Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

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.


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

Monday. August 16th. VI. CFA Monday. August 16th. VI. CFA
Monday. August 16th. VI.

Attended Prayers and recitation this morning. I copied all my sums in the interval and consequently was well prepared for the examination of Mr. Hayward. This over, I congratulated myself upon having finished the labours of the Junior Year. After breakfast, I sat down and wrote my Journal and arranged all my room. The Cambridge Light Infantry started upon an encamping expedition today to Lexington, they did not look exceedingly well. Their caps are exceedingly unbecoming and the Captain looks no better than a stuck pig. They are in single ranks. I read this morning also a little of Ossian but could not do much being pressed for time. At ten, my arrangements were made and I got into a chaise and started for Boston, having determined to visit Quincy for two or three days as the Sophomore Examination today and the Freshman tomorrow made the days at our disposal.1

Arrived in Boston, I first did my business, obtained my cap &c. &c., then went to see George but could not find him at home, he had not returned from Sandwich. I had intended to have gone out to Quincy directly, but from some delay or other, I could not get there by dinner time, consequently I dined at Dr. Welsh’s. Mrs. Otis invited me to a party on Thursday Evening which I am obliged to decline as I shall have no opportunity to go. I had thought it remarkable that she should extend such civility to me as I have never visited her or made any of those advances which are usual on the part of young men. I do not wish to get involved in the society of Boston and I know many people would be desirous to have me visit them, if I visited one, so I make my neglect general. How to avoid such politeness on the part of Otis, I find myself extremely puzzled to know. I dined with the Dr., his wife 292and Harriet very sociably. After which I went off to Quincy, understanding however that there was a Billiard table at Neponset I stopped and played two or three games to try it. It is pretty good except that the balls are by far too large. I then went on to Quincy, found George here and all the family well. Grandfather looks as well, if not better than usual. I had some conversation with him and a good deal with George on different subjects. Abby is the only one of the family who is not here. I felt very much fatigued as I had exercised myself continually the whole day. George was full of his late expedition to Sandwich, talked of it incessantly. I being tired now went to bed. X.


Sophomores were publicly examined on the second Monday before commencement, and freshmen followed on the next day ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).