Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Friday 2d. CFA Friday 2d. CFA
Friday 2d.

A very fine day. Devoted to arrangements for the winter and planting. Evening visit.

I have no special account to give of my day’s work. My reading was somewhat desultory and divided by conversation upon various topics with my father. Dipped into the new publication of letters and papers of General La Fayette.1 There is much interesting matter here for we have the testimony in it of a witness and an actor by his situation very far removed from the immediate passions acting upon others engaged in the contest.

La Fayette was not in my eyes a very great man. His powers of mind do not range upon that level which all classes incontestably admit to be above them. But he had the elements of goodness in a large proportion with enough of human weakness to keep sympathy excited.

134

Transplanted this afternoon two Maple trees of my fathers to the foot of my new inclosure. Mr. Lunt called and in the evening my Wife and I went to see him and Mrs. Lunt.

1.

CFA’s bookplate is in the copy in MQA of Lafayette’s Mémoires, correspondance et manuscrits, 6 vols., Paris, 1837–1838.

Saturday 3d. CFA Saturday 3d. CFA
Saturday 3d.

A lovely autumn day. To town in the morning and in the Afternoon to Weymouth. Evening at home.

I rode to town this morning and devoted my time to the pursuit of the usual occupations. Called to see my children who looked comfortable and the general appearance of the house was such as to make me feel desirous of returning. The day looked so sunny and things looked so cheerful that I felt a lightness of spirits for which I can account as little as for my occasional depressions. They are the results in both of the most trifling causes.

After dinner as my Wife had a little commission to Weymouth I went with her and this took the whole of the Afternoon. Read a little of La Fayette which took up the remainder of the evening.

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

Rain. Attended divine service as usual, and the rest of the time passed at home.

It does seem as if we could have only one or two dry days at a time. The quantity of humidity in the atmosphere is so overpowering. From noon it rained pretty constantly.

I heard Mr. Lunt preach from the Wisdom of Solomon 1. 6. “For wisdom is a loving spirit,” a sensible discourse upon the connexion of true Wisdom with benevolence, as distinct from selfishness or dishonesty. Also in the Afternoon from Titus 2. 11. 12. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world”.

As I had accidentally sent the volume of the English Preacher to town I took up a volume of Tillotson1 and read a Discourse from Ecclesiastes 9. 10. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.” I like this text and hence read the Sermon. It has been the principle of action with me for many years in the limited sphere in which action has been allowed to me. It is true there 135are to many others ideas of creating work to do which never appeared to my mind within the scope of the text. The hand must find it but must not make it.

Dr. Tillotson considers the text in two points of view as it regards religious benevolence and also the particular calling of the individual, in both of which undoubtedly there is much profit to be found. The great duty of man is the cultivation of the moral affections, then comes the collateral developement of the intellectual powers and the duties of active life. Mr. Degrand was here on a visit to my father until late in the evening.

1.

The Works of the Most Reverend ... John Tillotson, 10 vols., Edinburgh, 1748, are in MQA.