Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday 23d. CFA Sunday 23d. CFA
Sunday 23d.

Day cloudy with occasional heavy showers. Attendance on divine service. Reading. Dinner at the Mansion. Evening at home.

At the Morning service, my third son was held up by me to Mr. Lunt for baptism under the name of Henry Brooks. This is at once returning to the source of the family in this hemisphere and remembering a valued son of Mr. Brooks now no more. Mr. Brooks had to this end come from Medford as he has always appeared to take a great interest in the child. May he live to be fruitful in good works.1

Mr. Lunt preached a sermon from Hebrews’2 and one from Mark 7. 11.12. “But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me: he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother.” The first of these discourses was an ingenious attempt to prove that sin was productive of as much ruin to the mind as to the moral of man. In short that sin was folly. I say this was inge-115nious but not convincing. The government of the world is conducted by laws beyond our knowledge or comprehension and the vicious man often makes a great use of the gifts of a fine intellect for purposes the most base and morally degraded. Mind is not Moral. If it was, the world would be a less difficult place to live correctly in. The second discourse was upon charity and the connexion between the practice of religious rites and the performance of religious duties. Very good.

It rained hard all the afternoon. I read a discourse in the English Preacher by Dr. Denne. Matthew 7. 12. “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” I am struck with only one thing in reading this choice of English sermons and that is the mediocrity of style and thought which runs through them. Began today Mr. Milman’s History of the Jews with which I was pleased.3 Spent the evening in conversation with Mr. Brooks.


The present account of the baptism differs both as to locale and participants from Henry Adams’ own widely noted account with which The Education of Henry Adams begins.


JQA, in his journal, identifies the text as from Hebrews 12. 14.


Henry Hart Milman, The History of the Jews, 3 vols., N.Y., 1831, is in MQA.

Monday 24th. CFA Monday 24th. CFA
Monday 24th.

Clear and cold. Morning passed in study. Afternoon in a ride. Evening passed partly at the Mansion, partly at Mrs. T. B. Adams’s. Mr. Brooks left us this morning.

Read Locke p. 393–427. Upon adequate ideas, and upon the association of ideas. Curious portions of the operation of thinking. This book of Mr. Locke’s is like opening a new vein of knowledge to my mind which no preceding study of the subject had ever touched. What was the value of my College studies in this department, in which nevertheless my nominal scholarship stood better than in others. The vanity of college education. All I have done in study has been since twenty. Before that I only read and gathered.

Lucretius b. 4. 302–530. I took a long ride almost to the blue hills this evening with my father admiring the green surface of the country which the late rains have brought out.

Tuesday 25th. CFA Tuesday 25th. CFA
Tuesday 25th.

Fine day. I went to town accompanied by my father. Afternoon at home. Evening at Mr. Miller’s.

My morning was much given up to business. Various persons call-116ing, to see me. A. H. Everett to notify me of his departure from my Office, a circumstance which I by no means regret.1 Mr. Higgins to procure a job in deepening my well, and two or three applicants for my house in Acorn Street. Thus the time was very fully consumed excepting an hour spent in waiting for my father who after all did not come and join me, and I returned home without him.

Lucretius. b. 4. 530–709. Rather more corrupted in text and less interesting in substance. The evening at Mr. Miller’s was very dull. Only a few of the neighbours and they seemed to have nothing to say.


A. H. Everett had rented an office since 1830 in the 23 Court Street building managed by CFA (vol. 3:372).