Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Thursday 12th. CFA Thursday 12th. CFA
Thursday 12th.

Morning clear but cold with Easterly wind. I was occupied much of my time in little details of various kinds which are consuming without being profitable. I fatigued myself too in my various walkings to and fro. Met T. W. Ward who spoke to me about my Pamphlet and who insinuated a wish that I should answer Mr. Biddle’s last letter. But I have no time. I plead guilty to indolence, and I have no medium.


Met T. K. Davis and walked with him. Home to dinner, after which Davis again met me and we went to Quincy. Visit shortened by an accident which delayed me on the road, but I gave the necessary directions and then we returned. The weather quite raw and unpleasant for riding. After tea, too much fatigued to do much of any work, and retired early for me.

Friday 13th. CFA Friday 13th. CFA
Friday 13th.

Morning mild and pleasant but it gradually clouded. I went to the Office and was busied as usual in and out in Accounts and the various commissions preparatory to going away. Procured a copy of Mr. Biddle’s letter and read it with much attention. I think it of so much consequence that I shall endeavour to write an attempt at an answer. I do not know how I may succeed but my motive is good. Various interruptions.

Home, but I give up my Sophocles until I am established in Quincy. Afternoon, went with Mr. Brooks, Mrs. Frothingham and Abby to Medford. We to see Mrs. Adams and Elizabeth. The latter has been very ill since her return. These visits are necessarily melancholy. I would gladly help them if I could, but that kind of grief is remediless in this world. Home.

Saturday 14th. CFA Saturday 14th. CFA
Saturday 14th.

A cold day with snow and rain. Disappointed of my visit to Quincy to regulate matters there. To the Office where I was occupied with many visitors. Further reflections upon Mr. Biddle and resolved to spare time, much as I need it, to write a reply. Several letters but not of much interest. Home. Afternoon began to write and then followed it up with much vigour during the rest of the day and evening. Mr. Brooks came in and sat with us an hour in the evening. Returns of the New York City Elections.

Sunday 15th. CFA Sunday 15th. CFA
Sunday 15th.

Morning clear but cold with a sharp frost such as we do not often have so late. I spent an hour in coins and then attended divine service. Heard Dr. Frothingham preach from Hebrews 11. 35. “Women received their dead raised to life again: that they might obtain a better resurrection.” This is Easter Sunday, and the discourse was upon the resurrection. I did not however gather so much from it as from a very 24clear narrative discourse of Mr. Greenwood’s upon the same subject. His text from Matthew 28. 6. “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” He entered upon a description of the spot of the agony and burial, and then drew a rapid sketch of it’s history down thereby meaning to adduce additional evidence of the truth of the gospel history of the Resurrection. There was a neatness and accuracy of delineation joined with a high tone of moral reflection which made this on the whole one of the most interesting discourses I ever heard from the pulpit.

Read a Sermon of Buckminster upon the formation of habits. Jeremiah 13. 23. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil.” Buckminster’s mind was a nicely discriminating one and his felicity of style enabled him very forcibly to describe his meaning. He wanted only a few years of experience to set him at the head of all English Sermon writers.

Wrote pretty steadily upon my letters to Mr. Biddle and having finished the first one, inclosed it to Mr. Buckingham with a proposal to publish. Will he do it?1 At Mr. Brooks’ for an hour and a half. P. R. Dalton there. Banking the talk. P. C. B. Jr. has just returned from New York where the Bank Convention has been sitting. I should judge from his talk that the majority of the Banks were at their old game. Mr. Gallatin was not popular with them and Mr. Biddle was. So it is. The Slough of Despond seems increasing. Home and continued writing.


CFA’s doubt of his success in gaining acceptance of his article from Joseph T. Buckingham, editor of the Boston Courier, derived from Buckingham’s earlier animosity to JQA (vols. 3:321, 342; 4:125–126) and from the paper’s strong support of Webster (vol. 6:68, 165).