Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday. 5th. CFA Sunday. 5th. CFA
Sunday. 5th.

Moderating. Services as usual. Evening at home.

The day was dark and I was up so late as to be quite unable to finish my usual lesson with my daughter before service. Attended as usual and heard Dr. Frothingham all day from Psalms 90. 5. “As with a flood” and from Acts 26. 27. “I know that thou believest.” Very good both of them but my mind has fallen into so unsettled a state that I do not attend quite as well as I used to do. The passage of time and the new year seemed to me to be described in the former sermon, first by regarding the flood from antiquity and then from the future. In endeavoring to analyze the causes of the defects of interest in most of Dr. 353Frothingham’s discourses, I know none more striking than that his laboured attempt at novelty of thought removes him too much from the reach of most men whose mental path is commonly a very beaten track. The motto from Terence, Homo Sum, is one which no speaker should keep out of his mind.1

Afternoon, read in the English Preacher, a discourse by the Revd. Mr. Leechman upon Prayer, its uses and advantages and the duty of praying, Matthew 26. 41. “Pray that ye enter not into temptation.” A very sensible and judicious discourse. Evening at home. Continued Walpole’s Letters which are extremely amusing. After which I went on with my comments upon the President’s Message.

1.

For the motto, see above, entry of 13 Aug. 1838.

Monday 6th. CFA Monday 6th. CFA
Monday 6th.

Clear and cold. To Cambridge—Examination, return. Afternoon at home. Evening writing.

We arose much earlier than usual in order that I might be ready to start for Cambridge upon the usual examination. Judge Merril and Mr. Cleaveland in the Carriage with me. The examination was of the Junior Class in the Clouds of Aristophanes and was far better than I had expected. So formidable an idea had I entertained of the difficulty of the text that I had feared to go out, but upon reading the piece following the class, I was not only agreeably disappointed as to the difficulty but moreover very much amused by the piece itself. It has a comic humor in it which I did not fully appreciate in the translation published by Mitchell and made by Cumberland.1 The Class appeared exceedingly well. At dinner we were stupid and I missed the old company on the Committee.2 Home. The remainder of the day and evening passed as usual.

1.

A copy of Richard Cumberland’s translation published by Thomas Mitchell (2 vols., Phila., 1822) is at MQA.

2.

Judge James Cushing Merrill and George Stillman Hillard had been on the examining committee most frequently with CFA. Others who had served included Rev. Francis Cunningham, CFA’s classmate, and John Chipman Gray.

Tuesday. 7th. CFA Tuesday. 7th. CFA
Tuesday. 7th.

Clear. Office and usual distribution. Evening at Mrs. Frothingham’s.

My paper of criticism upon the Message appeared in The Courier of this morning.1 “Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle.”

Office where I am engaged and distressed with accounts. My affairs 354look more discouragingly than I have ever known them since I was a responsible person. This will not do. I must turn over a new leaf respecting them. Circumstances have contributed to bring a great pressure of accounts upon the present Quarter with small means to meet them, and I fear there is not much prospect of their improvement. But on the other hand the necessary expenses of life are much diminished. I think I will rid myself by a positive effort of the amount of debt which presses upon me.

Reading Oedipus Coloneus. Afternoon at home. Evening to Dr. Frothingham’s where were the family. Conversation much as usual.

1.

On p. 2, cols. 1–2, and continued in the same space in the issue of the 9th; both unsigned.