Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday 17th. CFA Sunday 17th. CFA
Sunday 17th.

Fine day and warm with a thunder shower and light rain before sunset. I occupied myself in reading, a luxury which is rather new to me of late, until the time for divine service when I attended and heard 65Mr. Angier preach from Mark 12. 30.1 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength,” but I gathered little from the discourse as it was in the mystical, spiritual style which now prevails so much among us. Afternoon, Mr. Lunt preached, but as I did not gain my usual nap, I was not as attentive as I ought to have been. The congregation was uneasy from a different cause, the approaching storm.

I read a Sermon of Buckminster’s upon the character of Peter marked by the usual merits of his style. Matthew 26. 35. “Peter said unto him, though I should die with thee yet will I not deny thee.” Also Luke 22. 61.62. “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” The point of the discourse seemed to be to raise a new evidence of the truth of the Christian Religion from the very denial of Peter. Ingenious but not so striking as the sketch of the man himself. Evening at home. Mr. Price Greenleaf came in and passed some time, as also Mr. Beale and his two daughters. The first Quincy visitors excepting the Lunts that we have had.

1.

On Rev. Joseph Angier, see vol. 5:107–108.

Monday 18th. CFA Monday 18th. CFA
Monday 18th.

The morning brought with it a great change in the weather, and a brisk wind from the Eastward which made it very cold. I remained quietly at home reading with the exception of a visit to the house and up in town. I am looking over works of political Economy which give no new ideas and the study of which is like wasting time. As a relaxation in the afternoon, I take up Pliny’s letters with which I am much pleased. They describe life and manners perhaps not so vividly as Cicero but still strongly. Evening, read a chapter of Tucker’s light of Nature.1 My studies are thus desultory enough, but this may well be as yet when I am still in the enjoyment of a fresh return to books.

1.

In MQA is Abraham Tucker’s Light of Nature Pursued, 7 vols., London, 1805.

Tuesday 19th. CFA Tuesday 19th. CFA
Tuesday 19th.

A cold easterly wind but very clear. I. Hull breakfasted with me and accompanied Mrs. Adams and myself to Boston where we went to get sundry things. At the house, we were surprised by a visit from Miss Harriet Welsh accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Downing, the newly married couple from Fishkill.1 This was not apropos but we got 66through it as well as we might. My principal difficulty was in the delay it occasioned me through which I lost a great part of the time I intended to have spent in objects for which I came to town.

Letter from Mr. Johnson which required attention, and an immediate answer.2 Call from Mr. Beebe not yet quite ready to make a final conveyance but fixed tomorrow so that I come in again. Call from I. H. Adams too with whom I called to see Judge Leland and refer the matter of the will. He seemed to favor it’s validity,3 and gave me a blank to get ready. Then home to Quincy much fatigued. I. H. dined with us. Afternoon, Pliny. Evening quietly at home but fatigued enough to be glad to retire early.

1.

Two weeks earlier, Caroline Elizabeth de Windt, a daughter of the John Peter de Windts, had married Andrew Jackson Downing, who would later have a distinguished career as landscape gardener and architect ( DAB ).

2.

CFA’s letter is in the Adams Papers (LbC); T. B. Johnson’s is missing.

3.

That is, Lt. T. B. Adams’ will.