Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. August 14th. VI. CFA Saturday. August 14th. VI. CFA
Saturday. August 14th. VI.

Attended Prayers, but we were rejoiced this morning at finding that Mr. Hayward was absent and consequently we should have a miss. This is a thing which has not happened before for a very long while and was hailed with pleasure by all the class. I returned home and read my Bible. After breakfast I wrote my Journal which took me almost all the morning, the rest, I spent in finishing the article on the West Indies in the Edinburgh Review. It exhibits as dreadful a picture of slavery there as I have ever seen, the Government also is horribly corrupt. As to the plan of converting and civilizing the slaves I do not see how it can be done and they kept in the same way, but he gives some strong instances in favour of the supposition. It does appear to me, a free citizen of a free country, perfectly unnatural that any body else should be suffering the most extreme of torture without power to move in resistance. It is a shocking view of human nature when we look over the larger part, cannot I say all the world. And these men who are eternally crying up liberty and equality of rights are furious in putting them down. Nature is a paradox and daily exhibits examples of the truth of the assertion.

After dinner which was eaten with Sheafe only, I went to the reading room and took up the New Monthly Magazine, the greater part of two numbers of which I read. Not much interesting in it, for I fell asleep in the middle of an article upon the expedition to find a passage North of America.1 I returned home after taking a warm bath on this very cold day. I read a number of Pope’s letters.2 They appear to me by far too studied and cold, indeed they also sent me to sleep, which I did not get over until the bell rang for Prayers which I attended.

Dwight came to tea, he has been away for three days and I went up to his room where I had two hours conversation with him upon different subjects. I talked to him concerning the Knights, and wanted 290to say more but he on the whole turned the conversation. We had some laugh at his account of his adventures at Cohasset and some serious conversation on other topics. He is unquestionably the pleasantest man and the most sensible I find here. I returned home, spent a little while at Sheafe’s and then went to bed. X.

1.

John Dundas Cochrane, “Advantages of Attempting the North-East Passage Round the American Continent,” New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 7:393–403 (Jan.–June 1824). CFA probably read the Boston edition of this periodical, originally published in London.

2.

CFA’s set of Alexander Pope’s Works, 8 vols., London, 1812, is in the Stone Library, along with another edition of the poet’s writings, 6 vols., Edinburgh, 1764, and JQA’s copy of Additions to the Works of Alexander Pope . . . with Many Poems and Letters of Cotemporary Writer Never Before Published, ed. W. Warburton, 2 vols., London, 1776. Among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library are three sets of the Works of Pope. See Catalogue of JA’s Library , p. 199.

Sunday. August 15th. VIII. CFA Sunday. August 15th. VIII. CFA
Sunday. August 15th. VIII.

Missed Prayers this morning, the last Sunday in the Junior Year in which I have not attended one single one throughout. Whether this is an objection against my conduct I am not prepared to say nor whether I should have felt in the least degree better had I been able to say I had attended them all. After breakfast I read part of Pope’s correspondence with Gay, Arbuthnot and others. It is rather amusing but too formal, polished and complimentary for that sort of writing. He says he can trust nothing from his hands in the way of letters strictly confidential and evidently writes for the press. Some of his language I find very queer, many obsolete or ungrammatical words, the comparative degree used improperly, as deader &c. There are some very excellent observations however, interspersed, the letters from Lord Peterborow1 I like very well.

I attended Chapel to hear Dr. Ware in the morning give us a very short sermon upon the books of Moses, and the President, another upon Filial duty. This was one of his curious productions. He began by telling us that as we were most of us so soon to rejoin our parents, he could see no better season than this for inculcating reverence to parents, he then divided the subject into respect, gratitude, love and obedience, and repeated the arguments usually brought forward upon such occasions. For my own part my conscience was not affected by any of his observations so that I had leisure to amuse myself. I wrote my Journal also in the afternoon and continued Pope’s Correspondence.

After tea I went to walk with Dwight and Richardson and talked 291and laughed about nothing. I then went and paid a visit at Bartletts room for the first time for a great while. We had much argument there concerning the Officers of the next company when God knows whether there ever will be a next company. The Southern and Northern feeling will have a powerful conflict in that class. I was surprised to see Bartlett so tainted, but he takes impressions from the first man he meets with. I left him in great disgust and returned home. As it was early and I had nothing else to do, I continued the Correspondence of Pope and finished half a volume this Evening. I then read my Bible and retired. X.

1.

Charles Mordaunt, third Earl of Peterborough (1658–1735) ( DNB ).