Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

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).

Tuesday 29th. CFA Tuesday 29th. CFA
Tuesday 29th.

Fine day. Distribution as usual. Evening Mr. R. Robbins.

I occupied my morning in returning my answer to Mr. Downing1 and other work remaining on hand at Office, which with a country man applying for the Weston farm took up my time. Call in at Warren’s and buy coins at an exorbitant price.2

Electra. The time after dinner spent in reading the Quarterly, but I am bitterly sensible of my misuse of time. A visit this morning from Dr. Kirkland ostensibly to inquire about a copy of my father’s letter to Baltimore, for Mrs. Cabot.3 He is a very wreck and it is melancholy to look upon him when put to so base a use by intriguing women, for I cannot help connecting in my mind his visit with the rumor of last evening. And here again is human nature! Evening, a visit from R. Robbins who talked more sensibly.




Perhaps John Warren, “conchologist,” at 186 Tremont Street ( Boston Directory, 1839), also dealt in coins. CFA, recording later visits, calls him “old Warren, the coin collector” and “the virtuoso” (see entries for 9 July, 4 Dec., 11 Jan. 1840, below). Warren did not become a principal supplier for CFA’s collection (MHS, Procs. , 86 [1974]:7).


Dr. John Thornton Kirkland, former president of Harvard, had, in his retirement, married Elizabeth Cabot, daughter of Mrs. George Cabot (vols. 2:226; 4:395).