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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0027

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-27

Friday. August 27th. VIII:15.

Arose but much too late for the Stage in which I intended to have gone. I just gave Tudor a farewell. He is going now and will perhaps not meet any of his friends for many years, if ever. He appears to me, from some reason or other, not to be in his usual tone of spirits but I shall recollect him with pleasure, as one of these high souled generous spirits whom one seldom meets in this world. I went to the Athenaeum and, having spent a few minutes there, I went to see the Freshmen who are examined today for admission. I could only think of the time when I was trembling before the Cambridge Government as a suppliant for their favour. I am now under unpleasant shackles but, thank God, I see my way. The class is a small one and not very interesting.1 College is degenerating, it appears to me. I could not sit here long so I went to Brenan’s and spent half an hour with him conversing much in the usual strain. He feels more bitterly on the subject of party differences than he used to, owing to the ridiculous speeches of Cunningham. He told me some things which really showed this man’s folly extremely. I am satisfied with my estimate of the man’s character and am sorry to say my opinion is a poor one.
From here I went home and arranged my room as well as I could. I have managed in the course of the past week to get through a long life of Burns written I believe by Dr. Curry.2 The account given of this man is astonishing. His remarkable powers of mind, his prejudices, and his failings afford one of the most striking pictures for study and observation that I have ever seen. Melancholy as the account is, it affects me more, as with less talents I have seen another example of the same misfortune. It is a subject which has made me think often but it is scarce one to be talked of or written of.
After a Whitney dinner, I got into the stage where I found fifteen and went to Boston, stopped at George’s room scarcely a minute before the Quincy stage arrived, in which I went off. After an unusually { 303 } tedious time of it, we arrived and I found the family much as usual. My Grandfather exceedingly weak, he is evidently departing, I think. I spent rather a dull evening and went to bed early. X.
1. Numbering only 46 members, the incoming freshman class was smaller than usual. The five previous entering classes had ranged from 81 in 1819 to 63 in 1821. See Harvard Annual Cat., 1819–1824. Incoming freshmen were examined on the Friday after commencement ( Mass. Register, 1825, p. 129).
2. CFA’s copy of Burns’ Works, with a “Life” by Dr. James Currie, London, 1824, is in the Stone Library.