Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday 18th. CFA Sunday 18th. CFA
Sunday 18th.

Clearing off. Exercises as usual. Evening at the Mansion.

I went through the ordinary routine of exercises for this morning with my little girl and read also some of Tucker, but with slackened interest.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Russel1 a gentleman now officiating at Hingham in the room of Charles Brooks preach in the morning from 1 John 4. 20, “For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” and in the afternoon from John 15. 4 “Without me ye can do nothing.” A good sensible preacher without making himself very interesting.

Read a discourse in the English Preacher from Titus 2. 10. “That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” A very excellent one by the Revd. Dr. Rogers upon the use of good practical morals as a support to the Christian profession. There is plain, downright sense and acute reasoning combined.


Le Comte, his Account of the curse of proselytism in China as practised by the Catholic missionaries is curious. A little of Grimm and evening at the house below. Can I let this day pass without remembering that I am thirty two.


CFA has here mistaken the name of the day’s preacher, Rev. Oliver Stearns, who is properly named by JQA in his entry for the day. Charles Brooks had resigned his pastorate in the New North Meeting-House in Hingham early in 1839 to become a professor of natural history in the University of the City of New York. He was succeeded in Hingham by Mr. Stearns, Harvard 1826, who would remain until 1856. He was afterwards president of the Meadville (Penna.) Theological School and professor in the Harvard Divinity School ([Thomas T. Bouvé and others], History of the Town of Hingham, 3 vols. in 4, Cambridge, 1893, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 50–54).

Monday 19th. CFA Monday 19th. CFA
Monday 19th.

Fine day and warm. At home. Afternoon ride. Evening at the Mansion.

Upon entering another year of my life, it is usual with me to look back and take a reckoning from the past. Yet I have little or nothing material to record. My life is one uninterrupted series of blessings which I feel I do not deserve by any active merit of mine, but which it is my constant effort to make myself at least less unfit for. This is the motive for my endeavours to attain a respectable position which have not been entirely without success. Although but little seconded by any and very strongly resisted in secret by some, yet I feel encouraged to think that my labours have not proved altogether without use. Today I see the Emancipator, an Abolitionist Newspaper, republishes my Articles upon the commercial convention of the South with a commentary which is complimentary.1 My vanity must not be led away by these things. But putting a firm trust in divine providence to guide me in the strait path, I will endeavor to walk with fear and hope. In my family I have been favored more even than usual, as my Wife has regained a share of health greater than I could have anticipated after her severe reductions.

I was at work in budding much of my morning and spent the remainder in copying and Menzel. After dinner, seventeen sections of Tacitus book 14th, and a ride taking my boy Charley. I went down to the beach of Mount Wollaston. The sea, the sky, the sun and green earth all combined to make a picture of beauty such as is not often to be enjoyed by us, but when it is, the effect is exquisite. Lovely evening, partly spent at the house below.

282 1.

With the promise to follow with others of the series, The Emancipator (New York) on 8 Aug. reprinted from the Boston Courier, “The Southern Commercial Convention, No. 1.” The accompanying commentary read: “We are encouraged to find four or five influential papers awaking to the importance of this subject [“Slaveholding Plots and Pretensions”], and already daring to call in question the imprescriptible right of slaveholders to domineer over the free states.... In this work the Cincinnati Gazette, the New York American and the Boston Atlas have rendered a noble service.... The Boston Courier has at times allowed a tolerable discussion of slavery topics. And lately it has given room to a series of well written and sound principled essays.... We do not mean to be understood, however, as endorsing all the sentiments of the writer” (p. 1, col. 1–2).