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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0008-0020

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-07-20

Tuesday. July 20th. VI.

Attended Prayers and recitation in Topography this morning and was taken up upon a sum I did not understand but I managed myself from it with success. Indeed this morning I had only time to go to Brigham’s room and look over some sums when the bell rung so that I could only copy them and study the explanation out myself, in the short time of recitation. After breakfast I went to the reading room where I found the answer of the Intelligencer to my father. It is exceeding lame but handles the subject precisely as I supposed it would, taking the ground of magnanimity and forgiveness of injury.1 I was { 249 } angry at the man’s confounded duplicity, consequently did not finish the article but returned home to study my lesson in Paley, the subject today was human happiness. The author has a simple way of writing his opinion without ornament or finish. He writes directly to the point. Attended recitation after which I employed the time until dinner in reading the lesson for tomorrow.
In the afternoon I wasted one hour in conversation with the students after dinner, so that I could do nothing but look over my Trigonometry for this afternoon before the time for recitation. We attended Mr. Farrar but did not recite very long for as usual he had quantities of students reciting to him. I was taken up and recited very satisfactorily to myself. In fact I have been considerably pleased at my recitations of late, because they stand on so light a foundation and I am always in fear that I shall expose my ignorance. After recitation I came home and wrote my Journal, and also read part of Shakspeare’s Comedy of Love’s Labour’s lost. I was surprised to find with what pleasure I returned to Shakespeare after an absence of three months. I read over all his passages with great eagerness and was astonished at finding myself so soon at the third act. I could not finish it however before the Prayer bell rung. The three first days in the week are employed so closely that I have not a single minute to perform any thing but my regular duties, and a little light reading.
After tea I drilled my section which was a new one as the company men sized2 this Evening again in order to admit the honorary members. But we were disappointed as these did not take their places but, acting most stupidly, remained standing there after they had come out for the purpose. I lost one of my men, Atherton,3 in which from some unaccountable reason I felt considerably angry, my interest having risen to a pretty high degree in him. My section were exceedingly troublesome to me and irritated me most exceedingly. Brigham of my class, supposing that his familiarity authorized him to conduct himself as he pleased, was very disorderly. In fact my passions became very highly roused and my next order would have been that one of them should leave the ranks had not they stopped in time. I was in a continual state of agitation however and was not in the sweetest state of mind when I went down with the rest of the officers as usual for refreshment. Lothrop was in much the same sort of humour. It required only a spark to start the flame and Cunningham illadvisedly applied it. I blazed out instantly and we had quite a warm discussion. It would have become exceeding sharp, had he continued any observations upon the subject. He has an amazingly great idea of the perfection of { 250 } soldiers without recollecting that it is not often that men who have been drilled for so short a time can do so well and he ought rather to be mindful of their excellencies than their trivial faults. He has some foolish ideas about the company which experience only will correct. In consequence of this short dispute however, the evening was very stiff and unpleasant. We became all very grim and did not continue conversation with pleasure. We soon broke up but Lothrop and I sat down before the area near Massachusetts4 and vented our illfeelings for a considerable time and becoming soothed in this way I came home and went to bed. X:15.
1. Unappeased by the explanations of the National Intelligencer (see entry for 17 July, and note, above), JQA anonymously published another attack on that newspaper in the National Journal, 13 July 1824, again charging that the editors had garbled the documents concerning the slave trade convention with a view to securing its rejection. The Intelligencer once more defended itself against the accusation of distorting the documents, claiming that it had printed all the papers then available. “With regard to the opposition in the Senate . . . to the Convention,” the editors added, “it is very singular, that, to chastise the Senators who rebelled against the Treaty, the Secretary should have bent his bow at us. . . . We approved the Treaty. . . . But, we allowed the publication of a summary of the arguments in the Senate against the Treaty! Hinc illae lachrymae!” (Daily National Intelligencer, 17 July 1824).
2. In military terminology, to size means to arrange or draw up men in ranks according to stature.
3. George Atherton, a sophomcre from Amherst, N.H. (Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).
4. Massachusetts Hall in the Harvard Yard.
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.