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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0013

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-13

Friday. 13Th.

Roused this morning at half past three o’clock and started for New York after waiting a convenient hour. The road for the first { 93 } fifteen miles very good and spent by me as usual in sleep. After breakfast, which was made at a place called Andalusia,1 renowned for it’s good buck wheat cakes, I felt myself alive and prepared to take a good jolting. Shubrick got to the end of his peregrination yesterday and O’sullivan went in the Union line this morning whereas I went in the Citizen’s coach. One of my yesterday’s companions was with me though, being the young man. The lady was to have gone but was left to go in the ten o’clock line. My fellow passengers today were a curious set, every man almost having some peculiar characteristic which could afford matter of diversion to me sitting a disinterested spectator and observer.
The first that I shall mention, was an old man, who sat on the back seat, who appeared to be about sixty years of age, with as stern and bloody a countenance as I ever saw upon mortal man, which was considerably increased by a large patch placed upon a scratch over the left eye. His arm was also in bandages, which gave me a strong suspicion of his having been a bruiser. He had come from the inner parts of Pennsylvania, and did not invite conversation although he talked pretty mildly. I did not like his looks and was glad when he made his exit at Princeton. Next came a young man who soon informed us that he was a Connecticut boy but was returning home from his second campaign to the State of Ohio where he thinks of settling. He was good natured and well behaved, being much more modest than men in his class are generally. The others, two of them were Irishmen—one of whom I shall again have occasion to speak. The other was a good sort of soul very much given to philosophy and moralizing. I was for sometime quite astonished at his frequent bursts, exclaiming perpetually, whether it was apt to the conversation or not, that “it was interest governed all, faith it was,” which he accompanied with so many sage commentaries that I was in a maze. But I discovered presently that he had learnt the truth of his proposition by his experience, for on that morning he had lost his good coat and gloves before he got into the coach so that at every shiver he was forcibly reminded of the theft. The poor man trembled so that I gave him a small piece of the upper part of my cloak for which he appeared grateful. I could not refuse for I pitied him although I could not avoid laughing heartily at his philosophy.
The road was horrible and although I was not so much frightened as usual from some unknown cause, I still felt very qualmish. A student at Princeton rode one stage with us and we then were able to converse about the three universities very pleasantly. My friend { 94 } (alumnus) of Yale, (for so he was) who appears to be marked for the ministry amused me by his observations, some of which however were pretty sensible, and Nassau Hall talked of the late rebellion there.2 Thus wore the day. These men both stopped at Princeton. And the rest of the journey was ridiculous on account of these Irishmen and the jolting. We arrived so late that I determined it best not to cross the river tonight.3
1. A village near the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Trenton, named for the Greek Revival mansion and estate of Nicholas Biddle, which fronted on the river (Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, N.Y., 1940).
2. In December 1823 a Princeton student was suspended without a hearing and despite his protestations of innocence for his part in firing off a large cracker. The undergraduates remonstrated in his favor, but the faculty refused to entertain their petition. A subsequent indignation meeting led to the suspending of two more students, and many more then withdrew “out of honor.” Most were “promptly returned by their parents” (T. J. Wertenbaker, Princeton, 1746–1896, Princeton, 1946, p. 176–177).
3. CFA spent the night at Jersey City (D/CFA/1).