Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Thursday. June 3d. IX. CFA Thursday. June 3d. IX. CFA
Thursday. June 3d. IX.

I was compelled to change my determination of returning to Cambridge today partly by the result of the conversation with my Uncle on the other day and partly by the rainy weather and cold wind with which we were affected today. I staid in the house all day. Most of it being spent in my Grandfather’s room reading to him. I went over almost all the articles in the North American Review. Most of which I had read before at Cambridge. They did not interest me, with the exception of that on Wordsworth’s Poems1 which I was happy to read again as my opinion of the poet is still farther confirmed. If his poetry is good then I do not know what poetry is not? This is the course of the words of the reviewer and my settled opinion. A weak poet can be forgiven, a silly one, never. I also read to him a notice of Irving’s Orations2 with some extracts. I like parts. He said it might be good but he did not understand it. I have been of late, surprised to find the method he has of regularly constructing his sentences when he speaks of any thing warmly, arranging his words as he goes on and chang-169ing them when not perfectly correct. I presume this comes from a habit of public speaking.

My Uncle returned to day from Dedham not having been any further on his intended journey. Somebody came with him in a chaise. I did not see him as he did not make his appearance in the house. In mentioning this to my Grandfather I heard him say more than usual on the unfortunate conduct of his sons—he laments the fate which has thrown so much gloom over our house, something was necessary to check our pride and we have suffered bitterly. We should have been crushed, had the Sons all been distinguished, but now while the World respects us, it at the same time pities our misfortune and this pity destroys the envy which would otherwise arise. So we see that some good comes from even the worst evil. Having been with him all day, I spent the Evening in the Parlour with the ladies. Something dull still hangs over them. Mrs. Adams is still angry with me for handling Joseph as I did last night. It was intolerable however and I did what I have often done and what has made many angry with me. I have become quite pleased with the girls, particularly Abby, since my stay. She is so easy and obedient in temper to all appearance, a thing I like in a woman. This is not her character in Quincy. XI.


F. W. P. Greenwood, “Wordsworth’s Poems,” North American Review, 43: 356–371 (April 1824).


Edward Irving (1792–1834), a Scottish religious enthusiast, published, among other works, For the Oracles of God, Four Orations, London, 1824. A Philadelphia edition of the same year is in the Stone Library.

Friday. June 4th. VIII:15. CFA Friday. June 4th. VIII:15. CFA
Friday. June 4th. VIII:15.

Upon rising this Morning, I found the weather bad for my intended departure, but would not suffer that to prevent so I made my preparations. My Uncle much to my surprise and pleasure, gave me a check upon the Bank amply sufficient for all my demands. This is the way he treats me. At one time abusing me with all his might and throwing me off and at another satisfying my farthest wish. I have now got so far in College however that it is impossible now to be in want of Money so that I should prefer some arrangement by which I could look for something stable. This being done and having taken leave of the Family, my Grandfather and all, I got into a chaise with Thomas and drove off for Boston. We did not enjoy our ride much, it being cold and foggy.

Arrived in Boston, I first went to the Bank then to settle an Account for Thomas at a Mr. Marshall’s,1 and then to Dr. Welsh’s where I dined and had some conversation with George who is in very low 170spirits about a most silly trifling affair. Some difficulty with his lover about whom he makes himself most exceedingly ridiculous. He is a singular compound. He has remarkable talents with the weakness of a child; in purpose, he has no government over his own feelings and passions, is easily a dupe and in short as Mrs. Clarke said “has every sense but common sense.” The victim of the most inordinate vanity, he will suffer himself to be gulled by the praises which every artful man chooses to pour into his ear and he has already found too many of those for his own comfort in this world. I am sorry and hope for the best.

The dinner was pleasant. Miss Harriet Welsh being always talkative and the Dr. so so. Politics were the subject and George discussed learnedly many points of human nature which he has just taken occasion to discover. He is positive and warm which makes him unpleasant in argument. Thomas having come, for I separated from him as soon as we got to town, I set off immediately for Cambridge where we arrived at about four o’clock. He staid here a little while and then returned leaving me to think of a new term. I spent part of the afternoon at the reading room meeting no one but Lothrop.2 Wheatland, the only one of our house who had returned. Having the headache I remained up only long enough to read Goldsmith’s poems in Aikin and the two first Chapters in Genesis. IX:15.


Possibly Josiah Marshall, a merchant at 2 south side Faneuil Hall ( Boston Directory, 1823).


Samuel Kirkland Lothrop (1804–1886), Harvard 1825, S.T.D. 1828, became a Unitarian preacher and after 1834 was minister of the Brattle Square Church in Boston ( Appletons’ Cyclo. Amer. Biog. ).