Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday 8th. CFA Sunday 8th. CFA
Sunday 8th.

A raw cold East wind, but clear until towards evening. I worked upon the coins pretty steadily until the time for divine service when I attended and heard Dr. Frothingham from Luke 24. 29. “Abide with us; for it is toward evening and the day is far spent.” I failed in mastering the object of this discourse although I thought it applied generally to the employment of life and particularly to the close of an aged member of the Society during the past week, Mr. Homer.1 Walk.

Afternoon, Mr. Austin preached a very uninteresting discourse from Matthew 28. 8. “Lo, I have told you.” His text and his discourse upon virtue appeared to me to have no distinctly visible connexion. Afternoon a sermon of Buckminster’s upon the character and writings of the Apostle Paul. 2. Peter 3. 15.16. “Even as our beloved brother Paul, also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you, as also in all his Epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned

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and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” An interesting and instructive discourse.

Evening after a short visit from Mr. Tucker and Mr. Brooks, quiet at home. Reading the sixth volume of Scott which is interesting from it’s melancholy change. What a moral of life! Letter to my Mother.2

1.

Benjamin Homer, since 1805, had been a pew-holder in the First Church, hence a proprietor or member of what was variously designated as the Society of the First Church or the Old Brick Society, the entity through which the church acted on corporate as distinct from religious matters (The Records of the First Church in Boston, 1630–1868, ed. Richard D. Pierce, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 40 [1961]:610, 482–492, 573–594 passim).

2.

Adams Papers. Accompanying the letter was CFA’s biographical sketch of LCA for her approval and transmission to the publisher.

Monday. 9th. CFA Monday. 9th. CFA
Monday. 9th.

A wet morning but it cleared afterwards. I was nevertheless discouraged from going to Quincy and therefore turned my attention to the arrangement of affairs here. Made purchase of part of my stock for the Quincy house which my Wife seems anxious to have done before our departure,1 and busy upon accounts, writing letters and so forth.2

Home where I returned to the Electra of Sophocles, but my visits are very necessarily now but few. The finance matters are upon my mind as they must be upon every man’s who has any thing at stake in the community. I am responsible for much which belongs to others, which now that things appear so bad, I think I will relieve myself of at the first opportunity. Afternoon at work upon the coins which I now anxiously desire to finish. Scott in the evening and Condillac.

1.

A trip to Washington for the benefit of ABA’s health was being contemplated (CFA to LCA, 8 April, Adams Papers). A desire to test the political winds with T. K. Davis may have provided further motivation for the trip.

2.

One of the letters was to T. B. Johnson (LbC, Adams Papers).

Tuesday 10th. CFA Tuesday 10th. CFA
Tuesday 10th.

Wet but it cleared. Went to Quincy where it looked full cheerless. The workmen were however all very busy in their occupations and I felt a little ray of prospect ahead of land. This house has been a burden upon me, undertaken in such disastrous times, but I am now upon the last of the heavy draughts. Home.

Much sensation created by a letter of Mr. Biddle’s announcing his determination to decline specie payments whatever the New York banks may do. It has satisfied me of the impolicy of leaning much upon him.1 I regret to be obliged to withdraw my confidence from him 22but I cannot help it. My disposition is to answer it, but where is the medium.

Afternoon continued work upon the coins. Evening T. K. Davis here. Conversation upon the general theory of our Institutions as usual. Not much gained from speculations of this kind.

1.

For a discussion of CFA’s position on currency questions, including payments in specie, see Duberman, CFA , p. 58–59.