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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0014

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-14

Saturday 14Th.

Up this morning soon after six, and crossed the North river in the ferry boat. The Irishmen stayed here all night also and the philosopher crossed when I did. He remained at New York, so that I was in hopes both had taken leave. I met the other again at Morse’s where I breakfasted, who informed me to my sorrow that he was going on, being the most disagreable by far of the two. I stayed in New York but about an hour and a half and had some conversation with Jaques the stagebook keeper, who soon smoked me and talked about the Presidential election, to fish, I suppose. Another man came to me and wanted me to take charge of some silver, to Boston as a great favour, but I treated the man with amazing harshness, as it does trouble me most exceedingly to have a person come importuning me to become responsible for any thing merely out of politeness. The poor fellow looked dumpish finding I persevered so I left him in statu quo.
There were about eight in the stage one of whom I had formerly met at Cambridge though I was not acquainted with him. He had been studying for admission to the Freshman Class. His name was Savage, from Philadelphia, a very wild fellow as I soon had experience.1 Up to all manner of mischief, he just sat down to quib a man sitting next to him then, a young city shop buck, who had, as it appeared, come out to some town in Connecticut, on a visit and to dash about, among his rustic friends. With him was another who appeared not much more or less than an ass. But very smart sharp { 95 } fellows who evidently had considerable ideas of themselves. But they repelled Savage so he finally fixed on our friend the Irishman as the proper person to make extremely ridiculous.
Now it is impossible to conceive an uglier figure than this same man. Dirty to a great degree, he looked as if he had not undressed himself for three weeks, his face not washed for a month back. He wore a dirty blue dress, under a large red plaid cloak, his hair was a rusty black, and long uncombed, his beard full out, his face very red and very halting in his walk. With a remarkably shrill voice he told us, many ridiculous pedlar stories, using his brogue to great advantage. As he had been in that sort of business he was able to divert us by his experiences. Withal he was very shrewd indeed and could resist with success all the attacks of the student. In fact he retorted with such force as to put him [word omitted] rather to my joy than otherwise because I dislike to see a person condescend to press down a poor or an ignorant man by his wit, or in default of that by brass. The laugh being so often turned upon him, galled Savage to such a degree that at the approach of night he began a quarrel with him about seats, of the end of which I was doubtful. But the Irishman got somewhat the upper hand of him by his cool and collected behaviour. A young man is sure to disgrace himself by entering into quarrels with his inferiors particularly when he is in the wrong. To be a quib, No temper should be admitted. We were left alone one stage and Savage took the back seat. He however retracted so much of his first position as to allow the Irishman the seat every other stage.
We arrived at New Haven about eleven o’clock, and took supper there, the agreement of seats was broken up however by the entrance of two characters, whom I was not able to judge of until the morning. Sufficient to say that I took the whole of the middle seat and slept well.
1. There is no record of any student named Savage at Harvard in this period.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/