Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 24th.

Thursday. 26th.

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

Christmas day. The desire to consider it as a day of celebration is increasing very fast in this Community.1 I think if it would tend to amusing and innocent relaxation and social intercourse, it would be beneficial. The tendencies here are too grave. Religion is at all times a subject of such portentous magnitude to mortals that unless mingled with much cheerfulness it oppresses the intellect. Money the other great pursuit strains the faculties in a different manner. Is not the increasing number of suicides in some measure connected. It might be a subject of very useful inquiry to look back upon the ostensible motives of those who have lately committed the act. How many are led to it from religious gloom? How many from the pursuit of money? How many from dissipation and extravagance?

Office. Drawing up Leases for the Boylston Executors. Athenaeum. Afternoon, reading Bacon, and Plato’s Alcibiades. Began some sketch of a new Essay, upon the History of the United States.

Supper party at Mrs. Samuel Gray’s, family—Mr. Brooks and three daughters. Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Henshaw,2 the daughter of the first and son of the second, Mr. and Mrs. F. Parkman, Mr. and Mrs. Story and Miss Henrietta Gray of course. Pleasant enough. We returned a little before eleven.

1.

“Nearly every newspaper in the city, in course of the present week, has had an article recommending a more marked observance of Christmas day” (Columbian Centinel, 25 Dec., p. 2, col. 3). Characteristic was a communication printed in the Centinel endorsing the idea “that this interesting anniversary should be suitably commemorated” and suggesting that the “Congregational Churches may be opened and services be performed the same as they are on the annual Thanksgivings” (20 Dec., p. 2, col. 3).

2.

Mrs. Thomas W. (Lydia) Ward was a daughter of Samuel Gray by his first wife; the identity and relationship of Mrs. Henshaw to the rest of the group are not known to the editors.