Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Saturday 26th. CFA Saturday 26th. CFA
Saturday 26th.

A lovely day. At home. Transplanting trees. Evening at the Mansion.

This was a very remarkable day. I spent two or three hours of the morning in commencing my promised article for Mr. Hunt, but the beauty of the weather was such that I sallied out to avail of it in setting a few more trees, but I have nearly made up the complement for my piece of ground. The mode of making a plantation is undoubtedly perseverance only, and I have now carried it on very steadily autumn and spring for three years without as yet any very visible result. This would at first seem discouraging but it is the nature of all plantation not to realize soon. Afternoon so tired of writing that I went on with Menzel 315whose book has dragged for some days. The Courier published my second paper this morning which reads pretty well. Evening at my father’s where were Miss Harrod and E. C. Adams.

Sunday. 27th. CFA Sunday. 27th. CFA
Sunday. 27th.

Beautiful day. Exercises as usual. Evening at the Mansion.

I devoted the hour before service to my daughter Louisa and then attended the regular exercises. Mr. F. Cunningham preached in the morning from Matthew 22. 12. “And he saith unto him, Friend how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” An idea of Swedenborg that spirits seek after death a situation for which they are suited in order to enjoy happiness seems to have led the preacher into a train of thoughts about fitness which he left exactly as he found them. Afternoon Ecclesiastes 3. 1. “To every thing there is a season.” Trite and commonplace in the extreme.

Cunningham dined at my father’s where I joined him. Fourteen years have passed since we graduated together at Cambridge. He the prominent and the promising, I, the indolent and the dissipated. Time has been cold to him since and placed him very far below me in the world’s estimation. He has moreover been unfortunate in his domestic relations by marrying a woman marked for early but lingering death, and without children, whereas I have been fortunate. There is a moral in this which I hope I may take to heart. I trust I am not ungrateful for all my blessings, and it is not in a spirit of improper pride that I read this lesson of human vicissitude. But the greatest disappointment in Cunningham is in the extreme mediocrity of his performances, which show a want of something more than the gifts of external fortune.1

Read a Sermon by the Revd. J. Holland upon charity. 1 Corinthians 13. 1. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” A judicious discourse upon this ancient subject. Mr. Price Greenleaf called for half an hour after which we went to the Mansion.


CFA had, on several earlier occasions, been led to moralize on the course of Rev. Francis Cunningham’s career and on his own since their student years at Harvard; see vols. 3:394; 4:421; 6:367.

Monday. 28th. CFA Monday. 28th. CFA
Monday. 28th.

Fine. To town. Afternoon at home. Evening at the Mansion.

I went to town this morning out of time because I wished to take 316with me Catherine, who is about to begin to put our house in order, which looks as if it needed it enough. My time was accordingly very much engrossed by the different calls upon me in order to get going.

The public seems to continue in agitation about the suspension of specie payments but the resistance to it appears to gain ground which surprises me. Talked with S. C. Gray today who seems in good courage.

Return to dine, where my father joined me in place of my Wife who had gone with my mother to Boston. Continued Menzel afterwards. Evening visit to the Mansion.