Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday. 30th. CFA Sunday. 30th. CFA
Sunday. 30th.

Clear and cold. Usual exercise. Evening out.

I continue Crevier with diligence in order to get up in my historical 162commentary upon the coins. But I cannot do so, being now with Vespasian in the one and Gallienus in the other.

Attended divine service all day and heard Dr. Frothingham preach from 1. Samuel 16. 45. “And Samuel came to Bethlehem and the elders of the town trembled at his coming and said comest thou peaceably? And he said Peaceably.” A discourse upon the character of the Christian doctrine emanating from the same town described as the scene of the words in the text, with some pretty pointed allusions to the benevolent fanaticism of the day which is militant. No doubt it is true that the spirit of the Christian system is thoroughly peaceful, and yet no man can forget the memorable saying of Christ that his doctrine would prove a sword even in the midst of families. Truth and right cannot always be retained without contention even when the spirit of proselytism is not existing. All maxims in short have their qualifications and sometimes very important ones, particularly when they lead to indolence and self excuse from the support of truth. Afternoon, Philippians 3. 13 “forgetting those things which are behind.” A discourse upon the close of the year, very appropriate and judicious.

Read a Sermon by the Rev. J. Tidcomb, from 2 Timothy 1. 10. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” A discourse upon the value of Revelation, neither new nor original.

In the evening my Wife and I went to see Edward Brooks and his Wife and we had a pleasant evening enough. Home at ten.

Monday 31st. CFA Monday 31st. CFA
Monday 31st.

Cold and clear. Distribution as usual. Evening Assembly ball.

The time passed at the Office is not easily to be accounted for because I interrupted my pursuits for this and that little commission in the shops. The procuring of little remembrances for the children took much time. And after all I missed my hour for Greek. J. T. Kauffer one of the Tenants came with his bills manufactured in a very curious manner. I must get rid of him but it will be hard work I foresee. Coins and Crevier.

Evening to the first of the Assemblies which some gentlemen have gotten up here at Papanti’s rooms.1 There were about two hundred persons present I should think, among whom were the principal people in the place. The hall is a good hall, and the collection was very well made, but there are great difficulties in all such cases from the 163impossibility of drawing any lines in this Country. There were lines in this case attempted and that very strictly which could not fail to give much offence. Another subject of grievance arose among those admitted. The managers were self appointed and had proscribed wine, at which every body rebelled whether they wanted it or not. The result was they had to give way and Champagne was brought at midnight.

Thus ended the year 1838, and in looking back upon it I can scarcely trust myself in the expression of my feelings. Few of the Community enjoy what I enjoy, and in this sense I am constantly grateful I hope properly so for my advantages. Yet what can be the measure, when a kind Providence has dealt so kindly and bountifully by me. I close this book as the record of mingled feelings of gloom and joy, of pleasure and pain, which nevertheless have left behind them no mournful reminiscences and very many highly delightful ones. May it be so ever is the prayer of one who relies far more upon the benevolence of the Deity to us unworthy mortals than upon any foundation of hope or fear in his own heart.


“Papanti’s rooms” were and remained over two generations a center for balls, “assemblies,” dancing classes, and the like in Boston. Located at 23 Tremont Street, the hall was presided over by Lorenzo, the first of the Papanti family to settle in the city (Mary Caroline Crawford, Romantic Days in Old Boston, Boston, 1910, p. 314–315; Abigail Adams Homans, Education by Uncles, Boston, 1966, p. 100).