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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0008-0031

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-07-31

Saturday. July 31st. VII:45.

Missed Prayers and recitation this morning for the first time for almost three weeks. This was in a sort of dependence upon a report that had gone about that Mr. Heyward was going to give a miss this morning. A report which proved to be incorrect. The larger part of the class trusted to it, I believe. I breakfasted, went to the Reading room and read the Newspapers. George has some handsome compliments passed upon his Oration (which has been printed) in the National Gazette of Philadelphia and the Boston Centinel.1 Nothing else worth observing. I then went to Dwights and spent an hour with him talking and laughing about the Lord knows what. But principally upon College affairs. I cannot lead him to one subject however, that of an alteration of the laws of the Knights. I want to know his mind upon the subject because since this has become the first Northern Club in College, it ought to be something a little more dignified. I then went into a warm bath to refresh myself from the labours of the week, and as yesterday was a most amazingly warm day, it was really necessary. This over, I was all prepared to go to Boston with Sheafe. We went.
I first made a call at the hatter’s to have my cap altered according to a vote of the Officers last Evening. The visors are to be made similar to those of the Rangers. I then went to Mr. Worsley’s2 for a military Coat and finally went to see my brother George. He had not got home so I sat down and talked with Miss Harriet Welsh. She is a singular woman for fluency of tongue, on any subject. She first talked of the probability of my father’s coming and then talked of Johnson, then of George, then of the fire in Boston and lastly fixed upon politics, a { 268 } vehement discussion upon which was commencing when Miss Mary Otis3 came into the room and stopped it. She is staying here while the house is again fitting up, which was damaged by the late fire. I had an opportunity of seeing the ruins today and they looked really melancholy. I also was able to see the other house, that of Dr. Jeffery4 which was burnt first of all, at least the shell of it. This is not so injurious to the effect of the street as that upon the Mall however, which is lugubrious as Otis calls it. Miss Otis is a young lady somewhat over thirty, I imagine who has been pretty but from some reason or other never was married. She is also rather amusing than otherwise. George came in at last but he was amazingly important on account of some flattering letters to him from distinguished individuals.
Two things, I observed in George today which I did not like, an increase of his already inordinate vanity, and a decrease of his never extraordinary manners. I am sorry for this but shall say nothing. I am afraid that my conduct already has excited remark. I will probe my own feelings concerning him to the very core. Am I envious of him? Sincerely, No. I have no wish that he should be less than he is but sincerely wish he may be greater. Otherwise I should not notice so deeply his faults. Am I thoroughly sincere with him? I answer No, because his conduct while at Washington ruined him as to my respect and I cannot entirely forget it. I see his faults, I wish him to correct them but I have no opinion of the man. A thousand little things, when I am with him, make me believe him wanting in common sense and prudence even with all his talents. I cannot think as highly of him as I do of John. I cannot but despise the weak points in his character, to myself why should I hesitate in saying so. I wish him a happy life and a distinguished course but I fear for him. He is not swayed by that high and immutable sense of pride and honour which ought to be the first characteristic of a great man. I had but little conversation with him as he went to Quincy early.
I then went to the Marlborough where I met Ward Marston and had a little conversation with him. Afterwards Sheafe came along and we set off directly for Cambridge, not the shortest way though for we went over the Mill Dam and stopped at the Franklin Hotel5 where we played Billiards the rest of the Afternoon. The table is a pretty good one and very easy to play at. I succeeded in beating Sheafe with some ease. We returned to Cambridge at a little past seven, and took tea after we paid visits to Brenan and to Dwight whom we found reading the new Novel Red Gauntlett by Scott.6 I spent the time until after ten when I returned home and went to bed.
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1. No reference to GWA’s oration has been found in the National Gazette. The Columbian Centinel (31 July 1824) praised the “style, energy, and spirit” of this “literary banquet.”
2. John S. Worsley, of Hobart and Worsley, Tailor, at 1 State Street (Boston Directory, 1823).
3. Mary Ann Otis, daughter of Samuel Allyne Otis and Mary (Smith) Gray Otis (Columbian Centinel, 22 January 1831); see Adams Genealogy.
4. Presumably Dr. John Jeffries (1796–1876).
5. Located on the corner of Congress Square and Devonshire Street (Boston Directory, 1825).
6. Sir Walter Scott, Redgauntlet, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1824.
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/