Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. October 9th. VII:45.

Monday. October 11th. VI.

Sunday. October 10th. VII:30. CFA Sunday. October 10th. VII:30. CFA
Sunday. October 10th. VII:30.

Missed Prayers and arose just in time for my breakfast. I am now always the last in these days at the morning meals, as our acquaintance are extremely regular. I for my part feel more isolated here than usual, I find but a very few who can be even acquaintances and I find none who can be friends. While Chapman is good natured, he is a superficial observer. Dwight is a very warm hearted man but he knows very little of the more delicate emotions and he plays with them too roughly while Cunningham is taken up entirely with his own person, “egoiste” to an unpleasant degree. Otis is from some reason or other no fit companion for me, he is a cold blooded toad and withal the pink and essence of politeness and Sheafe, although a pleasant fellow, is not of my temperament. As to Richardson, he is too disgusting a trifler to name. Now I am alone and disgusted at heart as I sometimes am, I generally preserve the same tone towards them. I employed my Morning in reading the North American Review which is not of much importance. I also made a sort of overlooking of old papers and burnt many useless ones. This, from their perpetual accumulation, is a regular business with me two or three times a year. I then went to Chapel and heard Dr. Ware discuss the life of Moses with unwearied assidity assiduity. He has been upon this subject for a long time.

In the afternoon, I employed my time principally in writing my 375Journal, which has been about half my duty this term. I am determined as an example of perseverance to carry through this work but I am pretty well resolved never to commence another in the same style. It is making a labour of what should only be an amusement. And although I have but little doubt that it has been a very considerable improvement, I wonder why I am ambitious to improve, for what can there be in future life for me to look to with an expectation of being happy? And although there is much for which I am about to exert myself, I am sure that it will all be for the empty world, which has been so frequently in my thoughts of late. The influence of the election upon the passions of men has been the principal cause of my thoughts on this subject.

Indeed I have been of late days in exceeding low spirits and cannot ascertain the cause. I have been in the habit of attributing it always to Ennui, but now I am fully and more than fully employed and still this hangs over me. It renders life hardly worth possessing. I went to Chapel this afternoon and enjoyed a very comfortable nap during the service. The President doled out his usual quantum and we came home. In the evening, I sat down and determined to write to my brother John1 and pour forth my sorrows to him as being a natural friend of mine. I had no hope of saying any thing when I first sat down but I went through my usual dose in a very short time. Indeed I think my power of scribbling has very manifestly increased since I commenced this book, my next labour will be to prune, a task which I intended to have undertaken during the present term but which I have been compelled to postpone, by the announcement of so many lectures and studies of different kinds. I ran up and spent half an hour in Otis’s room just to pass away the time and talk with him as I felt too low to read. I was somewhat better when I returned.

I missed a lecture on Friday to Mr. Ticknor which has been matter of much regret to me. He treated of Moliere in it and is said to have delivered a handsome lecture. The style of Everett is remarkably simple and dry and is a mere close narration of facts at present, while that of Ticknor is extremely ornamented, elaborate and polished. His sentences move too much on axles, they are mechanical almost in their construction. I can not help laughing sometimes at his metaphors which are at times extremely Commonplace. He indulges also in favourite phrases and is so invariable in the time of his periods that it is quite fatiguing to follow him. Indeed the Lectures are a pleasant sort of instruction but how hard are man’s internal dispositions to idleness, that even this must be an exertion. I wish I could think better of human 376nature and human resolution. But to judge from myself, and I am not very weak compared with my neighbours, I cannot but think resolution is a shadow. I read a little and then retired to bed. XI.


Letter missing.