Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 28th. CFA Sunday. 28th. CFA
Sunday. 28th.

This was the warmest day we have had since our return home. I passed some time in making up the record of the Meeting of Supervisors the other day, and I then read a little in Davila. Walked up to Meeting with my Wife and Mary. Mr. Newell of Cambridge preached from Hebrews 12. 1. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” There was no great merit in the discourse beyond plain sense neatly turned, and yet it so happened to fall in with my previous train of thought as to particularly fix my attention. This was one of the few times in which by happening to make a particular application of the general topic of discourse, I realized the advantage of attendance at Meeting. It is true that whatever a man may do he has the eyes of many fixed upon him, and that there is no safety against sin but in the direct pursuit of the right path. With this idea one has not the motive but a strong fortification to virtue. Mr. Newell dined with us and after dinner preached from 2 Corinthians 13. 5. “Examine 81yourselves.” I was again drowsy and inattentive from the loss of my nap. Afternoon read a Sermon of Dr. Barrow in continuation of that last Sunday. Genesis 1. 27. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” As the former discourse was directed to the proof of a deity from the material world, so this touched the frame of man and particularly his mind, a fertile subject and well treated though not with any view which appeared to me original. In the evening Mr. Augustus Whitney1 was the only visitor. Conversation with my father partly political.


Frederick Augustus Whitney, Harvard 1833, would graduate from the Divinity School in 1838 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ). He was a son of the Rev. Peter Whitney (vol. 5:147–148).

Monday 29th. CFA Monday 29th. CFA
Monday 29th.

A sultry day with the wind from the south but it did not rain. I remained at home all day and occupied myself as earnestly as I could. Read Livy, several chapters of which were very interesting. The Sicilian campaign of Marcellus and the origin of all the depredations which made Rome splendid at the expense of the world. Hannibal fought a brave battle for the supremacy, and failed only by the obstinacy of the Romans as a people. Where did this come from and how did it vanish? Montesquieu has attempted to resolve these questions, as I think with but partial success.

I was very busy writing and hammered out a second Article which as I think is better than the first. This seems to be always the case with me that my ideas clear as I go on. And I am the more disposed to do so as I have an opportunity which I want of explaining over again my own opinions.

The afternoon was devoted to the letters of my grandmother in which I found some very interesting facts, particularly two which lay open much of the secret history of the time. These are that the famous Journal which Hamilton made so much use of was originally intended as a private paper, and the other that a motion to censure the Ministers for not regarding their instructions was supported by three men, Madison, Hamilton and Wilson.1 Gorham Brooks and his Wife came out and took tea here. Evening Mr. T. Greenleaf and his daughter passed an hour.


CFA seems to be referring to AA’s letter to JA of 28 April 1783, although Madison’s part in the attempt to censure is not mentioned there; the letter is printed in The Book of Abigail and John, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, and Mary-Jo Kline, Cambridge, 1975, p. 346–348. See also JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:41–43.