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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0008-0001

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-07-01

Thursday. July 1st. VI.

Attended Prayers and recitation in Enfield this morning, after which I read my Chapters in the Bible as usual. I spent the morning { 217 } in writing my Forensic on the subject of language, whether improved by being compounded of other languages. I argued the affirmative and am very much inclined to believe it true, as I think it should be more open to beauties than the other. I attended them and heard as good as any since we have been writing them. Chapman’s was a very good one. Dwight’s I did not hear. We remained here as usual two hours, and I heard some nonsense. Mr. Hedge decided against my position, I did not think correctly for my own part.
After dinner I attended a Lecture of Mr. Nuttall’s, who changed his day, on account of a representation from the government. He treated of the five succeeding orders of Linnaeus and gave us many examples which I noted in my book.1 But which it is impossible to mention here. I then spent a little while at Lothrop’s room reading over the afternoon’s military lesson which does take an amazing deal of time, went home, wrote my Journal, looked over my Greek lesson and attended a recitation to Dr. Popkin as usual. The remaining hour until Prayers was devoted to chalking the right oblique step on my floor at Willard’s and that of Lothrop’s at Porter’s. This is the worst duty of the whole and happy am I that it is all performed. We have now only the manual2 which is the tedious part of our labour, and which calls us out so often.
After Prayers, they received a drill and performed very well; indeed, for new recruits I have seldom seen so much advancement. Silsbee came up to see them, while he was there I was peculiarly anxious that they should do well and was very well satisfied at the result. I gave them some exercise. I went immediately home and read over my lesson before attending a meeting of the Officers which was called at nine o’clock. We went to learn the manoeuvring and had a lesson set to us to read over and understand by eleven o’clock tomorrow morning when we were appointed to meet again. I then went with Rundlet to Mr. Willard’s for some strawberries, he having none we eat some cake and took some wine. Chapman and Lothrop came in and we staid here talking and laughing until late, the party then came to my room, which they soon left and I retired. XI:30.
1. Missing.
2. The Harvard Washington Corps followed “Scott’s drill manual,” as they called the standard War Department Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise and Manoeuvres of Infantry, which had been prepared by a board of officers headed by Major-General Winfield S. Scott and published in New York in 1815.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0008-0002

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-07-02

Friday. July 2d. VII:30.

I had intended to have gone to recitation but my rest this night was disturbed by horrible dreams and I awoke this morning with a { 218 } bad head ach. I could have done nothing all day, had I gone, for until half past five I had no refreshing sleep whatever. My dreams arising from indigestion were horrible. Such being my feelings in the morning I attended the drill of my section without pleasure and heard Mr. Channing’s lecture this morning without attention. I merely heard him say that there was one peculiarity which distinguished pulpit eloquence which was that no manifestation of pleasure or satisfaction was allowed in the course of an exercise. He then gave a sketch of the history of preaching. After the first preacher it used to be the custom when any sentiment pleased the audience to acknowledge it by loud acclamations and clapping of hands. It had been usual among the earlier divines to address the congregation more familiarly and to receive nods from individuals when they understood the doctrine inculcated; to this he attributes this habit which existed until almost a century ago when it was preached down. He then closed what he had to say with some observations on the popularity of this sort of eloquence. Only very great orators attracted crowds at the bar or in the hall of legislation, but this was always attended and always pleasant. Even the theatre, he said, a place devoted to pleasure, and an amusement which can certainly be obtained at a cheap rate, this was not filled uniformly. This was all which I heard in the gentleman’s closing lecture on sacred oratory. I then went to this meeting of the Company Officers and argued away concerning the propriety of this and that until almost dinner time. We performed every thing which we had been directed to very shortly and the Captain determined we should not do any more until he had learnt the words of command when he could call us together and direct us to proceed regularly in these manoeuvres which he had selected for the year. Thus we adjourned again sine die much to my satisfaction as I doubt not we should have wasted an amazing deal of time, spent some money, and not have done any more than we shall by the present agreement.
After dinner, I attended Declamation. Howard delivered Patrick Henry’s speech, but he could not give the proper force to it. He speaks only pretty well. Dwight delivered Lord Chesterfield’s speech on the Theatre bill. He selects good speeches but not striking ones. Miller delivered one which excited the risible faculties of all [the] College as it was a piece of a man defending himself from murder. The commencement of his piece concerning his own character was so applicable that it struck every one. We were detained very late so that I was obliged to go up immediately to Mr. Nuttall and heard him discuss the nature of the four next classes. I returned home and tried to do { 219 } something but I was exceedingly sleepy and my head ach was still upon me so that I went to sleep and was not roused until Prayers, having had a most refreshing nap. After this exercise I drilled my squad for the last time in the Evening in a room. They did not do as well as I wished them to. Indeed now I am considerably provoked with the section. I then came home again and read my lesson over before attending a meeting of the Knights which was called at eight o’clock.
The Meeting was full this Evening as it was the last time the Seniors were present and we were to proceed to the Election of Officers for the next year and I am forthwith to enjoy in this Club Otium cum dignitate. We proceeded to a choice of them immediately. Cunningham was chosen Grand Master in the place of Barnwell, Crowninshield,1 Deputy Grand Master in the place of Miller, Dwight Secretary succeeding Rundlet, and Perkins2 succeeding to my honour. I was perfectly satisfied with this result, it evidently showed the party feeling which existed in the club as every man elected was a Northerner. We spent the evening very pleasantly indeed. I was diverted with Lowndes3 and Tudor who enjoyed the corner much. Every body appeared in better humour than usual. I staid here at my old room, which was much worse in appearance this evening than it ever was in my hands, until after eleven, when a parcel of us went out and took a walk. Brigham,4 who was with us, being in high humour, sung two or three songs in his best style. After which we returned and went to bed well content. XI:30.
1. Benjamin Varnum Crowninshield, of Salem, a freshman (Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).
2. William Powell Perkins, of Boston, another freshman (same).
3. Thomas Lowndes, of Charleston, S.C., a senior (same).
4. Benjamin Brigham, of Boston, a junior (same).
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/