Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday. 5th. CFA Friday. 5th. CFA
Friday. 5th.

My horse not being in very good condition to use, I procured one at a livery stable and went into town with him. Joseph H. Adams went in with me but I returned alone. I called at Mr. Sparrell’s to see how he got on with my plan. He showed me the main points in which I had directed alterations to be made but I was utterly dissatisfied with his portico which was by no means what I had proposed to myself. Mr. Sparrell is a very clever and an industrious man but he does not appear to me to possess any invention at all. He follows directions and preserves proportion but further than that he seems to me not to venture. 65I asked him to send up the plan to my Office that I might consider of it further. Collected the Certificates for the investment made the other day and then entered the charges in my books.

This over, I was ready to return home. Afternoon divided, partly in writing, partly in a visit to the hill. I marked out today the limits of the lot and also those which I presumed might do for the House. I observed particularly the bearings by Compass which do not exactly answer my purpose. But I hope to get along with them without any serious derangement of the plan. Evening quiet at home.

Saturday 6th. CFA Saturday 6th. CFA
Saturday 6th.

Pleasant morning. After writing a little I took a walk into town. Called at the Quincy Stone Bank and paid in for my father and myself the second instalment of fifty per cent of the capital Stock. The Cashier not having Certificates prepared indorsed the payment upon the old receipt. I went from here to Mrs. T. B. Adams’. Entered into an explanation to Elizabeth C. Adams how I had arranged the investment on her account and then with her consent indorsed on my father’s largest Note, a receipt for the money which she signed. Thus is another legacy under the very burdensome will of my grandfather provided for.

Returned home and wrote Diary. Afternoon, the same. Since I have come out here my mind has been running on this building project so much that I am not fit to do much else. I feel much as if I should like to go right on, and yet every thing depends upon my quiet and moderation. My attention is much taken up in measuring here and there various places to obtain an idea of dimension and thus commence my building education. Evening with the Ladies as usual. Governor and Mrs. Everett1 were here this morning on a visit and an invitation to dinner for Thursday.

1.

The relations through the years between the Adamses and the Edward Everetts were complex and tortuous, made not the less so by the fact that Mrs. Everett, Charlotte Gray Brooks, was a sister of ABA; see the Everett entries in the indexes to the earlier volumes.

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

The season is quite an uncommon one for the coldness of the weather. Since our return, there has not been a day which might be called unpleasantly warm. I attended Divine service at the Stone Church1 and heard Mr. Whitney in the morning from Proverbs. I could pay very little attention and was more taken up in pitying his 66condition than in attending to his subject. He could not read with ease his Sermon which had yet been repeated often enough to be familiar. Mr. Whitney is one of that class of men whom the course of things has laid upon the shelf. His congregation have got beyond him, and he is now somewhat dependent upon their compassion. How long their purse strings will endure it I do not know. But the tax is not a trifling one. In the afternoon Mr. Lunt preached, but I was rather drowsy not having had the little nap before service which usually prevents it.2

Afternoon, a Sermon of Dr. Barrow upon Justifying faith. Text, Romans 5. 1. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He first undertakes according to his custom to explain the terms, and devotes this discourse to the explanation of what faith is. He explains this to be the belief in an opinion grounded upon forcible reason. This presupposes an exercise of the mind instead of a blind and superstitious reliance upon an arbitrary proposition. It is also at war with the Calvinistic doctrine of election which he examines at some length. I am not much versed in these high points but I think generally with Dr. Barrow. And I have gained something in this reading.

Evening at home. There were many people here. Mr. Beale with his three girls, Price Greenleaf, Miss Smith, Hull and Joseph with their sister.3 My proposed edifice was the principal topic. The people of Quincy attach great importance to it, I think with very little reason.

1.

The First Church, Quincy, also known as the Adams Temple from JA’s gifts for its construction and from the presence within it of Adams tombs and memorials; see vol. 3:xi–xii, 56.

2.

Rev. Peter Whitney was in his thirty-sixth year as minister at the First Church (vols. 1:157; 5:78); because of his age and declining faculties he had lately been provided a colleague to assume the active role, Rev. William Parsons Lunt, on whom see vol. 6:150, 197.

3.

George W. Beale, for long the adjacent neighbor to JA and JQA, had in recent years taken rooms at Mrs. TBA’s (vols. 3:56; 5:95). Louisa Catherine Catharine Smith, spinster niece of AA, who for some years had lived in the Old House, also resided with Mrs. TBA after TBA’s death vol. (5:66). On Ezekiel Price Greenleaf, son of Thomas and a horticulturalist, see vol. 5:124, 364.