Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

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

Warm, windy day. Morning passed out of doors. Afternoon at home. Evening at the Mansion.

I felt a little inclining to head ach today which however passed off as I was actively engaged in the field below my house in superintending the process of drawing out the masses of rock which the powder had split. Had Mr. Carr and Deacon Spear’s son with four oxen and they did well. I should become very fond of farming improvement if I knew how to carry it on without imprudence.

Lucretius, 920–1150. The whole passage of the origin of civilization 121 image highly poetical in its character. The gems remain while the setting has ceased to be attractive. Grimm also who is Diderot mad, his critical opinions are good when they do not involve his prejudices.

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

Heavy rain, clearing away cold. Divine service as usual all day with reading and evening at the Mansion.

I continued Milman’s History of the Jews which I keep for my Sunday reading. His account of the period of the Judges is brief and yet embraces as I suppose all that can be said upon it.

Mr. Whitney preached in the morning from Revelation 2. 10. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Mr. Whitney considers the crown of life to mean a future state in which our sensation is to be far extended beyond its present limits. His sermons are however too much blanks to my mind. Mr. Angier of Milton preached in the afternoon from Luke “One thing is needful.” The great necessity of religion, illustrated and explained with warmth and emphasis.

Read a discourse from the English Preacher taken from Job 34. 22. “There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” By the Revd. John Holland. An extremely ordinary exposition of the omniscience of the deity with quotations from the Scriptures which make the only good portion of the production. Read also much of Mr. S. Hovey’s book upon Slavery in the West Indies, a far more natural and agreeable work than that of Thome and Kimball while it in substance confirms the truth of all their statements.1

In the evening at the Mansion. Mr. Jos. Angier was there and we fell into conversation about Mr. Emerson’s late productions. Much criticism elicited of an interesting kind.2


The two works are Sylvester Hovey, Letters from the West Indies, and James A. Thome and J. Horace Kimball, Emancipation in the West Indies, both published at N.Y. in 1838; a presentation copy of the latter given by Sarah Grimké to JQA and LCA is in MQA.


JQA identified the Emerson works being discussed as the “crazy Address and oration” (Diary, 7 Oct.), by which, presumably, he was referring to the 1838 Divinity School Address and the 1837 ΦBK Oration, “The American Scholar.”

Monday 8th. CFA Monday 8th. CFA
Monday 8th.

A cold morning with the wind from the Eastward. Day spent in town. Evening at the Mansion.


My day was not a very profitable one and yet my duties in town required that it should be so spent. I was enabled to finish much of the matter regarding tenants which has embarrassed me of late, and to execute a great number of commissions.

Dined at Dr. Frothingham’s and from thence went to attend a Meeting of the South Cove Corporation. The object was to consider a plan submitted by the Directors for releasing the Company from the great burden of debt which presses upon it. J. Quincy Jr. opened the project which in fact consists of dividing to the Stockholders a sufficient portion of the land to induce them to take up individually their share of the debt. The remainder would then be free from difficulty and divisible or convertible at the first favorable opportunity. The meeting was full and there was much discussion pro and con, but inasmuch as no easy alternative presented itself and the case was pressing the proposed plan was unanimously adopted.

This business is a vexatious one to me because I fell into it against my consent and am now becoming doubly responsible almost against my will. I must change my investments to meet this new aspect of things. The ultimate success of the property I hardly permit myself to doubt, but not through the contracting of double engagements. My anxiety of mind upon pecuniary subjects is such that I dislike the appearance of extended liabilities in any form. And yet to some extent I shall feel obliged to do so. I trust in this as in all other matters to a divine providence which will not desert those who seek to regulate their course with prudence and self distrust.

Home not until after sunset. Nothing material for the evening. Workmen blowing rocks again today.