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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0010

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-10

Tuesday. August 10th. VI.

Attended Prayers and recitation in Topography in which this morning I was exceedingly unsuccessful as I trusted to Mr. Heyward’s usual forbearance. But I was taken up in a part of the lesson which I had never seen and of course recited very elegantly. After breakfast, I went down to the Reading room. Nothing of much importance. I managed to waste an hour though and came to my room late for my lesson in Paley. This is the only one which I have neglected at all or at least so much that I could not have recited well. I went to recitation at ten o’clock not knowing much about the lesson but trusting to the class going in together and my not being taken up. I calculated correctly. The class were in but half an hour as this was a sort of half-public day here. The students of theology read dissertations today and an unusual quantity of company came to hear them. Mr. Hedge being desirous to hear them, and to give us an opportunity, made us come together and kept us in so short a time. I am sure, I am not one of those anxious to be edified by a parcel of, generally speaking, very contemptible people.
I returned home and read a long article in the Edinburgh Review criticizing a work by a Mr. Brodie called a Constitutional History of the reign of Charles 1st.1 It is a severe notice of Hume’s History of that time. I intend when I again resume my studies to read carefully this part of Hume as it has always been notoriously partial and I shall make my own comments upon it. This review being a whig publication goes perhaps a little too far. How little can we trust to the pen of mortal man, his prejudices will lead him off for ever from the path of right, altho the moralists might lament. The formation of rules is an admirable thing but they go very little way indeed when man is tempted. History after all is only a record of passion and even in it’s composition it mingles the very worst. A man if he wishes to know how wicked the world has been may read history, the same may be said to be sure of virtue, but a perfectly virtuous man is what we have not found, a thorough paced villain is not so uncommon a matter. { 283 } This review was a very long one, I really thought I should not finish it, but I succeeded although my lazy habits were in arms.
After dinner I spent the afternoon in Otis’s room learning Napier’s rules in Trigonometry which I performed very hastily.2 Attended recitation. After this, I spent the afternoon writing my Journal and looking over the book of military tactics. After Prayers, we had a drill. It was an exceedingly long one and very fatiguing. The company at last got to be very mutinous and I doubt much whether they would have served any longer. I was myself in a high flame not with the officers but with the soldiers, and came very near asking Brigham to leave the ranks. He is my most obnoxious soldier and has my most hearty wishes to be absent. We had a meeting of the officers and argued throughout the regulations of the Government, which we find much more galling than we thought they would be.3 We had a thorough discussion and fixed our plan of conduct for next exhibition throughout. For my own part I do not think the Government will take any notice of little infringements. The plan was settled and I was satisfied. After considerable conversation further we adjourned and I returned home, read over my lesson and went to bed. XI.
1. “Brodie’s Constitutional History,” Edinburgh Review, 40:92–146 (March 1824).
2. This entire paragraph appears on a leaf at the end of D/CFA/4 and is preceded by a note reading as follows: “Note to p. 179 [on which the above entry for Tuesday, 10 Aug. 1824, appears]. Owing to a mistake I commenced the journal for Wednesday before I had finished that for Tuesday which I am obliged consequently to insert here.”
3. See entry for 17 June, above.