Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Monday 9th.

Wednesday 11th.

Tuesday 10th. CFA


Tuesday 10th. CFA
Tuesday 10th.

Arose this morning at an early hour, and dressed myself again in my travelling clothes. My preparations having all been made yesterday, I was very early. Monsieur sent for me after breakfast, and entered into conversation with me on the subject of my College studies. The President had written to him, and so favourably that I was quite well received. He still has a little too much penchant to my taking a high College rank for me while here to satisfy him. My feelings were considerably soothed, however, as I have been in the habit of thinking of him only as silently grieved at what he supposes my negligence. And so I shall consider him till I have an opportunity to show by my study and attention that he has entirely mistaken what I am. I mentioned to him my method of studying my College lessons, that I studied only those which I believed to benefit myself. That some branches I was unable and unwilling to study, mentioning particularly the deep parts of mathematics.

I rather think that he does not understand me and that he underrates me, although by this I do not mean to put myself very much up. To myself, I can speak with freedom, and as it is useless for me to try to persuade myself that I am destitute of abilities, so I have no desire to make them more than they really are. My conversation was of such a nature however as to make my spirits very light and buoyant all day. So that I was little affected by the Good bye ceremony. John had intended to go to Baltimore with me but changed his mind. His eyes however looked twice as small as usual, and Monsieur and Johnson looked as if they were sorry for my departure.


Off drove the stage and I bid Goodbye to all the scenes of Washington, perhaps for ever, who knows. Monsieur next winter may be driving about in the wind, scarcely knowing his future home. Massachusetts may be his station, in which case, I lose sight of Washington for years and perhaps for life. I may never see more that place in which I have spent the very happiest passages of my youthful years. In my mind the associations will ever be pleasant ones, for it appears more like the fairy land to me, or that region in which so many of our pleasant dreams are situated. I had a dream there, for it could have been nothing else, and such as it was, I never expect similar happiness again.1

But this is dreaming and although I thought of it in the coach, it all passed through my mind with such rapidity as soon to give place to other and more immediate images, for now I was forced to consider who were my fellow passengers. They were but three and two of these I shall have occasion to mention more than once. Their names I understood to be Shubrick2 and O’sullivan. The former is a Carolinian in the Navy who came to apply for a station, but in vain. He was a short, fat, figure, with a sort of snap me down face as if impatient of all reply, an under lip very much curled and little fiery twinkling eyes which gave him an expression of good nature as well as of decision. The other was a less pleasing and less striking figure, only having the instinctive features of the Irishman. We went for the most part in silence and dining at Merril’s on the road,3 we arrived at Baltimore at about seven o’clock, the rain pouring in torrents. After taking tea I went directly to bed.


A reference, again, to his youthful passion for his cousin, Mary C. Hellen.


Presumably Lt. Edward R. Shubrick, commissioned in 1813 and stationed at Philadelphia (Force, National Calendar, 1824, p. 138).


John A. Merrill ran a tavern at Waterloo, Md. (J. D. Warfield, The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland, Baltimore, 1905, p. 342).