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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0007-0025

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-06-25

Friday June 25th. VIII.

Missed Prayers and recitation in Enfield this morning although I have already taken a very large number, indeed so many that I should not be surprised at receiving a private admonition on Tuesday. I spent the morning in writing up my Journal which I suffered to fall back { 207 } yesterday from a singular feeling of laziness. Indeed, this morning, I scarcely felt in any humour to do more than yesterday, and consequently did not make up more than half what I should have done much to my regret.
At ten o’clock, I attended a lecture from Channing on the same subject with the last. He treated of the difference between judicial and deliberative oratory. He said that it had been usual in this country for the law to be the school of the statesman, but when the country increased and wealth accumulated, young men would study their own profession directly without having any reference to the law, they being influenced by motives of ambition which now can only be considered as secondary, the acquisition of money being the first. To this, I reply, it is true, but when this does come to be the case, the liberties of the country will pass away, for principle is never firm and when money is in hand it is easy to influence by the most unfair means. The method of the lawyer must change very much as he must be open to conviction on the other side of the argument.
What constitutes the difference of effect in two men with equal ability and learning? Their manner. The regular lawyer may rise and give all his arguments thorough clearness, he may state every thing in his favour so as to make a hearer only pity the hopeless task of the other side. But when the opposing person begins, he so throws a covering over the questions of his opponent, he manages his blandishments in such a way that it is impossible to resist him. It is a peculiar power with which some men are gifted which makes the great effect sometimes witnessed in a house of assembly. Thus he took leave of judicial oratory. I went to the reading room and spent some time, came home to dinner and attended Declamation, which was exceedingly short today, and no good speaking. I did not attend Mr. Nuttall’s lecture on Botany this afternoon much to my regret as I wished to hear him through.
I went immediately to take a ride with Sheafe as he was extremely desirous to go and I thought it would relieve a little head ach which I suffered under. We went through Brooklyne on an unknown road which lasted half way to Framingham, then returned, got caught at a toll house and had to pay and stopped at the Punch Bowl for some Strawberries which we obtained in fine order, and enjoyed them very much. On our return however we were caught in a shower which poured down in abundance; the closeness of the chaise prevented our being wet.
We returned to Prayers after which Otis came to me for a con• { 208 } ference in which I was informed of the result of these Porcellian meetings. The affair had come to it’s crisis. Chapman, Cunningham and Dwight had received honourable dismissions, and the rest of the Northern party had asked for them in vain. They are to persist however in their application; he then announced my election as a member and that of Lothrop. In such circumstances, my answer was immediate as the Porcellian Club has no attractions for me, when it would be disgraceful to belong to it. It appears that there had been a terrible uproar which had ended in this way, that the body of the Northern party had left the Club. Lothrop also declined. So that now the Southern party have the rule decisively. The club kept in meeting all the evening and initiated the Sophomores who were admitted now without difficulty, and thus ends an affair which has been brewing this last year. Hunt,1 a Northern Sophomore, has joined.
I drilled my section this afternoon, they performed the facings pretty correctly. In the Evening, my room was full of company. All the Lyceum, Lothrop, Chapman, Otis, filled my room considerably. It is seldom, I am so much honoured, but there is a good deal of talk about this late affair. After my company had gone, I took a sort of an oyster supper with Tudor and Richardson, being the first since I was at home or coming from there last winter. We then returned home and sat down in the entry where we smoked and continued our conversation. I have again become pleased with Tudor but nothing could recover my friendship for the other. Retired without reading my Bible. XI.
1. Charles J. Hunt, of Boston, listed in the 1824 catalogue as a junior, did not graduate ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1824).