Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Wednesday. 27th. CFA Wednesday. 27th. CFA
Wednesday. 27th.

This being Commencement day and my year for taking the last benefit of my education, I rode from Medford to Cambridge early in the morning. Found the town about as much crowded as usual upon similar occasions. It was the first time that I had ever proposed to go through with a day of this kind regularly. I formed in the procession as a candidate for the Master of Arts degree.1 Our Class was rather more full than I had expected to see it. There being nearly thirty, and among those present were many whom I was rather pleased to see. I had not anticipated any gratification but when we came together again among the old scenes, it brought up the remembrance of our greater or less intimacy with every individual, and I was agreeably disappointed.

We walked to the Chapel and sat through the exercises which were uncommonly clever, for College parts, after which we took our first dinner in Commons Hall. Every thing tended to remind one of College days and scenes. We then visited the rooms of two or three of the graduating class. Winthrop and Chapman. Many ladies were present and a number of our College acquaintances. The next thing was a return to town, but not before visiting the humble offering of our class to those who have left us. Poor Sheafe, I thought of him, but the past is to us as nothing. And the remembrance of him is all I am to keep for the rest of life. I drove Lothrop into Boston, and we went to take our third dinner with the Class, at the Boston Coffee House. There were but seventeen present, but among them, were Dwight, Howard and Richardson of my particular friends. Lothrop, Fisher, Prescott, Chapman, Fay, Lodge,2 Lord, Sherwin, Cole,3 Hedge, and one other whose name has escaped me, who graduated. Bellows and Davis, who belonged, but did not graduate.4 We had a pleasant time and parted late, after which I slept at the Exchange.


The degree of Master of Arts at Harvard was granted upon application three years after the date of the Bachelor’s degree until 1869, when it was 274awarded only on examination ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. , p. 131).


Giles Henry Lodge, Harvard 1825.


Jonathan Cole, Harvard 1825.


John N. Bellows, of Boston ( Harvard Annual Cat. 1822), and Charles Henry Davis (1807–1877), the future Civil War admiral ( DAB ).

Thursday. 28th. CFA Thursday. 28th. CFA
Thursday. 28th.

I cannot bear the excitement of dissipation as I once could. This day was passed in paying the price of yesterday’s pleasure. John being himself unwell, we gave up the plan we had formed of going to Nahant, and I went to the Office where I passed a quiet day. This is the day usually devoted to Cambridge,1 but though I passed a pleasant time yesterday, my fondness for Cambridge was very transient, and I feel now very slightly disposed to a further intimacy with it. I did not dine, my system having been in a disordered state and injured very much yesterday. My spirits also having been much forced, the re-action was proportional. Returned to Quincy with John and passed the evening quietly. The President returned late.


The Phi Beta Kappa exhibition and the Boylston prize declamations were being held at Harvard (JQA to LCA, 24 Aug. 1828, Adams Papers).

Friday. 29th. CFA Friday. 29th. CFA
Friday. 29th.

My languor disappeared but left me quite unwell. John was so sick as to keep his room all day. I went to Boston. The day was quite warm. Passed the morning at the office excepting a short time taken up in visiting Mrs. Sidney Brooks. Met there Abby and Mr. and Mrs. Everett but left them directly after. My spirits still in poor condition and I have become dissatisfied with my way of life without having any very great prospect of a change for the better. Returned to Quincy in the afternoon, not being able to get a room for the night, to be able to witness the representation of the French Company. The weather was warm. Retired very early.

Saturday. 30th. CFA Saturday. 30th. CFA
Saturday. 30th.

I remained until quite late at Quincy this morning without doing much, owing to my time being wasted in waiting for my father who rode to town in my gig with me. The weather continued quite warm and our ride being thrown into the heat of the day made it fatiguing. Called at the Office. Fisher and Richardson came in and paid me visits which took the whole of the time allowable to my stay in Boston. Called at Dr. Welsh’s for my father, and carried him with me to Medford. We found assembled the family, consisting of Edward B. 275and his wife, Sidney with his, Chardon, Mr. and Mrs. Everett, Mr. Frothingham and the regular family. Mrs. F. was not able to be there owing to the production of another male animal in human shape, in other words, an infant fifth child.1 We had a pleasant day, Mrs. Everett sat next to me and was agreeable as usual. It is rather singular that those do not unite all the domestic qualities who possess the social ones in their greatest extent. The one however is acquired by habit, the other is a jewel above price. I passed the evening conversing with Abby, though in very low spirits.


Mrs. Frothingham had just given birth to Ward Brooks Frothingham. See Adams Genealogy.