Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Thursday. June 24th. VI:5. CFA Thursday. June 24th. VI:5. CFA
Thursday. June 24th. VI:5.

Missed Prayers again this Morning through mere negligence, but 205attended recitation. I have got into the habit of sleeping so long that I cannot easily get rid of it. I spent the morning in writing a theme on the subject of the mighty deep and studying my tactics for the Evening. We were all at Lothrop’s the greater part of the day. In the afternoon from some cause or other, I did nothing neglecting even to write my Journal. I do not know what was the reason but I could do nothing all day. The Porcellians met again all day today. I was not able to speak of them last Friday owing to my want of room. It appears that there is a great difference between the two parties as to the election of members from the next class. I am conscious that I am also a great obstacle in this fight between them. They all missed the recitation to Dr. Popkin this afternoon and were so exceedingly warm they could be heard in the College Yard. For my part I am much amused at these proceedings. Dwight looked heated and so did Cunningham this evening. They said, they had been talking very warmly.

After tea, I went for the first time and drilled my section Showing them tonight the position of the body and the direction of the eyes. They are quite an obedient set as yet and appear desirous of progressing pretty rapidly. I was much diverted by their attempts although I kept it all to myself preserving the most solemn appearance. I returned home and had some conversation with Otis this evening not privately however as I wished it because this eternal Richardson was there. It is impossible in this house to keep any thing in private communication for any length of time with any single individual. We talked principally about this contest in the Porcellian which has been brewing for a whole year. He is very punctilious in his secrets consequently we can tell nothing as to the actual proceedings. As I am so much in the middle of all this, my curiosity is considerably excited. Thus I was employed until nine o’clock which was the appointed time to meet the other Officers at the Supper given to the Old by the new Officers. I went first to Lothrop’s room where I met Chapman, Cenas, and Otis. We stopped a very few minutes, the Evening was rainy and we hurried to Mr. Porter’s as fast as we could possibly go.

All the Officers of our class were present; of the others, Carter1 and Barnwell, Elliot,2 Blake,3 Emerson,4 and Silsbee. Lunt the Clerk was not at the Supper but came in when the cloth was removed. Livermore was also present. The supper was a very handsome one indeed. I had expected that there would have been some difficulty or at least stiffness, owing to the difference in the feelings of the 206members present of the Porcellian, but all such recollection appeared to be drowned in the cup and these members were as cordial as if nothing had happened. I was placed between Silsbee and Blake, consequently suffered nothing of that stiffness which I should have had almost every where else. I talked some time with the former on the subject of the drill and asked some questions of him which his experience would inform him of. I thus employed the time in the first courses, they passed off handsomely, every one was satisfied to all appearance. When the wine came on, the usual pledging was introduced and I saluted every body round the table. Carter asked me and I drank with him. Mr. Cenas made some advances to an acquaintance but I should like to have his conduct to me explained before I can hail him with any cordiality or even with perfect selfsatisfaction. I should feel myself descending in taking a man by the hand who has to my knowledge deeply injured me at least once, I can say twice. The forms being over, we began toasting, in the course of which many handsome and classical ones were given. Emerson was full of scraps adapted to the occasion, Barnwell delivered a toast after every song which was very frequent, Lunt who is a pleasant fellow joined us and sang right merrily.

The evening waxed extremely sociable, every thing went on right, and we closed the evening with Auld lang syne in perfection. There was a little difficulty in a toast given by Emerson which touched Howard who returned it so handsomely that no one attempted to play upon him afterwards. Indeed I never was so much pleased with his conduct. We broke up pretty late and I returned to my room not having for a long time spent an evening half so pleasant as this. It resembled an old fashioned Supper of many years ago. I did not neglect my bible for I read it in the afternoon. I:20.

1.

Charles Henry Carter, of Fauquier co., Va., a senior ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).

2.

Stephen Elliott, of Beaufort, S.C., a senior, who became Episcopal bishop of Georgia and professor of sacred literature at South Carolina College (same; Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

3.

Edward Blake, of Boston, another senior ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).

4.

Edward Bliss Emerson, of Boston, the first scholar in the senior class and the brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson (same).

Friday June 25th. VIII. CFA Friday June 25th. VIII. CFA
Friday June 25th. VIII.

Missed Prayers and recitation in Enfield this morning although I have already taken a very large number, indeed so many that I should not be surprised at receiving a private admonition on Tuesday. I spent the morning in writing up my Journal which I suffered to fall back 207yesterday from a singular feeling of laziness. Indeed, this morning, I scarcely felt in any humour to do more than yesterday, and consequently did not make up more than half what I should have done much to my regret.

At ten o’clock, I attended a lecture from Channing on the same subject with the last. He treated of the difference between judicial and deliberative oratory. He said that it had been usual in this country for the law to be the school of the statesman, but when the country increased and wealth accumulated, young men would study their own profession directly without having any reference to the law, they being influenced by motives of ambition which now can only be considered as secondary, the acquisition of money being the first. To this, I reply, it is true, but when this does come to be the case, the liberties of the country will pass away, for principle is never firm and when money is in hand it is easy to influence by the most unfair means. The method of the lawyer must change very much as he must be open to conviction on the other side of the argument.

What constitutes the difference of effect in two men with equal ability and learning? Their manner. The regular lawyer may rise and give all his arguments thorough clearness, he may state every thing in his favour so as to make a hearer only pity the hopeless task of the other side. But when the opposing person begins, he so throws a covering over the questions of his opponent, he manages his blandishments in such a way that it is impossible to resist him. It is a peculiar power with which some men are gifted which makes the great effect sometimes witnessed in a house of assembly. Thus he took leave of judicial oratory. I went to the reading room and spent some time, came home to dinner and attended Declamation, which was exceedingly short today, and no good speaking. I did not attend Mr. Nuttall’s lecture on Botany this afternoon much to my regret as I wished to hear him through.

I went immediately to take a ride with Sheafe as he was extremely desirous to go and I thought it would relieve a little head ach which I suffered under. We went through Brooklyne on an unknown road which lasted half way to Framingham, then returned, got caught at a toll house and had to pay and stopped at the Punch Bowl for some Strawberries which we obtained in fine order, and enjoyed them very much. On our return however we were caught in a shower which poured down in abundance; the closeness of the chaise prevented our being wet.

We returned to Prayers after which Otis came to me for a con-208ference in which I was informed of the result of these Porcellian meetings. The affair had come to it’s crisis. Chapman, Cunningham and Dwight had received honourable dismissions, and the rest of the Northern party had asked for them in vain. They are to persist however in their application; he then announced my election as a member and that of Lothrop. In such circumstances, my answer was immediate as the Porcellian Club has no attractions for me, when it would be disgraceful to belong to it. It appears that there had been a terrible uproar which had ended in this way, that the body of the Northern party had left the Club. Lothrop also declined. So that now the Southern party have the rule decisively. The club kept in meeting all the evening and initiated the Sophomores who were admitted now without difficulty, and thus ends an affair which has been brewing this last year. Hunt,1 a Northern Sophomore, has joined.

I drilled my section this afternoon, they performed the facings pretty correctly. In the Evening, my room was full of company. All the Lyceum, Lothrop, Chapman, Otis, filled my room considerably. It is seldom, I am so much honoured, but there is a good deal of talk about this late affair. After my company had gone, I took a sort of an oyster supper with Tudor and Richardson, being the first since I was at home or coming from there last winter. We then returned home and sat down in the entry where we smoked and continued our conversation. I have again become pleased with Tudor but nothing could recover my friendship for the other. Retired without reading my Bible. XI.

1.

Charles J. Hunt, of Boston, listed in the 1824 catalogue as a junior, did not graduate ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1824).