Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

86 Sunday 4th. CFA Sunday 4th. CFA
Sunday 4th.

Morning clear and pleasant. My little boy John, appeared so unwell and feverish that after consultation, my Wife concluded to send for Dr. Woodward who gave him medicine and talked of fever. This always alarms and makes me uneasy. I wrote a little in the morning and read Mr. Frothingham’s Article in the Christian Examiner upon Sartor Resartus.1 I am disappointed by it. There is no attempt to get over the difficulties in the way of a clear understanding of the topic of the book. Some pretty sentences and some rather severe strictures in Notes upon other writers, but no attempt at systematic explanation.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Lunt preach from 2 Peter 1. 4. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” Also from Galatians 1. 23.24. “But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.” Sensible sermons as are all of Mr. Lunt’s. With a little less of uniformity they would be much aided by his manner. I this day however occupied a new Pew much further from the Preacher and the novelty of my position rather diverted my attention. Joseph H. Adams came home to dine with us.

Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow upon the proof of the Deity from general consent of mankind. Psalm 19. 3.4. “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard: their line is gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.” There is undoubtedly some weight in this argument of universal agreement and yet it is in itself but secondary inasmuch as in itself it proves nothing. Man is fallible. His ideas are limited and may deceive him. Therefore this argument standing alone is not full but aided by others is cumulative. Evening, Josiah Quincy Jr. and T. K. Davis made a visit and were amusing in their conversation. Awake late with the children.


Rev. Nathaniel Frothingham’s essay-review appeared in the Christian Examiner, 21:74–84 (Sept. 1836).

Monday. 5th. CFA Monday. 5th. CFA
Monday. 5th.

John was better this morning and there is an appearance that his fever is reduced. I went to town earlier than usual and was much taken up in various matters. Accounts settled with one of the Tenants, Mr. Hurlbert, and with Mr. Stanwood who came to pay his Interest. Also 87Mr. Rufus Davis came with his daughter about his Pension Certificate which he has put out of his power and now wants back. I got rid of him by giving him a letter to the man who detains it. But if he neglects to observe this, I am somewhat doubtful how far I can proceed further. Mr. A. H. Everett also talked about my father’s Eulogy and seemed uneasy at an intimation of my father’s general disposition to discuss the great points of Mr. Madison’s life.1 Mr. Everett is of the class of politicians who see expediency with both eyes, but principle and duty with only one. All these visits and occupations consumed much time so that I had to hurry to get home to dinner.

Joseph H. Adams went out with me. The weather had changed from warm in the morning to quite cold in the afternoon with a north east wind and slight rain. But after dinner I went notwithstanding to Colburn’s Quarry, saw him and had a talk about my stone which he now offers cheaper than he did. I took him to a place where I thought he might get me out some stone easy but he thinks not. His own Quarry appears to work pretty well. I saw his man Mr. Dutton and gave him my Draught of his Lease which he is to read over and to call and execute on Wednesday afternoon.2 Evening quietly at home.


JQA delivered his eulogy on James Madison, who had died on 28 June, at the Odeon in Boston on 27 September. On 28 Sept. A. H. Everett wrote to JQA expressing his gratification at the address: “The subject was exceedingly delicate and when I heard from Charles that you intended to go pretty fully into the character of Mr. Jefferson and the causes of the war, I was apprehensive that you would hardly be able to avoid making some remarks that might be offensive to parts of the audience. I heard nothing however that struck me as likely to have that effect. The satisfaction, as far as I can learn, was universal” (Adams Papers).


The indenture between JQA and Dutton, witnessed by CFA and dated 7 Sept., is in the Adams Papers.