Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 25th. CFA Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

Clear day but I think as cold as at any time during the winter which is a little remarkable. My Wife improves very slowly. I spent some time in attending to the coins before service and then went as usual.


Dr. Frothingham preached a discourse relative to the death of Mr. J. P. Bradlee one of his parishioners. Proverbs 10. 7. “The memory of the just is blessed.” He is fortunate in this kind of thing, and does not overload it. Short walk and call upon W. Dwight again without success. Mr. Walsh dined with me. Afternoon Psalms 139. 6. “I cannot attain unto it.” The difficulty of satisfying one’s self is the root of most of the excellence of this world.

But I was most struck with a Sermon of Mr. Buckminsters read today. John 12. 43. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” A very fine discourse upon the love of human estimation as a principle of action. Perhaps no more general error exists among us and none against which we ought more cautiously to guard. I have reflected upon the subject much but find my thoughts elucidated and my purposes strengthened by this sermon. Evening, wrote to my Mother1—and assorted coins.


CFA to LCA, Adams Papers. The letter is quoted in a note to the entry for 29 Jan., above

Monday. 26th. CFA Monday. 26th. CFA
Monday. 26th.

The weather continues extraordinarily cold. I went to the Office as usual where I finished the first volume of Sismondi’s Political Economy. He is a clear writer and in many respects a strong one, but in his extreme hurry to reply to the system of Malthus, he makes for himself a system almost equally erroneous. The ground of the former is that consumption is overtaking production, that of the latter that production exceeds consumption, and either view is almost equally melancholy to the human race. I for my part believe in neither. The providence of God has arranged this matter beyond the reach of reasoning. Overproduction finds its check in depopulation, while overconsumption promotes it again,1 so that the thing turns in a circle. To be sure there is suffering in the motion of this pendulum, but that is inevitable and no device of man can produce a remedy.

Athenaeum to get a book or two and wrote to Mr. Angier about my Lecture.2 Home to Sophocles. Afternoon, coins. Evening out at Mr. Frothingham’s to hear his choir practice and his boys whom he wishes to join in. The choir is not well assorted and sing ill in a room. Home early, but found my Wife suffering. Continued the coins.


The antecedent of “it” would seem to be [production], but the thought in the sentence, and in the preceding ones, seems muddled.


Letter missing.