Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

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.

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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.

1.

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).

2.

When he was in Quincy.

Tuesday. June 8th. V:15. CFA Tuesday. June 8th. V:15. CFA
Tuesday. June 8th. V:15.

Arose and after reading two Chapters in Genesis, attended Prayers, after which I looked over the Review of Enfield which was set us as a preparation for Examination. I was not at Cambridge while it was learnt so that I could make but little of it. I was not called upon however. After breakfast I wrote my Journal and employed the Morning as well as I could. We have news of a call of the Legislature of New York and the probable consequence a change of the Electoral law. I doubt this latter event very much though.1 Politics are assuming more an appearance of action and less of Newspaper controversy than formerly.

We had no lesson for the morning as a miss is always given at the Commencement of a book. We now begin Trigonometry a part of 175Mathematics from which I would willingly be excused as it will be impossible for me to understand an advanced branch not knowing the previous steps. I did not attend today and regret it because I might have had an opportunity of speaking to him which I may not now obtain. I read the poems of the two Wartons2 today and was much pleased with the sprightliness of the verse and its melody. The younger is the finer poet of the two although I think there is not very material difference. I like the short and rapid verse in which they write, very well. The ode to Melancholy is a sweet thing and describes feelings which to me are well known and which certainly are the sweetest or pleasantest that man here enjoys. They destroy him in life but certainly they are the most delicious for an epicure in mind that he can indulge in.

In the afternoon it being very warm I took some Porter and lounged the afternoon most lazily away, Richardson being here also. It was from the same reason that the morning was as we went to Dr. Popkin for a lesson in Greek Testament with which we close our Greek studies at Cambridge. I then went to Brenans where I spent an hour conversing concerning the character of different individuals at Cambridge. We were talking principally of Miller3 when the gentleman made his appearance. After some trivial talk, I came away and did nothing at my room until Prayers. After these I walked to Fresh Pond with a number of our house. The New hotel is very prettily situated and would make quite a sweet summer habitation. Returning, I spent an hour at Otis room talking then came down, read two Chapters in the Bible and went to bed after having spent one day in almost utter idleness. I am quite ashamed to insert such a notice here. X:15.

1.

The critical New York legislature was almost evenly divided between the supporters of JQA and Crawford, with Clay’s friends holding the balance of power. Admonishing his New York followers not to make any deals, JQA urged them to delay the legislature’s decision as long as possible, so that pro-Adams sentiment could gather, and to work for a new election law, which would allow the people to vote directly for the state’s electors. For an earlier report on the New York political situation, see entry for 25 Jan., above.

2.

Joseph Warton (1722–1800) and Thomas Warton (1728–1790).

3.

William Miller, of Philadelphia, a junior ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).