Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. May. 29th. VIII:20. CFA Saturday. May. 29th. VIII:20. CFA
Saturday. May. 29th. VIII:20.

After a breakfast a la Solitaire, I sat with the family all the Morning neglecting my usual walk which I find has been of such advantage to me since my stay here. Mrs. Harrod the sister in law of Mrs. Adams appears to be a woman perfectly versed in the really “bon ton” of society. She has more ease than I expected and appears a lady of very good breeding. The contrast is always striking between natural and artificial manners and makes me a convert to one great point of aristocracy, that is, the real difference which does exist between men bred naturally and those who have formed themselves. The latter are always over civil but not half so agreable. The little girl has come here to be put to School at Miss Marston’s which is now quite a flourishing academy.1 Deservedly I think for I believe the women to be really worthy although they breathe a little too much of the spirit of methodistical piety.

I read a short poem of Lyttelton’s which is in the rural style consequently is not remarkably apt for criticism. Thus I passed the day, about as slothfully take it altogether as any this vacation. I did not notice that I was in a passion at Mrs. A. last night, she disclosing herself for once and speaking of the Adams family in such a way as to put me in a violent passion. I subdued it however and so I thought it necessary only to mention the circumstance without particulars.

In the afternoon George came out in the stage as usual and after a walk in the garden we went in, I immediately to my Grandfather where I read a part of an article in the last North American Review. It was on a History of Philosophy.2 I did not see enough to judge as I stopped at nine o’clock. From here I came to supper and was doomed 163to a severe trial of my temper. My Uncle sitting next to me took occasion to be affronted at me for what I do not know, but he tried to provoke me into a quarrel with him. Many bitter things he said which stirred my blood but conscious of the extreme folly of making a difficulty with him I remained silent. This being perceived, he sprang up and went off declaring that there was no congeniality among us. This took off the chill which had been thrown upon the company but my blood was running fast all the evening. And I was fearful my absence would be noticed. After the family had retired, he came in cooled down, and we spent half an hour with him before going upstairs. I could not sleep until long after I laid down but spent the time in conversation with George on the subject of the whole of that family and our own. XI: 30.


The Misses Marston (two sisters) conducted a school for girls which attracted the elite of Quincy and Boston. It was located on the site where St. John’s Cathedral was later built (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy , p. 341).


Alexander H. Everett, “History of Philosophy,” North American Review, 43:234–266 (April 1824).

Sunday. May. 30th. IX:15. CFA Sunday. May. 30th. IX:15. CFA
Sunday. May. 30th. IX:15.

Owing to the heat of the night, the jarring of the 1 last evening it was long before I became sufficiently composed to sleep and when I did nothing could rouse me until very late. I determined to go to Meeting this Morning where I heard Mr. Gray deliver a sensible sermon as far as I could judge, for I was still very sleepy. He also dined here. I am quite inclined to like him although I disapproved of his conduct in the old rebellion as I thought he meddled very much in matters which concerned him little. I nonetheless am pleased with his manners and conversation. He was a classmate of my Uncle’s at College.2 I made some inquiries concerning the new system to be introduced at Cambridge.3 It appears pretty evidently that my own class will not be materially affected by this change. In the afternoon, I did not attend but after writing my Journal I laid down on the Sofa and slept until nearly tea time. I do not know what was the reason but I presume these late nights have caused my weariness.

After tea I took exercise in the garden for two hours and had a great deal of conversation with George on the subject of Mary and Uncle and our family. I foresee a good deal of trouble to himself from this intended match and he poor fellow has some bitter moments of thought on the subject. It is an affair which will cause me some trouble as I am in a situation to give him under the slightest pretexts, 164ideas which he too freely indulges even now—but involuntarily. We talked of the affairs of my Uncle and I tried to sound him on the subject of a change but he has heard nothing on the matter from my Father.4 It is singular since my urgent representations that nothing has been done by him.

It was not till quite late that we returned to the house and when we did, we found a large collection of company. The Marston family, a Mr. and Mrs. D’Wolf, Miss Caroline and George Whitney. I addressed myself to none except the last, with whom I had a few minutes nonsensical conversation. He has turned quite a fop of late as he is about to pursue his studies in the ministry immediately after graduating. I teaze Miss Elizabeth somewhat concerning him. They went off at nine o’clock. Afterwards we were gratified by a little public singing. For my part I was more amused. My Uncle was in his usual way and got into a course of conversation which illustrated his private feelings. His wife writhed under the lash to my satisfaction. We soon retired however and before I slept I had some further discourse with George. XI:15.


One word overwritten and illegible; perhaps “veins.”


Rev. Thomas Gray, Harvard 1790, was an Overseer at the time of the 1823 Harvard rebellion ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1822).


See entries for 17 and 28 May, and notes, above.


JQA had authorized TBA to control and to pay out CFA’s college allowance, and CFA wanted to manage the money himself. See entries for 4 June and 24 Sept., below.