Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Monday. September 13th. VIII. CFA Monday. September 13th. VIII. CFA
Monday. September 13th. VIII.

Arose earlier than usual this morning being roused by a call from my Uncle to go shooting with him. My father and George went this morning to Boston to go on a sailing expedition in the harbour. I liked it so little last year that I declined going. I was prepared in about an hour and we set off taking the direction of the estate at Mount Wollaston. Not a solitary bird was to be found there and we went further, indeed to the extremity of the land and in this way, I traversed much more of the land in that quarter than I had ever seen before. We found no sport but I saw the place. It is a very pretty situation but one which requires immense sums of money to be spent upon it before it can become any thing like a delightful residence. Much has been expended upon it already but I cannot say that I think it has been done most judiciously or to the most advantage. My father has some plan in view concerning it I suppose; if President he will probably make it his summer residence immediately, if not he will wait until the state of his finances will authorize the expenditure.


We returned some time before dinner rather dispirited by our ill success as we did not find any thing to exert our skill upon. I spent my time before dinner as usual with my mother and afterwards I also spent much time there. She went to Mrs. Websters1 in which time I wrote my Journal which was all the directly useful which I did to day. The afternoon was very close and sultry and from some unknown cause I became headachish and nervous. Being in conversation with my Grandfather and Mother, I was compelled to repeat so often as he is now troubled with deafness in addition to the rest, that I became ill humoured and I doubt not was exceeding bad company. After tea, I was in company with my Grandfather for the Evening. He is a much less agreable companion than he was a year ago, his own conversation not being so amusing. He thinks less strongly, not because he can not, but I incline to think because he is unwilling to make the exertion. We then went to Supper where we sat until ten o’clock. Soon after which finding myself inclined to be sleepy, I retired to bed. My father did not return here tonight. X:25.


Mrs. Daniel Webster, the former Grace Fletcher ( DAB ).

Tuesday. September 14th. IX. CFA Tuesday. September 14th. IX. CFA
Tuesday. September 14th. IX.

Arose and after breakfasting, took the opportunity to write my Journal, before setting off for Cambridge. I had intended to have gone in order to assist my mother in her plan for tomorrow, but this was changed and I merely went as my father and mother, going to Mr. Everett’s to dine, gave me the opportunity. Cambridge looks extremely desolate and I had the displeasure when I got to my room to find that they were painting it and had deranged every part of my furniture so that it was clear there was no sitting at home to day. We did not arrive until three o’clock and I had to content myself with a meagre sort of a dinner at the hotel of a half a chicken and a beefsteak. These I soon dispatched, and then went and spent half an hour at the Bookstore. I found my accounts in better state than I had expected. I had much conversation with Brown1 on the subject of books. He is a shrewd young man and will get along exceedingly well in the world. He has made me expend a very large sum of money in books, taking advantage of my youth and inexperience. I have however managed to collect a library which is extremely useful to me.

I became extremely tired of remaining here however and determined to go and see if Brenan was at home. I found him in his new room in Holworthy and sat with him an hour. We conversed principally upon the affairs of next year, how now we should be freed from things we 324 image dislike so much. Mathematics would close and I should be forever freed from them. This is a most delightful thought. The idea also of being released from three recitations a day and morning exercises on Saturday is also extremely pleasant.2 He talked much of his future course and he appears as ambitious as any of us. I remained with him until his tea time when I returned to my room and sat there a little while, the carriage came at last and we went to Mr. Everett’s to take up my father and mother, I was obliged to wait here some time, in which I tried to amuse myself as well as I could with the conversation of the different coachmen, before the door. They talked very wisely. At last we started and got to Quincy at nine o’clock. I was exceedingly fatigued so that after going through the mere form of supper, I retired.



James Brown (1800–1855), employed since 1818 by William Hilliard, the Cambridge bookseller, was later the founder and co-partner of the Boston publishing firm Little, Brown & Company ( DAB ).


Seniors continued to read Stewart’s Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind and Paley’s Moral Philosophy and, contrary to CFA’s expectations, to study analytic geometry and topography. They also studied chemistry and political economy, and they read the Federalist and Butler’s Analogy. Declamations, forensics, and themes were required the first two terms.

The senior table of private exercises included:

Morning, Monday—Friday Mathematics and Chemistry 1st term and half 2nd term.
Moral and Political Philosophy half 2nd term and 3rd term.
Forenoon, Monday—Wednesday Astronomy 1st term.
Monday and Wednesday Theology 2nd term to April.
Thursday Forensics or Themes 1st and 2nd terms.
Afternoon, Monday—Thursday Moral and Political Philosophy 1st term.
Intellectual Philosophy 2nd term to April.

See Harvard Annual Cat., 1820.