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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0007-0022

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-06-22

Tuesday. June 22d. VI:5.

Missed Prayers as I did not awake early enough by about one { 201 } minute. I read my Bible and looked over my lesson and attended recitation, did not recite very much to my credit however. After breakfast I spent an hour at the reading room, then came up and wrote my Journal, attended recitation in Greek Testament also, doing nothing else.
There was much discussion concerning the election of officers this afternoon as the ticket which would have been carried was questioned today. After dinner it was decided. Cunningham was again elected Captain by a unanimous vote, Cenas1 was elected First Lieutenant, with strong opposition on my part however and those whom I could influence. I suspect the vote was a very close one between him and Lothrop. I have a great hatred to the man as he took it into his head to injure me most unreasonably in a variety of ways. I never saw any cause for this treatment of me, and feeling myself far too independent to be made a butt of, I threw up all acquaintance but have never until since the last Meeting of the Medical Faculty,2 tried to injure him; after that difficulty, I thought no further measures ought to be kept. I expressed myself strongly against him this afternoon and tried but did not succeed. I must allow at the same time that he was not unreasonably exalted. As our class is so little provided with men, it is not whom we will but whom we can get. He was not very cordially received.
The next choice was for Second Lieutenant which was obtained by Chapman, a most singular circumstance as it was unexpected. This vote was also pretty close as Lothrop and Otis were his competitors. I voted for him, as I thought without any prospect of success, but such was the result. He was very well received. The last vote for Ensign was the hardest of all. I voted Howard who obtained it by a very small majority, three votes, I believe. He was strongly opposed by the dependent part of our class on the ground of his being a fool, who on the other side advocated Miller who is said to be a scoundrel. The first was preferred to the last, and the malicious part of the class were disappointed. I went for Howard who was at his room, he appeared singularly affected at the news, frightened and at the same time much pleased. He could even under all his regrets, scarcely conceal his satisfaction. Livermore3 was elected Clerk during my absence. Thus closed the election with a result rather unexpected by almost every one. It was satisfactory generally, the only objection to Chapman being in his size and figure, this is not faulty enough however to excite much difficulty.
We returned home and I sat down and read over my afternoon { 202 } lesson, went in and recited or rather went over it with Mr. Farrar as usual, the time being over we returned, I, for my part, getting off very well. I had expected to have been able to read somewhat this afternoon but it was impossible. Cunningham and Chapman came over to see Otis and press him to the acceptance of the place of second Commandant in the Company which he as positively declined. Chapman then came to my room and we talked some time and drank some of my remaining bottle of wine and smoked. Cunningham then came in and finally Lothrop.
The Captain then disclosed to me his message which was the offer of the same place just offered to Otis. I had supposed something of this kind might happen in one of these Offices and had therefore considered the matter and decided that I would refuse it. My reasons I think were strong. In the first place my figure is not fit for it, it was a second offer, my unpopularity, and the excessive trouble besides the expense. These I stated, all but the last, which was in fact the least consideration. They appeared so woebegone though at this result and were so despairing that I was much influenced, every eligible person had declined, and there was not much expectation of continuing the company unless Otis or I accepted. It was an appeal to my generosity as these Officers would lose their satisfaction and their money which is not inconsiderable in amount. I thought also that soon I should like the exercise and that it would promote the good will to me which is much wanting at present, it would set me at least on the par with Otis, who has very much hurt his popularity by this step, and I should no longer feel this galling superiority of a really inferior fellow (without vanity). I have seldom had so much doubt in a step of this kind. We sat till Prayers and after tea I gave my decision in favour of accepting it and so it is. I think, I have acted right.
In the evening after the Lyceum had dispersed from my room where they had collected to smoke and drink wine, I had just sat down to read Anacharsis comfortably for the rest of the Evening when I was called to a Meeting of the Officers concerning the selection of guides. We came to no decision however. Lothrop, Rundlet and J. Otis fill the places of the other Commandants. After some conversation and a number appointed and declined, we adjourned and I returned to my room where I read my Bible and lesson and retired. X:10.
1. Hilary Breton Cenas, of New Orleans, a junior ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).
2. “The Med. Fac., organized about 1818, was a roaring burlesque upon learned bodies in general and the College government in particular. It had regular meetings, at which a pseudo-professor delivered a fake medical lecture; neophytes were given elaborate fake di• { 203 } plomas; and every few years a fake Latin triennial catalogue was issued.” Although suppressed several times, the group survived until 1905. See Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard , p. 205–206.
3. Charles Livermore, of Paxton, Mass., a junior ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).