Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 28th.

Monday. 30th.

230 Sunday. 29th. CFA


Sunday. 29th. CFA
Sunday. 29th.

A snow storm. The temperature of the air much milder of course. Read a little of Fuseli. His Aphorisms are striking, but there are two defects. The one a straining for effect, a desperate exertion to force grandeur out of words and ideas which gives a very artificial appearance to the style. The other a consequence of this, the use of far fetched and pedantic words.

Attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham in the morning from 1. Peter 3. 8. “Be courteous.” It was a very good Sermon. He expatiated upon the advantages of courtesy in the treatment of others distinguishing what he meant from the heartless external civility enjoined by the rules of the world, as it operated to produce internal softness of disposition while the other created only hypocrisy. He then regretted the change that had taken place in the manners of youth towards age, alluded to the decaying class of people called the old school, and inclined to think that this was not one of the improvements of the age. The Afternoon Discourse was from 4. Galatians 18. “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing.” The purpose was an examination of the charge often made against the sect of Christians of which the Preacher was one, of coldness and want of zeal. He endeavoured to shew that this was an error. Unless they were disposed to adopt with the zeal of other sects their creed which impelled them to the work of proselytism as an article of duty. That a man should seek his own salvation by acting upon his Neighbours was one of the doctrines which he could not see the propriety of, but he had no objection to, or rather he was clearly in favour of his turning the direction of his efforts towards himself.

Read afterwards a Sermon of Massillon’s. Text. Luke 16. 24. “I am tormented in this flame.” Or in other words the Story of Lazarus. He endeavoured to show from it the character of the Rich man, not guilty of positive crime, but of negative character. In other words guilty of being rich, of luxury, of indolence, and of no virtue. This was what subjected him to the severe punishment described in the Text. A punishment the more acute as there was a compensation in it, that is to say the rich and the poor changed places. The former was to feel the contrast of pain the more strongly as he perceived the contrast of pleasure existing more strongly in the latter.

Read also in the evening the larger part of Fletcher’s Play of the Faithful Shepherdess. Which I have nearly forgotten.1 As usual, the regular book of the Odyssey and the Guardian.


CFA had read the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher over a period of several 231months in late 1825 and early 1826; see vol. 2:18–33. JQA’s bookplate is in the edition at MQA published at London in 1811 in 3 volumes.