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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0005

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-05

Thursday. August 5th. VI.

Attended Prayers and, after the interval, recitation in Topography. The lesson was nothing this morning as we went over some of our former ones. After breakfast I sat down and wrote a theme upon the subject of the prejudices against the liberal professions. It was the most difficult for thoughts that I have written for a great while. I could hardly make out any real prejudices. It appears to me that there are none except those vulgar ones which are too weak and coarse to notice. I wrote therefore quite a short theme today. I carried them up, he made but four observations upon that on Byron, which was returned as usual yesterday. I do not believe he read the larger half. I received a letter from my Mother of the most curious sort. She tells an amazingly long story to me about an affair which has happened at Washington, and an attack upon my father in consequence, otherwise a coarse publication against him in one of the vilest of the Washington prints. She appears to be considerably affronted by it—more than I should have thought.1 I rather imagine however, it was for want of something else to say to me.
The day was very fine indeed. I spent the Morning in writing my Journal and in the afternoon went to ride with Allyne Otis in a new chaise. One of the most beautiful establishments I have ever seen. Mr. Read2 has just bought it, certainly the prettiest thing he has ever had. We first passed the encampment of the Light Infantry which looks very pretty—then went on, passed Mr. Amory’s pretty house and went through Watertown and Brighton until we arrived at the Franklin Hotel. We stopped here and played Billiards. I find I am beginning to recover my former game, for I was able to beat Otis considerably { 275 } out of patience. He abused the table and every thing else about it. We did not return in time for Prayers, by about one minute.
After tea, we had a drill, in which for once the Officers were well satisfied. No mistakes of any importance were made. And we progressed rapidly, performing all the usual manoeuvres excepting two. I was much gratified myself with the appearance of the company. After parade was over, we went to the Hotel and sat there as usual. Cenas and Howard had a quarrel on parade. This evening, the representation was made to Cunningham to which I referred yesterday. The Under Officers considered it their duty to state to the Captain that he must retain his dignity more than to address private individuals in the Company, that it was taking away the Office of the Commandant and degrading us in the eyes of our own sections. We had rather a warm conversation on the whole but we did give him a lesson which I imagine, it will not be his turn to correct soon. Hereafter there may be a chance of his erring a little on the other extreme but this is more desirable. We ran a little in double quick time to please the soldiers which had effect. We retired at about ten after having had a very pleasant evening. I returned home, read my Bible and retired. X:30.
1. As an act of charity, JQA, at his wife’s request, endorsed a note for a Mrs. Moulton, of Washington. She was alleged to be a woman of bad character, however, and JQA’s enemies pounced on the story to blacken his name. His chief detractor was John B. Colvin, whom JQA had dismissed from the Department of State two years earlier for neglecting his duty and for lampooning the Secretary in the Washington City Gazette. See LCA to CFA, 29 July 1824, Adams Papers; JQA, Memoirs, 6:94–96.
2. Presumably Joseph S. Read, a saddler located at 11 Exchange Street (Boston Directory, 1820).
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/