Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

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).

Tuesday. August 17th. VIII. CFA Tuesday. August 17th. VIII. CFA
Tuesday. August 17th. VIII.

Arose but late for this house as they breakfast earlier here than at Cambridge. The day an exceedingly pleasant one and I was left alone here to enjoy it, for George went to town this morning, although I pressed him very much to stay and return with me. Breakfast over, I ordered my horse and took Mrs. Clark to ride. We went through Milton, returned and went through Quincy. She thus obtained an exceedingly good opportunity of showing off, a thing which she delights in. I had some conversation with her on family topics. She is pretty shrewd and fair when her prejudices do not make her extend her stories, and gave me a very good account of the history of the house since I have been away. We must always go to Women for these sort of things for it is never man’s province. Indeed it appears to me wonderful when I see the little things women are always engaged about, and how attracting they make themselves to men in these very pursuits, as it is always a gratification of man’s vanity when he finds his own superiority so evidently allowed. I believe that vanity is much more of an acting principle than it is generally thought and that Flattery is the most powerful engine which can be used to act upon men. It is exceedingly word omitted to have a man praise you even though you know you deserve it. This is called by a different name but it is of the same origin. Susan1 was very communicative with respect to Abby, her temper &c. I believe she wished to sound me and see how it went, but I was very open, not caring much how she might make her conclusions. We returned home in time for dinner.

In the afternoon I commenced this new novel of Redgauntlet and progressed somewhat in the first volume. I ordered my Chaise out again however at four and went to Neponset Hotel to play Billiards. 293I met a young man there who did not know how to play and beat him very handsomely. I was considerably amused at his style of playing and recollect when I used to do exactly so myself. This is a very attractive game and I hardly could tear myself away from it. I arrived just in time to save myself from the disagreable obligation of being waited for at tea. In the Evening I amused myself by talking a little to Grandfather who appears to be most melancholy for want of company now. I also read a little of one of Mrs. Radcliffes horrible novels, The Italian.2 I think she is the author, and went to bed very early, IX:10.


Possibly Eliza Susan Quincy.


A copy of Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents, which was first published in London in 1797, is in the Stone Library.