Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 31st. CFA Wednesday. 31st. CFA
Wednesday. 31st.

A beautiful day. The sun bright and warm enough to melt much of the snow. I took my walk at noon. Crowds of people out at the shops 46in the very busy occupation of purchasing for New Year’s day. This is a pleasant sight, and a joyful custom. Every year of life as it passes mingles so much of the pain and pleasure of life that it is well to begin it with some agreeable sensations. The elder portion of the Community reflect upon the past, the younger upon the future. The first class remember how the last year has resulted to them in the great business of happiness, the last what is in store of the same thing during the next. For myself I despatched all my business early this morning and then I thought upon the last year.

Within the circle of my own family I have been eminently blessed. Divine Providence has continued to me the favours heretofore bestowed and increased and enlarged them. I have done as little as ever. My twenty seventh year has passed and I have done nothing. So be it. With impaired confidence in the success of my efforts, I propose to continue.

The distress of my father’s family has been great. I have sympathized with them somewhat, but less than I should have done under different circumstances. Had my brother been more useful to himself and those about him, had he listened more to the dictates of prudence he might have been invaluable to his friends. It was not heaven’s will. He plunged my father into pecuniary embarrassment, and himself into moral ruin. I regret his fine qualities, I mourn over the rapid obscuration of the splendid sunshine which attended the morning of his day. But it had taken place. And there remained to our view nothing but a dreary future which a merciful heaven cut off. I shall turn to this subject no more.

The year is gone. And here are those of us who have been suffered to remain. I pursued my usual occupations, all day.