Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Friday. August 20th. VIII:30. CFA Friday. August 20th. VIII:30. CFA
Friday. August 20th. VIII:30.

Missed Prayers this Morning, arose, and found myself much refreshed. After taking breakfast I went at Chapman’s invitation to Freshpond as he was going to give a treat to the students who were in town, for his part. Almost a dozen went up, most of them are immediate acquaintances, and we amused ourselves in the morning in rolling at ninepins. This did not take with as much effect however as usual and some to rowing and some to sailing in the boats upon the pond. This is one of the prettiest places any where round. The bend of the lake, for I might call it one without impropriety, makes the place on which the house stands a sort of headland or peninsula and the thick shade of the trees on it which grow close gives it at a distance a very pretty effect. We took the largest boat among the whole, stocked it with provisions for a voyage, and went off.

Our sail was an extremely pleasant one, we had a song and enjoyed ourselves considerably, but as I saw we were likely to have a boistrous return, I pressed Rundlet to get home as quick as possible, some of our number not being in a state to behave perfectly properly. I am fond of social amusements but I cannot endure turbulence. It disgusts me immediately. On the whole however we had an agreable day of it and returned at three o’clock pretty well fatigued. We obtained a dinner or rather a desert at home and sat there sacrificing Otis’s last wine, Fay being still present, the most amazing of the party. He has not arrived at a seriousness of his being so far in College that it is requisite that he should act like a man.

As we were determined to finish every thing which had the appearance of public property, we went to Lothrop’s where we spent the afternoon. I was so tired and fatigued with these scenes however that I wished myself often away. After tea however, I continued, paid a visit to Lunt the Senior and then went to Cunningham’s where we 296continued drinking wine. I was too tired to stay however. The arrival of General Lafayette1 has excited the nation and it will probably be a cause of much festivity here. We argued the possibility of bringing our company out upon the occasion but have not much hope. I went home and very soon retired to rest after a fatiguing day. X.


General Lafayette (1757–1834), the ever-popular Revolutionary War hero, visited the United States from 14 August 1824 to 9 September 1825 as the guest of the nation. Enthusiastically welcomed by Americans, he traveled through the eastern seaboard states and up the Mississippi River. In late August 1824 he came to Boston, attended commencement at Harvard, and visited JA at Quincy. See J. Bennett Nolan, Lafayette in America Day by Day, Baltimore, 1934, p. 243 ff.; Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past, Boston, 1926, p. 86–132.

Saturday. August 21st. VIII. CFA Saturday. August 21st. VIII. CFA
Saturday. August 21st. VIII.

Missed Prayers this morning, arose, feeling again restored to strength. Found myself on the eve of being deserted or nearly so. Chapman went this morning and all the rest of my acquaintance except Rundlet and Lothrop will be gone before night so I concluded to make my exit for the present. I spent the morning, some part of it at least, reading Redgauntlet which in the commencement of the second volume becomes rather uninteresting. I read three chapters and closed the book without much regret. I then went home and arranged my room as well as possible. I read a few of Pope’s letters and dined. I wrote a letter also to John, which was of some importance as it was of a serious character and in answer to one of a very serious character which I received on Thursday morning.1 There is something going on at Washington to the bottom of which I cannot see. And I receive dark and mysterious hints about the matter in every letter upon the subject of family affairs. George is concerned and, for all I know John, but it is very certain that I have no connection with the matter. I have suffered too much already. John writes with a little bitterness and my Mother with considerable and I am doomed not to know the reason why.2

After dinner I waited for the Stage two hours and was driven to the conclusion that it had left me. Consequently I was obliged to walk into town, which I did for the first time in my Junior Year, in the course of which, I have also walked out here once. I arrived at my brother’s just in time to gain the stage for Quincy. George announced to me that my father was to be off on Tuesday, consequently I shall be obliged to detain my letter to John, for which I am sorry as I might have done some good by it, and I might have prevented some mis-297understandings which are the perpetual trouble of our house. I see darkness and trouble in futurity and only wish to God time would disclose the worst and that shortly. I wish only the interval of one year and the power of making up my mind to exertion.

I came out to Quincy in the Stage with George, found the family all well and Grandfather in pretty good spirits. After supper I had some important conversation with my brother, and as I deemed it my duty, I disclosed to him what I supposed to be the case at home in order to make him, if he will, know his situation. We sat up long but fatigue at last reminded us of XII.


Both letters missing.


The difficulty in the Adams household presumably was caused by Mary C. Hellen, who was transferring her affections from her betrothed, GWA, to JA2. See entry for 6 Sept., below.