Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

297 Saturday 21st. CFA Saturday 21st. CFA
Saturday 21st.

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

My work upon the letters went on pretty briskly this morning and I begin to perceive the end of the undertaking. Mrs. Greenleaf has furnished me a valuable stock with which to fill up a long interval.1 I read also some of Menzel, always a lively and often a just writer.

After dinner, Tacitus b. 4. s 60–70, went out to take a ride accompanied by my father. Went down to the farms and from thence through the cross roads to Milton Hill. The evening was beautiful and I enjoyed it much. Tea at my father’s and evening. Nothing material.


During the years 1784–1788 AA was with JA in Europe. Her letters in that period were written mostly to her sisters, Mary Smith Cranch and Elizabeth Smith Shaw, and to her niece Lucy Cranch, later Mrs. John Greenleaf. The letters in Mrs. Greenleaf’s possession, to her mother and to herself, were those she allowed CFA to copy for publication in the volume he had in preparation (AA, Letters , ed. CFA, 1840; entry for 12 Aug., above). In that volume, p. 199–395 would be given in large part to these letters, supplemented by a lesser number to Mrs. Shaw, lent by her daughter, Abigail Adams Shaw (Mrs. Joseph Barlow Felt). On the later history of the collections of AA’s letters, see Adams Family Correspondence , 1:xxx.

Sunday 22d. CFA Sunday 22d. CFA
Sunday 22d.

Fine day. Exercises as usual. Evening, family with us. J.Q.A. 6 years.

I devoted my morning to the usual course of occupation with my daughter and only changed the subject for my superfluous time from the study of Tucker which turns out unprofitable to that of Herschel’s Astronomy.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Newel of Cambridge preach from 1 Corinthians 13. 9.10.11. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And in the Afternoon from Genesis 2. 15. “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden to dress it and to keep it.” Mr. Newell is very sensible but he wants energy. His manner gives to his matter an inertness which appears effeminate. I think Menzel is right in one particular that there must be something wrong in the forms of Protestant worship which turn off so much of the attention from the subject to the Preacher.

Read a Sermon in the English Preacher by Mr. Balguy. Psalm 97. 1, “The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.” The active government of God a certain and joyful truth. Menzel wonders at the fact of the ordi-298nary character of all the sermons that have been the result of so many centuries of weekly preaching. The reason is that the text is better than any amplification of it. The sole useful end of a sermon is exhortation and that must be done much within the circle of old truths.

In the evening the family were all with us and Mr. Degrand and E. P. Greenleaf. After they had all gone I read the news by the British Queen which looks badly. We must be rapidly nearing a crisis in the United States.1

My boy John this day six years old. How much have I to be thankful for in him and how much cause to pray for his continued progress in mental and moral and physical health!


The British Queen docked at New York on the 20th, bringing news of declines in the value of securities, of rising interest rates, and of a state of crisis in the money market (Boston Courier, 23 Sept., p. 3, cols. 2–4).