Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday 13th. CFA Saturday 13th. CFA
Saturday 13th.

Cold morning. I went into town and was occupied in business at the Office. Had two or three persons to call. Mr. W. Forbes about an old claim upon me for the board of the horses sold by him. I paid the bill thinking it useless to contest the point with a rogue. I took the opportunity however to take a receipt from him such as is sometimes advisable from a man with whom one has had dealings and finds dishonest, and I gave him my opinion of his conduct at the same time.

Mr. Ayer, the Carpenter was also here upon the plan. I submitted to him all the details for execution and he gave his opinion upon the various questions which yet remained open. Some of them we settled together, others were left open for further reflection. I conversed principally with him upon the terms upon which he would undertake it. I told him that the Quincy people would perhaps feel a little hurt at my selecting a chief workman out of their limits but I was willing to incur that risk provided it would cost me no more and I should be compensated by the superiority of the work. He seemed to hesitate about the price and said he doubted whether he could work in competition with Country workmen. I told him that I should consider farther what agreement I should think proper to make but some decided one I 70should insist upon. I then took the plan, rolled it up and brought it off to Quincy to submit to the ladies of the family. Their comments upon it were few but they pleaded for a portico so strongly that I agreed to extend it along the front. This is all of portico that I can agree to, for the prevailing fashion of putting pillars for every thing strikes me to be a mistake. I passed some time in writing Diary which at length appears to show progress.

Sunday 14th. CFA Sunday 14th. CFA
Sunday 14th.

The day was a fine one. I was as usual occupied until service time when I went to Church. Mr. Greenwood Of Boston preached. He is sensible but not very exciting. Romans 11. 36. “For of him and to him and through him are all things; to whom be glory for ever, Amen.” The foundation of morality the Will of God, with an examination of those arguments of men who fearing to rest every thing upon what they call authority fly to secondary causes as a substitute, such as utility, and beauty. I thought this a very good discourse. That in the afternoon interested me less. It was upon the immortality of the Soul. Job 14. 14. “If a man die, shall he live again.” The taste of the day with us is the heavy style of preaching of this gentleman who without any striking defects of manner has few or no merits.

In the afternoon I read a Sermon of Dr. Barrow’s upon justifying faith. Text the same with that read last Sunday. This is a doctrinal question which I had never attended at all to before. He explains justification to mean a liberation from punishment, or remission from sin, and contends against the meaning given by the Council of Trent sanctioned by some passages of St. Paul, of an inherent righteousness or infusion of grace. Something of the “grace suffisante” celebrated in the provincial Letters.1 Barrow is a strong writer but I confess I do not see the perfections ascribed to him by the English Church.

In the evening, Josiah Quincy2 called to pay a visit. Conversation general. I accompanied him half way home and was amused by the interest he appeared to take in my contemplated building here.


The Lettres provinciales of Blaise Pascal.


Josiah Quincy IV (1802–1882), son of Josiah Quincy III (1772–1864), president of Harvard; see vol. 5:118.

Monday. 15th. CFA Monday. 15th. CFA
Monday. 15th.

I took my plan into town with me and returned it to Mr. Sparrel the Architect with the proposed amendments, and a request that he would 71get it done for me by the next Thursday to which he agreed. Joseph H. Adams went in and returned with me. I was engaged in Accounts and in some few Commissions for my father and various other members of the family. This took up much of the time. I also went to the House and found there some more volumes of the MS papers of my grandfather which are now taking something like shape. I have now fifteen of them bound, embracing much of the valuable part of his life.1 I returned to Quincy and spent the afternoon in writing. I will terminate this business of my Diary before I do any thing else. Evening quietly at home.


Beginning in 1833, CFA had embarked upon the formidable task of arranging, indexing, and having bound the loose letters of JA and AA. The project had been carried forward in the intervening period; see vol. 5:160.