Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Tuesday. 6th. CFA Tuesday. 6th. CFA
Tuesday. 6th.

The morning was clear but excessively cool for the season with a bright atmosphere and sharp North Easter. I did not go to town. Time passed in reading Livy and in examining MS until noon, when Mr. Price Greenleaf called and I accompanied my father and him to Squantum, it being the day of the annual dinner of the Neponset Bridge Company. We walked down which owing to the cold day was not unpleasant. The company here was not very different from what it usually is. Mr. Miller, Mr. Beale and his son, Messrs. Whitney and Lunt, T. Greenleaf, his son Price and Mr. Appleton, Captn. Quincy, Mr. T. B. Wales, Jos. Bass and Dr. Woodward, D. Greenleaf, my father 88and myself made with Jos. H. Adams the party. It was rather more stupid than usual, my father being somewhat indisposed and therefore silent, and his silence producing an effect upon the rest. We broke up early and hurried home on account of the cold. My father not wishing to remain and the Carriage being ordered to a later hour, he set out on a walk home. But I did not incline to overfatigue myself, and took a seat offered by Mr. T. Greenleaf to me, a decision I afterwards regretted as I felt the cold much more in an open carriage than I should have done walking. E. C. Adams and Louisa C. Smith spent the day here and returned in the evening, with Jos. who came for them.

Wednesday. 7th. CFA Wednesday. 7th. CFA
Wednesday. 7th.

The cold this morning was so great as to produce a frost, but whether sufficient to cut off the corn crop remains to be seen. I did not go to town. Mr. W. Spear called after breakfast to see my father and I had some talk with him about my matters. He agreed to bring with him the man to build the well on Saturday next, in town at my Office. Read Livy as usual, the eleventh year of the vicissitudes of the Punic War told perhaps with all due partiality for the Roman cause. Hannibal was certainly a greater man than I had given him credit for. This with a lesson of my daughter was all I did.

Afternoon, read French with my Wife and went over some of the MS. Letters. They are peculiarly embarrassing from the entire want of dates on all the copies. And my want of perfect familiarity with the precise periods at which events happened makes the work slow. But it is an excellent historical exercise. Evening at home. My father’s eye is in a bad state of inflammation and I therefore read to him a part of his proposed Eulogy of Mr. Madison which he has already made exceeding long. Afterwards, looking over Loudon’s Encyclopedia.

Thursday 8th. CFA Thursday 8th. CFA
Thursday 8th.

The morning promised a cold North easter and I went into town with a little drizzle in my face. My time was much taken up during the time I remained in matters of account. But at eleven o’clock I got into an Omnibus to go to Cambridge.

This was the day upon which the Anniversary of the founding of the 89University two Centuries ago was celebrated. The purpose was to be accomplished by an Address from the President Mr. Quincy in the Meeting House and a great public dinner of the Alumni. But in the course of getting up, it appeared to me there was a mixture of party feeling excessively repugnant to me upon such an occasion. The Committee which was chosen to make the arrangements at a meeting or meetings of the graduates of which I knew neither the time nor the nature, certainly seems to represent the highest toned federal Whiggism. Beginning in 1783 with Harrison Gray Otis then leaping over several classes and catching up with William Sullivan, the list bears the names of almost all the high toned and obnoxious politicians of the day.1 This is what by no means recommends the College and it’s Anniversary to my feelings and upon seeing the list I made up my mind to avoid the dinner part at least. I thought it however respectful to Mr. Quincy to go out and make my appearance as one of his listeners. The town was full of people gazing about. I went to the tent prepared for the dinner which was very neat indeed. They get up these things very well here. Then round the Colleges in which preparations were made for illumination, and to the Meeting house which was not overcrowded. I remained about three quarters of an hour while Mr. Quincy was speaking. His Address seemed to be historical and rather instructive though dry. It was not attractive enough to keep me who relish no such scenes so I walked back to Boston perfectly satisfied from all I saw that the University has entirely lost her hold upon the feeling of the State and is doing worse than nothing in the way to regain it. I am sorry not so much on my own account for little is there of gratification to me in her reminiscences but because my father and grandfather felt otherwise.

I reached town before two and Quincy before three. Afternoon, walk to Colburn’s ledge where they were hard at work. The Stone turns out very good. He had a block sixteen feet long which deserved to be called a post, for some public building but he was cutting it up. Home. Quiet evening.

1.

JQA shared CFA’s views about the committee, saying that “a political party complexion has been given” to the anniversary celebration (Diary, 4 Sept.).