Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday 21st.

Monday. 23d.

Sunday. 22d. CFA


Sunday. 22d. CFA
Sunday. 22d.

Morning clear and pleasant. I went to Meeting all day and heard Mr. Whitney preach a Sermon or two, upon the employment of the powers of man &ca. He is the most placidly insignificant character I know. Perhaps such men are the happiest. He at least has all the appearance of being self satisfied to a high degree.

T. B. Adams Jr. came down to dine with us. Nothing material took place. I occupied my leisure moments in my present steady employment, the methodical arrangement of the papers relating to my Grandfather, which I already see is an immense work. My father has the most unaccountable indifference on this subject that I ever knew him to have; he moves neither hand nor foot in an undertaking which might be a very honourable one. I think a great deal more to the purpose than participating in an excitement like this of Masonry.1 But that is only my opinion.

In the evening, the Judge, my Uncle came down and paid us a visit. He seemed in pretty bad humour at first, but afterwards improved very much and we had quite an amusing discussion of the merits of the Masonic Question. Upon which, it is clear, my Father and I disagree.2 After he went away, I as usual, read my Numbers of the Spectator.


For a considerable period JQA had given thought to and entered into correspondence about Antimasonry. He had not, however, given any public indication of his position on the movement until two days before when he had, on invitation, attended the state Antimasonic convention in Faneuil Hall (JQA, Diary, 20 May).


CFA seems to have been, currently, not so much a defender of Freemasonry as opposed to any involvement of his father or himself in the Antimasonic movement:

“Charles is afraid of the consequences of my expressing any opinion upon the Masonic [controversy], supposing it will be imputed to selfish motives.... I have for nearly five years abstained from taking part ... as much as possible; but upon such questions there is a time when it becomes the duty of a good citizen to take his side. In the conflict ... I apprehend the Time is approaching when my duty to my Country will require a free and open avowal of my opinions and whatever may be the consequences I shall not flinch from it. The danger is not imaginary”

(same, 31 May).