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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1865

Saturday 18th

18 March 1865

Monday 20th

20 March 1865
19 March 1865
Sunday 19th



A blustering cold wind from the East with a grey, cheerless sky. Attended Divine Service at the Village Church, in company with Mr Sturgis and several of the household. The preacher fell upon the same topic discussed last Sunday at St George’s in the City—the story of Esau and Jacob. He was quite strong in his condemnation of Rebecca and Jacob, but was evidently disinclined to cope with the difficulty of the Divine countenance extended to them by their successful craft. The same difficulty is however always present in the world in cases of less prominence, and we are perpetually called to mediate upon the temporary prevalence of evil, all around us. To this no answer is satisfactory excepting this, that with our finite minds and trifling experience we cannot grasp the idea of a universal, everlasting, all wise Dispensation. All that we can say of this case of Jacob is that for a time God chose for his instrument to bring about ulterior purposes, one of two beings whose conduct appears to us not have recommended him for such selection just then. Did we know more of what was before and after we might at once perceive the fitness of this act in the sequence established by the Creator. As it is the moral sense is not to be perverted, merely because of a semblance of incongruousness in this narrative. The remainder of the day spent partly in a walk to Weybridge and back, partly in some conversation with my companions, and, partly in reading the first Chapters of the Life of Cæsar by the Emperor Napoleon. Mr Bidwell has been in the foreign Diplomatic service in a subordinate situation both at home and abroad. He has overworked himself and is likely to continue an invalid for life. His Wife and Mrs Ricardo have no beauty to boast of, and scarcely much of other attraction beyond that not uncommon among English women of their class, of good domestic affections. Quiet evening. People of this kind are fond of clustering around Sturgis’s princely hospitality which is not surprising. I hope they would reciprocate the kindness to his family should the occasion ever call for it. Mrs Sturgis has ceased to be the entertaining partner of the Barings, so that I now fell more than I ever did before that I am his guest. His indiscreet American opinions have already brought to me from Washington a preliminary to a transfer of the government account from that House. I have for what seemed to me strong public reasons opposed to that proceeding, and thus perhaps incidentally made some return to him.236

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA65d078