Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

244 Sunday 2d. CFA Sunday 2d. CFA
Sunday 2d.

Cold and cloudy. Time divided as usual.

I was occupied with my daughter Louisa for an hour of the morning as usual, in her exercises which are almost too brief to do her good. Yet I would not make them fatiguing.

Read the third and fourth dialogues of Alciphron in the course of the day which are more elaborate and which present strong points. But after all the dialogue style is not a good one unless it is truly carried out. In Cicero, or Plato it is the mere form through which a teacher disserts and not a dispute for victory.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Lunt from 1. Corinthians 2. 2. “For I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” A very excellent discourse upon the character of Christianity and it’s essential difference between the merely ritual law, and the free thinking philosophy, the one characteristic of the Jews and the other of the Greeks. Mr. Lunt is a thinker and a writer.

Afternoon Mr. J. Angier from Isaiah 3. 10.11. “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” A good discourse as I thought upon a future state of rewards and punishment as the result of free action in this world. It might not have been original but it was well put together.

Read a Sermon of Tillotson being the first in the fourth Volume of the English Preacher. Acts 10. 38. “Who went about doing good.” The example of Jesus as a benevolent individual. Surely all of us are too much inclined to be selfish.

In the Evening at the Mansion. The weather is cold and cheerless. My boy John complained of feeling unwell. My children’s sickness always depresses me. I feel so unworthy of the many blessings which surround me.

Monday 3d. CFA Monday 3d. CFA
Monday 3d.

Cold and cloudy. Time disposed of at home. Evening at the Mansion.

Much of my morning was given to the beginning of Tucker. I wrote about three pages of review and that was all. But with me the cost of the first step is according to the French proverb.1

The Great Western has brought us news from Europe of a very important kind.2 Every thing within a few years has tended to some great 245explosion in that quarter, but it is impossible to foresee exactly when it will take place, or how it will affect this country. Perhaps the immediate operation will be beneficial, if it brings over capital to be invested here. On the other hand if simply a creation of debt is the result the effect is more questionable. The Bank of England has raised the rate of interest in consequence of losses of bullion, this puts a stop to our loans and shuts up the remedy which we had against the rise of exchange.

Read a little of Lessing and 300 lines in the fifth book of the Pharsalia. The ladies went to Boston. My boy John still suffering from his cold. Evening at my father’s, returning however pretty early.

1.

Probably, “Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte,” the first step is the difficult one.

2.

The arrival of the speedy Great Western in New York brought the most recent reports from England of continued declines in sales and prices of cotton, of advances in interest rates, and of “paralyzed” markets (Boston Courier, 3 June, p. 2, col. 5).