837).


Thomas Robert Malthus, Principles of Political Economy. At MQA is the Boston, 1821 edition.