Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Thursday 14th. CFA Thursday 14th. CFA
Thursday 14th.

A clear fine day. I was at home spending my time in much the usual way. The town was quite alive with a military Review which took place, but I only saw from my house what was passing. Read a hundred lines of the eighth book of the Iliad and sat down with more perseverance to writing. But why should I write without object? What good is to be expected from any effort of mine? My time is better employed digging the earth—as I do in the afternoon for amusement at my hill.

The political news from Washington is somewhat singular. There are rumors of a secession by Mr. Calhoun and his friends to Mr. Van Buren. This will be a damper to the expectations of the Whigs not by any means amiss and it will at the same time go far to consolidate their party upon better principles than have heretofore prevailed. Elizabeth 315DeWint spent the day here. Evening Loto as usual. The night was cold and reminded us of the advance of the season.

Friday 15th. CFA Friday 15th. CFA
Friday 15th.

Clear and cold. This was my day for going to town but I was unable to do so as my Gig needed some repairs. Occupied part of my time at the House superintending as usual but spent more in reading and writing. One hundred lines of Homer’s eighth book as usual which I now find an easy mark. Afternoon I commonly pass at the House but a portion was taken up with Mr. Price Greenleaf in going round inspecting the budded trees he did for my father some time since. Evening at home. The Children play Loto, after which I continued with fresh zeal my essay upon the Currency.

Saturday 16th. CFA Saturday 16th. CFA
Saturday 16th.

Went to town today instead of yesterday, but much incommoded by dust. Saturday is the worst day in the week for town. Wrote to Mr. Johnson and went to my House to copy the letter.1 Called to see Mr. W. Appleton, Mr. I. Frothingham and Mr. Brooks about the affairs of Mr. J. and engaged in accounts at my Office. Thus the morning passed.

The political news appears to delight the Whigs, the Governor’s election in Maine having resulted in the success of their candidate, and they having returned a majority of the House. This is one of the most significant changes that has taken place. But the Administration seem decided upon trusting to the South. When money pressure weighs sufficiently long upon them, they will desert en masse, notwithstanding the cohesion of slavery.

Home. At dinner E. C. Adams and Eliz. Dewint. Afternoon partly at the House and partly at home reading Humboldt. The continual East winds have made the air particularly chilly. Evening, Loto, a few letters of Lady Montague, and then writing upon Texas.

1.

To T. B. Johnson, 15 Sept., LbC, Adams Papers.

Sunday. 17th. CFA Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

The morning was warmer than it has been for some days but the wind still holds to the Eastward. I was occupied upon another number 316respecting Texas, the Quincy paper having printed very badly my last yesterday.

Attended divine Service and heard Mr. Lunt from I. Samuel. 30. 24 “For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” The division by David of the spoils of victory in equal shares to the combatants and those who were left as guards gave him occasion for a review of the duties of man, and an analysis of the relative merit of those who go down to take the front rank in the battle, or in other words give the impulses to events, with that of those instituting the larger number who remain quietly performing their duties in their proper sphere. He inclined to give the weight to the latter, for after all the world depended upon them. He then alluded to the fact that this day fulfilled the fiftieth year of the Constitution and applied his text to that labour as contradistinguished from the battle fields of the Revolution. He again applied it to our duty of preservation as distinct from that of creation, and concluded by an allusion to the evil of associations to carry on public objects, particularly as designed to carry a class of persons out of the sphere for which nature and education designed them. This was evidently directed at the Abolitionists. The discourse struck me much because it had parts which might seem as if written for me. It is encouraging in the estimate it makes of services which have not the merit of making a show. I am not of those who aspire to agitation or live in associations. My nature and habits keep me somewhat aloof from others which I am apt at times unduly to regret. Attendance upon public worship has often been of service to me by this touching of a cord vibrating in my own heart.

The afternoon Sermon from Romans 15. 13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” The proper result of Christian belief is hope and joy notwithstanding occasional exceptions which he traced to their causes. Mr. Lunt is a man of uncommon ability, worthy of more than he meets with.

Read a Sermon of Sterne upon Conscience, Hebrews 13. 18. “For we trust, we have a good conscience.” Conscience often tells a man when he is wrong but not always. Habit dulls its sense, and makes man more awake to sins he does not commit than to such as he does. To make it thoroughly active, the principle of religion and morality must be called in, not religion without morality nor this without religion. The consequence of separating these is illustrated. A good discourse. Evening at home. Wrote and finished the draft of another paper upon Texas.