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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0007-0004

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-06-04

Friday. June 4th. VIII:15.

Upon rising this Morning, I found the weather bad for my intended departure, but would not suffer that to prevent so I made my preparations. My Uncle much to my surprise and pleasure, gave me a check upon the Bank amply sufficient for all my demands. This is the way he treats me. At one time abusing me with all his might and throwing me off and at another satisfying my farthest wish. I have now got so far in College however that it is impossible now to be in want of Money so that I should prefer some arrangement by which I could look for something stable. This being done and having taken leave of the Family, my Grandfather and all, I got into a chaise with Thomas and drove off for Boston. We did not enjoy our ride much, it being cold and foggy.
Arrived in Boston, I first went to the Bank then to settle an Account for Thomas at a Mr. Marshall’s,1 and then to Dr. Welsh’s where I dined and had some conversation with George who is in very low { 170 } spirits about a most silly trifling affair. Some difficulty with his lover about whom he makes himself most exceedingly ridiculous. He is a singular compound. He has remarkable talents with the weakness of a child; in purpose, he has no government over his own feelings and passions, is easily a dupe and in short as Mrs. Clarke said “has every sense but common sense.” The victim of the most inordinate vanity, he will suffer himself to be gulled by the praises which every artful man chooses to pour into his ear and he has already found too many of those for his own comfort in this world. I am sorry and hope for the best.
The dinner was pleasant. Miss Harriet Welsh being always talkative and the Dr. so so. Politics were the subject and George discussed learnedly many points of human nature which he has just taken occasion to discover. He is positive and warm which makes him unpleasant in argument. Thomas having come, for I separated from him as soon as we got to town, I set off immediately for Cambridge where we arrived at about four o’clock. He staid here a little while and then returned leaving me to think of a new term. I spent part of the afternoon at the reading room meeting no one but Lothrop.2 Wheatland, the only one of our house who had returned. Having the headache I remained up only long enough to read Goldsmith’s poems in Aikin and the two first Chapters in Genesis. IX:15.
1. Possibly Josiah Marshall, a merchant at 2 south side Faneuil Hall ( Boston Directory, 1823).
2. Samuel Kirkland Lothrop (1804–1886), Harvard 1825, S.T.D. 1828, became a Unitarian preacher and after 1834 was minister of the Brattle Square Church in Boston ( Appletons’ Cyclo. Amer. Biog. ).

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0007-0005

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-06-05

Saturday. June 5th. VII:30.

I did not attend Prayers this Morning as they were voluntary and it would have been too sudden a change from my late habits. It is my intention however to arise early as it is both pleasant and profitable in the Summer. I have returned in very excellent spirits as this is a short and pleasant term. Our exercises are not very difficult although more so than at any time formerly. We also have an interesting course of lectures from Professor Channing. I spent this Morning in writing a letter to John in answer to an admirable one which I received yesterday from him.1 He writes with uncommon ease and with more real interest and feeling than usual. On the subject of the difference between him and George, I spoke or wrote with a really good intention because I think it may result seriously to both parties. George certainly has treated us with a great deal of caprice. Did I not know { 171 } him so well, I would scarcely compel myself to forgive him so easily. I was charmed with his letter, so much feeling and so much sportiveness that I felt as if another joy had arrived to make me perfectly happy here. Indeed I can scarcely think that at any time I have come nearer to the great object of human life. The beautiful season of the year and the tone of my feelings conduce to it. Perhaps I might feel more so were I in love, but I know the consequences of that by experience.
Dwight made his appearance at breakfast but any ill feelings which I had apprehended did not make their appearance and I welcomed him as he did me, as if nothing in this world had happened. I nevertheless shall not feel certain until we come to an explanation. I was not able to do any thing of importance in the afternoon. I read two Chapters of Genesis in the Morning and all the poems of Johnson2 in Aikin’s Collection. Three of Goldsmith’s yesterday I did not notice for want of room. They are very pretty and have sweetness, richness without that weakness which so often marks Poems of this sort. In this term I propose to read over often many of these poems and on this account make but short Criticisms now. Of Johnson I can only say that his lines are strong and rough but full of sense and must be allowed to laugh when I think of his change in his opinions, political and domestic. For here his praises of the opposition to royalty and of the country are as strong and vehement as the reverse is in many other of his writings in prose. In truth the Dr. did not mind consistency much.
But how rare an article this is in common life and so far from blaming any one for wanting the possession of it, we should praise when it is obtained. Every man is inconsistent for he thinks differently at different times and gives good reasons for each conviction. The difference is that they operate upon him with more force as his situation is. I lounged to the Bookstore and then back again. Brenan was with me and we sat down before the door and smoked all the afternoon. Richardson returned this afternoon and was with us. He does not look so well as he did before he went away. His recovery however has been very remarkable. Our conversation was not of an important kind, Brenan is a pleasant fellow. His character has undergone some changes for the better within nine months. He has become less cynical and suspicious, a temper which only grew upon him by his unfortunate luck of being unpopular upon entering College. It has in one respect been of great advantage to him as he has turned his attention to study and made himself a scholar which he never would { 172 } have been otherwise. By this I do not mean a College scholar but a student and a gainer of knowledge. I have some respect for his character and like the man. Richardson is pleasant now but how long he will continue so to me I know not. I like his temper for it’s easy bent, but his dogged sullenness is very disagreable. In the Evening the rest of our friends and companions came pouring in. Sheafe arrived in a Carriage from Boston just at tea time. Otis a little later in the evening.
In this term, it is hardly possible to do any thing but walk and look at the Moon and Stars in the Cool of the day or Night. I took a walk with Wheatland and did not return until nearly nine. A few minutes were spent at his room talking with Otis who is more agreable than usual. A mere every day acquaintance with him would be more to his advantage than any intimacy. The rest of the time until eleven o’clock was employed in reading over my Journal for the Month of May and writing my Review. It was not so long as I had intended to write but My ideas are always rendered as concisely by me as possible and on that account deceive me very much in their number and magnitude on paper. I thus closed the Evening by reading two Chapters in Genesis a habit which I have laid on myself for the purpose of examining that Bible from which I have long been absent. XI.
1. Both letters are missing.
2. Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709–1784).