Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. August 7th. VI:15. CFA Saturday. August 7th. VI:15. CFA
Saturday. August 7th. VI:15.

I missed Prayers this morning, not hearing either bell. I arose however in time to attend recitation in Topography. After which I returned home and breakfasted. I had no peculiar destination today, having some idea of going with Dwight upon a party somewhere, which I gave up however as I saw he was not much inclined to receive me. I spent an hour this morning at the reading room; the New York legislature have convened and we shall now see what is the result. I suppose the Presidential question will be fully settled at Albany in the course of the next week and one of two candidates will obtain the thirty six votes of New York. Whoever does obtain them will get a large helping hand to the chair. The senate have acted as they did last winter, the House have also done their part so that the difference remains now to be settled and how it will be done, wiser heads than mine must determine. I shall wait the result with patience. My father is undoubtedly the most popular man in New York. But management has obtained a superiority there.1

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I returned home and spent the morning quite indolently. I wrote my Journal, and amused myself with Shakespear’s As you like it which delighted me most exceedingly. I was more in humour to laugh at wit or at least at quibbles than I usually am, and this play abounds in them. There are many sweet passages also. The soliloquies and observations of Jaques are admirable, his character is beautifully hit off. I can read nothing else this term, listlessness has made such inroads upon me that my habits of industry are gone, and I know not whether they will come again in my College life.

The Boston Light Infantry passed through for Boston this afternoon appearing very much the worse for their encampment. They have had a very pleasant time for it and have enjoyed themselves very much in it. They are not remarkable for any thing however except terrible dissipation. I then sat down to write my Journal and attempted to do some thing besides but did not succeed. I was compelled to sleep an hour and a half of the afternoon away and waste part of the rest. I can do nothing the remainder of this term. Listlessness is upon me and I feel that I am to do nothing but laze away the time. Luckily Brenan came in at about five and we talked away all the rest of the evening. He visits me when he can find me at home in a leisure afternoon which has been seldom of late. I like his conversation and company very much, he is a much more agreable man alone than he is with company. I am amused at his sarcasm and feigned severity of character. When he first came here, he was dissipated and had not the means afforded him which he saw other young men from his part of the country had, he therefore took it into his head to be melancholy and this affects him more I believe at the present moment than it ought. I cannot help feeling for him as I know was I in the same situation, I should be as weak. This, time should have blunted, and it has somewhat. But still it somewhat throws a gloom over his character. We had some conversation on indifferent topics, a little on Cunningham who is no favourite of his. I do not think much of the man, but still I defend him from motives of party spirit, in some measure, and from a liking of other parts of his character.

After Prayers Brenan took tea with us and I then walked as far as the bridge to Boston with him. Here we had a scientific discussion of character, and a great deal of conversation upon the subject of the party prejudices here, observations upon Miller, Hunt and others and upon the affairs of the Porcellians. I then left him and came home but as it was rather too early to go to bed, I sat down and read two articles in the last Number of the Edinburgh review which I found at my 279room when I returned. One was rather severe. The other was a light review of a fashionable of French Romances,2 one of which I read in a translation, but the sapient translator did not come to the conclusion of the Edinburgh Review, that it was a satire. Retired early. X.

1.

See entry for 8 June, and note, above.

2.

“French Romances,” Edinburgh Review, 40:158–169 (March 1824).

Sunday. August 8th. VIII. CFA Sunday. August 8th. VIII. CFA
Sunday. August 8th. VIII.

Missed Prayers this morning and was at breakfast about the usual time. I employed my Morning in reading Ossian principally and writing an answer to my Mother’s letter.1 I was more pleased with this author than usual this morning because I read more attentively. The figures are remarkably beautiful although they are very much like each other. There is hardly variety enough in them. I used to like detached pieces of it and it was always associated in my mind with the highest flights of poetry—but I never could read it. By this, I find one important thing, that my poetical taste has developed very much latterly. My letter home was a singular one, it had not much of anything. It was a remarkable collection of dangerous expressions and foolish sentences. Some opinions hazarded which would do me no good, if they were known. I then attended Chapel and laboured through a long sermon from the President which was sufficient to disturb a saint. I could not delight in it.

My Bible somehow or other manages to get behind hand every little while although it appears to me, that nothing can be more constant than my attention. I found myself five chapters behind what I ought to be and I can recollect no evening when I missed. I made them up today. I have given no opinion of the Bible, not so much because I have made none, as that I could not do it. I have perhaps also singular ideas upon the subject. I cannot reconcile to myself much of this book with our present code of morals and I am inclined to think that this part of the bible will merely be used as a sort of reading book without any uncommon respect. I may say more when I am nearer to it’s close. In the afternoon Dr. Ware gave us a character of Moses which might have improved my Bible history knowledge doubtless had I attended to it but unfortunately I was asleep.

I read my Paley lesson over for tomorrow and one or two more articles in the Edinburgh Review which is highly critical this time. It had rained and looked so threatening that I did not take any thing like my usual walk tonight but sat in Otis’s part of the evening and 280part in Sheafe’s, doing nothing, but talking most foolishly about nothing at all. I have been so out of the habit of doing any thing in the Evening that it is impossible to read. At nine o’clock I came down, read my Bible, looked over my lesson which reminds me of the unsuccessful week and went to bed. X.

1.

Both letter and answer are missing.