Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

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.


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

Saturday. June 26th. VII:30. CFA Saturday. June 26th. VII:30. CFA
Saturday. June 26th. VII:30.

Missed Prayers and recitation this Morning although it is among the first in the quarters, and I expect a punishment. I could not help it today and determined not to miss any more this week, not even one prayer until Saturday at least. I spent the morning in reading as much as possible of my Bible and writing my Journal for the day before yesterday which however I did not finish before I was called by Tudor to go to town in a chaise which was at the door. I accordingly prepared myself and went. We soon arrived in Boston and I went immediately to Dr. Welsh’s to see my brother upon the affair of this Company and also upon the subject of the letter which I had received this morning from John1 concerning that very affair upon which I had talked with him at our last meeting. He writes in a 209singular way, speaks of George very affectionately but I know not whether this will last. He also speaks of Mary in a style which I had some reason to expect, but still as I can say nothing, and for the same reason, he cannot, I must leave his fate to Providence. I do think nothing but mutual displeasure will follow that honey moon which is the sole object of his wishes. John writes a little quizzically but generally in a more serious manner than usual. George was at Quincy so after some conversation with Miss Harriet and Mrs. Welsh and a little reading in George’s room besides writing him a note2 I left and went to the Exchange3 to meet Dwight and Tudor in order that we should dine there. I was somewhat sooner than they, but we were all in time. Relf,4 Elliot and Percy were there. The dinner as usual was a fine one and I enjoyed it much. After the cloth was removed I called for some wine and cigars and we sat very comfortably. The other gentlemen not indulging in wine, Dwight sent it over to “those Southerners” to show that although he had quarrelled with them on one point he still kept the politeness which belongs to a member. I could scarcely have expected such a thing ever would have been done by any one of them. Perhaps by the former, by the other two certainly not. I did feel a superiority to the whole of them at that moment which I knew to be natural but when I recollected the state of the College, it galled me.

I was very much amused at dinner time by the conduct of two or three gentlemen at the table. One was a little French buky,5 who he was I know not and care not, his name was Behr, I believe, his silly style diverted me as he appeared about as much of an ape as any man I know. Another was sitting opposite to us who was very inquisitive and talkative, he asked us many questions as to our residence &c. and finally gave his card to Tudor. He appeared to be very much affected by something, for he was calculating in his pocket book almost all the time. He drew out two books, looked over a large number of bank notes and returned them, got up and walked off. This made us believe he was intoxicated but I do not think this warranted by the general conduct of the man and his conversation on the subject of the fire.6 We rose at last, found Chapman waiting for us in the entry according to agreement to go to Savin Hill. We went to the Marlborough Hotel and met them to go off, arrived there we spent part of the afternoon playing billiards, part of it bowling, and the rest eating strawberries and drinking portwine. We played billiards again after the other two had left us to go to Boston and drink tea, I did not play so well as last time, and finally got quite tired, we then returned 210to Cambridge round through Brooklyne as I wished to avoid the town which is always a disagreable place to me.

The evening was a delightfully cool one and the ride was as pleasant as any I ever took. There is something singularly pleasing in these rides from Cambridge, I certainly enjoy them more than those which I get any where else. I shall not forget the pleasant times between John and I. We returned in good time, it being about half past eight o’clock, took a few oysters, and spent half an hour at Wheatland’s. I had a bleeding at the nose this Evening and felt happy that it had not attacked me in the course of the day. I read my Chapters in the Bible making up the deficiency of the last Evening, my regularity does not stand most creditably of late either in my self imposed exercises or in those laid upon us by the Institution. X:15.






The Exchange Coffee House on Congress Square, built in 1822, four years after the first, elegant structure of Charles Bulfinch burned down ( Bacon’s Dict. of Boston , p. 395–396).


Daniel Clark Relf, of New Orleans, a senior ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).


“Buckie,” a perverse or refractory person ( OED ).


On Wednesday, 23 June, a five-story building on Salem Street caught fire, and the roof and two upper floors were badly damaged (Columbian Centinel, 26 June 1824).