Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday. 27th. CFA Sunday. 27th. CFA
Sunday. 27th.

Fine day. Exercises as usual. Evening at Edward Brooks’.

The morning was clear and pleasant. I read some of the London Quarterly Review. My tendencies are not towards the cultivation of periodical literature but when I do I am struck with the superiority in fulness of scholarship in the English articles over our stupid, thin pro-180ductions in the same way. I finished a Review of Mr. Milman’s edition of Gibbon written with much force.

Attended divine service all day. Heard in the morning Mr. Greenwood from Ephesians 4. 30. “Grieve not the holy spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” In the afternoon Mr. Gannet, Luke 2. 11. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” The latter written apparently for a Christmas Sermon, and neither of them of much interest to me.

Read a discourse of Dr. Butler in the English Preacher from Numbers 23. 10. “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my end be like their’s.” Upon the character of Balaam, one of the least comprehensible hensible histories of the old Testament. It is manifest that the account of him is deficient in materials for full judgment.

In the evening Thomas Frothingham came in and took tea after which Mrs. Adams and I went down to spend an hour at Mr. Edward Brooks’. Finished Milman’s History of the Jews, the last part of which is rather lame. But on the whole it is a valuable work and has furnished me much good information.

Monday 28th. CFA Monday 28th. CFA
Monday 28th.

Cloudy and snow in the evening. Time as usual. Evening, Third Assembly.

I went to the Office and brought up my Accounts, though not before attending a meeting of the Suffolk Insurance Co. to hear the report of the Committee raised at the last. There was a large attendance and evidently much interest felt in the result. The Committee reported unanimously in favour of winding up the present concern, with a clause of provision for such Stockholders as being unwilling to stop might take the property at an appraisement and supply the places of the withdrawing persons. The question being upon the acceptance of the report, a motion was made to lay it on the table which after discussion was carried. This was followed by a proposition to raise a Committee to procure an appraisement of the property and propose to each Stockholder a question whether he will take the appraisement or go on, which was carried thereby procuring another delay of a fortnight. Very manifestly there was a great deal of feeling in the business on both sides, and as yet it has proved a drawn game. I was much at a loss to know the motives of the persons who advocated continuing a 181business which had lost for the company one third of their capital in twelve months.

Electra. Afternoon, luxuriated in the Quarterly Review. Evening at the third Assembly which I enjoyed as well as any. But I heard a rumour that I was myself about to give a great ball at these rooms which accounted for the change in the manner of some to me tonight.1 What a thing is human nature Home at about midnight well pleased.


“The world ... no doubt inferring that because [the Adamses] go out they are to open house themselves, they have fixed the day, the hour and place when ... A. et ux are to entertain their one thousand newly revived acquaintances in a manner unexampled in the annals of Boston extravagance. Here is the march of mind! At this rate we bid fair very soon to be at the pinnacle of social greatness.

“We have at last found out that we have a fine dancing hall at which certain assembly balls of an exceedingly select description confined to ‘de fus colored circles’ have been held.... It was here that I was to follow suit, but I cannot afford a thousand dollars and so my one thousand friends must have their trouble for their pains. Je ne m’en soucie guère  [I hardly concern myself about it]. They must feel mortified at having thrown away so much civility in so vain a cause, and will probably revenge themselves upon me forthwith. But I care as little for that” (CFA to LCA, 6 Feb., Adams Papers).