Having agreed to go with Walter to Commencement today we arose and started betimes. I thought he would like to see a little of the Country so I took him round through Roxbury and Brookline until I missed my way and struck Newton and Watertown instead of going through Brighton. However we reached Cambridge at eleven and heard quite enough of the performance.
The day passed off far better than had been anticipated. The refractory students divided, one portion returning to their duty the rest being punished by the Government. Thirty nine out of fifty eight took degrees. The performances were very mediocre both in composition and delivery. The Master’s Latin Oration was far the best in both respects which I heard. The House was thin. I dined in the Hall with Richardson but the dinner was dull. After we rose it was announced to us that there was a Meeting of Alumni to take into consideration the state of the College. Judge Story made a Speech in support of a plan to raise $100,000 to assist in paying the expenses of young men. Mr. J. T. Austin opposed it with his usual tartness. In the course of his speech he touched at two or three of the places where the real canker of the University lies but the places are so sore, and they were so roughly handled that it produced nothing but furious irritation. The debate was carried on by Mr. Saltonstall, Mr. J. C. Park and others until it became late and I left.
After a short visit at Mr. Quincy’s to deliver him a letter from my father and making a bow to the ladies we left Cambridge and got home to Quincy before nine o’clock. Mr. Quincy and his family appeared in a state of considerable elation and on the whole I did not wonder although perhaps I may differ in my opinion of the degree in which it was justified.