Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Sunday. June 6th. VII:30. CFA Sunday. June 6th. VII:30. CFA
Sunday. June 6th. VII:30.

Missed Prayers this Morning, this being the last which it is my intention to allow myself to lay in bed without sufficient reason. I employed the Morning in writing up my Journal and reading two Chapters in the Bible. Then I went to Chapel and heard Dr. Ware. The day was exceedingly warm and the Chapel suffocating in consequence. The sermon was short however and we were relieved.

I read on my return the two first books of Armstrong’s1 “Art of Preserving Health.” A very pretty poem indeed with a great deal of variety in its subject and a great deal of skill displayed in handling so remarkable a subject. It is handled in a way to afford a great deal of amusement and some instruction. In the afternoon after spending my leisure time in writing still more of my Journal I went and heard the President who delivered his Sermon at the commencement of the term much in his usual way. I have had some trouble today in returning the nods of the class. Dwight yesterday said, “when I come back here how few there are whom I am glad to see” and I echo the saying 173with emphasis. Of all the students whom I have yet seen there are but about five who are in the real meaning of the word good friends. These I may call Dwight, Chapman, Brenan, Sheafe—I miscounted, there are but four and to fill the number I must name Tudor who has not yet arrived. I have not the same feeling towards College that I used to have. My class do not interest me, I visit few of them and feel so independent of them that I scarcely should know that they have any connexion were it not for the recitations which we go in together. This is nowadays the feeling of College there being little of that fellowship left which used to actuate all so forcibly in former days. Men are all independent and cold. I may perhaps have to congratulate myself that I have even found so many friends as I am bold enough to set down.

In the Evening All the Lyceum went to walk together. It is fortunate for us perhaps that some of us are soon going to divide for the disgust which is so long contained will at some time express itself if held too long. Five weeks are now remaining for us to have a good friend in the world whom perhaps if he were to stay I for one might turn into a bitter enemy. For these things rankle. The night was beautiful and the walk delightful. After some conversation at Otis I went to my room and read over my Astronomy. X:20.


John Armstrong (1709–1779).

Monday. June 7th. V:45. CFA Monday. June 7th. V:45. CFA
Monday. June 7th. V:45.

Arose and attended Prayers, and recitation in Astronomy half an hour afterwards. Very much to my surprise Mr. Heyward called upon me and I did not acquit myself very handsomely. It being Artillery Election day1 in Boston I did not have any exercises and spent the day at home principally; in the Morning I closed the account with my Journal which had been unavoidably neglected. Perhaps this is not a good reason but I was so conscious that my situation and want of accommodations2 made me write it without the care which I was desirous to bestow that I at length determined although it has been quite a labour, in consequence, to write it here. I also finished Armstrong’s Poem on Health. I have never met with it before and am quite surprised that it has been suffered to be neglected. But it is on a subject which is not generally consonant with Poetry. I am very much pleased I must confess as it combines a great deal of utility with good advice—something which is not requisite to good poetry and consequently an additional advantage when given.


In the afternoon I did little but lounge in Sheafe’s room, at my own and at the bookstore. All our society out of town except Wheatland and Sheafe. I am very fond of the latter fellow, he has such an excellent disposition and at the same time knows so well the rules of good society and manners. Qualities which from some reason or other are not very common here. Otis has them—but he has not one essential quality which the former possesses, generosity. This is an extreme fault in a young man. At the Athenaeum I read a few articles from the last New Monthly Magazine. They are quite interesting and I regretted much my being compelled to break off a pretty story by the bell which announced Prayers.

After tea I went to take a walk as usual with Sheafe and Richardson who had returned from home. I was not gone so long as common because a cloud and some drops warned us to retreat which we did, but it did not rain much. Returning to my room I employed the Evening in making out Accounts for the Members of the Clubs to whom I am treasurer and my own. I settled with my Landlord, Mr. Saunders’, also and arranged my own affairs. To keep these distinct accounts is no inconsiderable trouble. I then solaced myself with two or three of Bacon’s Essays and read two Chapters in Genesis as usual. I did the same in the Morning. X:5.


Incorporated in 1628, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company was the oldest military organization in the nation. The first Monday in June was the company’s anniversary and, apparently, the time when new officers were elected. Usually a parade, a sermon, and a dinner over which the governor presided highlighted the day’s events, while a Fall Field Day was the main end-of-year occasion ( Bacon’s Dict. of Boston , p. 14).


When he was in Quincy.