Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

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

The cold yielded this morning and we had a very fine day. I went to the Office but did not occupy myself very usefully. Mr. I. P. Davis called to ask if I could prepare my Lecture for Tuesday week. This is very short notice and I have been so much worried about selections I do not know what to say. He said he would call to know my decision on Monday as there would be no vacancy again until February.


Called in to see T. K. Davis. Conversation with him about Edmund Quincy who it seems has come out a warm abolitionist, his letter being published in the Liberator and he having made a speech last evening. Dr. Channing has also written a letter which is in the same paper.1 I sent for it.

Herodotus. My pamphlet did not come out as it had been promised. Afternoon, I began to reduce my Lecture into shape. Read Dr. Channing’s Letter which appears to me to be sensible and moderate, but he falls short of being a good political leader for he wants the insensibility to acute moral discrimination. I wish I could be an entire Abolitionist but it is impossible. My mind will not come down to the point.

Mr. Brooks here in the evening for an hour after which I finished the second volume of Lockhart and tied up the latter part of my proposed Lecture.


The Liberator for 22 Dec. carried two letters addressed to Henry G. Chapman on 23 and 27 Nov. from Edmund Quincy announcing himself an abolitionist (p. 202, cols. 4–5); also, “A Letter to Abolitionists” of 14 Dec. from William Ellery Channing (p. 206, cols. 1–4).

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

Morning cloudy with an appearance of snow. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham preach a sermon upon Christmas from Isaiah 35. 1. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” He took a view of the effect of the birth of Christ upon the world as figured out in the text, the state of extreme depression in which all nations were at that time from which they were relieved by the spread of the gospel. Mr. Young followed in the afternoon in a sort of fluent Essay upon the same subject. Isaiah 9. 6. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful.” I was glad to find Mr. Young did not give into the late theory that this text had no reference to the Saviour.1 On the contrary his main object appeared to be to show it’s verification under the circumstances of his birth and of his life.

Read a very short sermon of Sterne’s from Hebrews 12. 14. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness; without which, no man shall see the Lord.” The doctrine of peace is among the most fascinating presented to us, but I am unfortunately of opinion that man has pugnacious propensities implanted in him which prevent any great probability of an increase of the happiness of men through this source. Still the doctrine 368never can be out of place in the mouth of a minister of the gospel. I missed today the presence of Mr. Walsh. On the whole the most judicious friend I have and a man I regret being unable to assist effectually. Afternoon writing, and evening at home. G. Gorham came in and chattered away part of the time.


On the issue of Old Testament prophecy as currently raised and CFA’s position on it, see vol. 5:340, 394.