Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday 23d. CFA Saturday 23d. CFA
Saturday 23d.

A very high wind from the northward prevailed all day with a clear sky, and much dust from dryness. I was very little out particularly as there is little or nothing doing upon my hill.

Mr. John Hardwick called to ask for a line to Governor Everett, which I gave him. He is President of the Lyceum at this place and wishes to get him to deliver the introductory Lecture. He also asked me to give one of the course. I told him that I should have no objection to do it if it was the desire, although I had not sought such occasions, and generally doubted the possibility of selecting interesting subjects. He said he would see me again upon the time, and I proposed to him to take up the history of Northern Discovery, which he assented to. Mr. B Curtis also called with a subscription paper for the benefit of Mr. Littlefield, the person burnt out, the other night. I subscribed with a proviso about his not having sufficient insurance

Engaged in writing another paper upon the annexation of Texas which I finished before night. It is the last but one. Mrs. Frothingham with her son Francis came out to spend the day.

After an early dinner, we went to Mr. Beale’s to attend the funeral of his daughter Frances. A small collection of connexions and friends of the family. Mr. Lunt made a prayer which was not to my taste, although in itself unexceptionable. Perhaps it is too hazardous to trust to the feeling of the moment, but in such a case as this it is the most effective plan. It was a little remarkable that at this instant George Beale Jr. who has been absent in Europe since May and before this 320poor girl fell sick, without knowing it until his arrival in Boston, arrived at the House. His fathers and sisters not expecting him had no idea of his immediate presence. We followed the body to the tomb and then home. Evening, very quiet.

Sunday. 24th. CFA Sunday. 24th. CFA
Sunday. 24th.

My morning fled from me very rapidly, partly perhaps because I got up late, and partly from the routine I commonly pursue with the children now. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Lunt from Hebrews 12. 11. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” A series of reflections very well adapted to the consolation of the mourners of yesterday, and clothed in the beautiful style characteristic of the preacher.

Afternoon, a very curious dissertation upon the mechanic arts which must as I suspect have been written for some other occasion. Exodus 35. 35. “Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer in blue and in purple, in scarlet and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.” He maintained that the passage from which this text was taken shewed the estimation in which among the Hebrews mechanics were held, and that the subsequent distinctions which had depressed them were a departure from the true mode of thinking. Bezaleel the son of Uri is called by Moses one filled “with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship” and appears to have held the first rank among his brethren. This should be the case now. The labour of the hands was a necessity in America and should not be neglected even by the more favoured in wealth. He alluded to the Fair now held in Boston, or the display of the mechanic arts and recommended every body to visit it. Mr. Lunt’s discourse was adapted to a popular audience and contains much sense and just reflection. But when he equalizes mechanics with orators, statesmen or legislators, it would have been fair to draw a line between the inventors and the mere executors. The one class undoubtedly deserve a high place in intellectual rank, but the others rank but one degree over animals—at least when considered only in reference to results. On the whole, the spirit of the discourse was essentially democratic, which is fast becoming the tone of our clergy, a strange revolution.

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Read a discourse of Sterne. Proverbs 3. 17. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.” An argument upon the beaten topic of Virtue its own reward, by proving a vicious life not happy and a religious one not gloomy. The force of it is weakened by a concluding doubt and reference of religious conduct to the future state. This makes an anti-climax which injures the effect. Took up a volume of my father’s collection of voyages which I looked into for the purpose of gathering ideas. Evening Lady Montague.