Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. May. 8th. VII:30.

Monday. May. 10th. V:15.

Sunday. May. 9th. VII:20. CFA


Sunday. May. 9th. VII:20. CFA
Sunday. May. 9th. VII:20.

Arose very late this morning after having missed Prayers. The late hour at which I retired last night and the only time we have for indulgence had their effect in detaining me. This circumstance however put me woefully back in my day’s business. My Journal not being finished until it was time to attend Chapel. Indeed I find that the duties I have set upon myself too difficult as they give me not a moment of leisure time during the day. Unavoidable circumstances and occurrences delay my progress and make me unsatisfied with myself. Indeed this accumulation of duties has happened by accident as I commenced two long works before I received this Journal1 for which I had made no allowance. Things being so however I shall persevere, as but little more is left. I can not bear to give way in a plan as it diminishes my self esteem and injures future resolutions. The precedent is the thing to be feared and not the step.

I concluded the poem of Liberty and with a few other small poems, 127finished the Sixth Volume of the Poets. Whatever I may intend to read over, certainly this is not one as I imagine there is not enough temptation. Of his small poems I noticed some very remarkable. “Les Femmes Savantes” came to my assistance and amused me very much. A severe caricature upon the Blue stockings but perhaps not altogether so incorrect as might be supposed. A learned lady is a suspicious personage for it naturally makes a person suppose that wanting the employment which is the lot of the sex in general, she is obliged to resort to books as a relief from ennui. This is all well enough if no noise be made about it. Pity, respect and esteem, would arise in case such a matter were but suspected and one had no room to go further. They are a talking set though and cannot conceal the pride of superiority in any respect.

I attended Chapel and heard Dr. Ware in the morning and Mr. Colman2 in the afternoon. The former was uncommonly long this morning, creating a smile throughout the Student seats upon his sixthly and lastly. This is not the fault of the old gentleman generally however. The latter person preaches here but seldom and is generally considered fearfully having dosed us at times. He was short however today, and although I did not think his Sermon extraordinary, I was quite pleased with the variety of his imagery and the strength of his expression. The seats are no places however to attend to a Preacher with Patience. I sometimes think it would be the worst penance a Student could be put to, if he were set there for any length of time. An anthem was sung but not very much to my taste as it appears to me that they howl more than formerly, having lost the good way of singing, they formerly possessed. I came away rejoiced as probably it is the last Sunday, I attend this Term.

I could not touch Mosheim until late in the Evening owing partly to my being obliged to answer the letter received yesterday from John which took some time; as he writes full letters I consider myself compelled to answer in the same style whether I possess material or not.3 I principally amused him today with an account of the late expulsion. The other cause which detained me was a visit from Tudor and Richardson in the Evening. I must confess that finding myself so much interrupted by the visits and parties of the Students, I have been seriously considering the expediency of obtaining some other room next year. Were it not that it would be inconvenient to me on account of my books, the great superiority of accommodations, I think I should be decided in favour of this step. Whatever the pleasure may be, I am conscious of a higher end in coming here than amusement. My temper 128is naturally jovial and is liable therefore to be exposed to temptations which would make me extravagant and dissipated. My conversation with Richardson was not of a nature to soften these feelings in the least. He is the most irritating young man in his manners that I ever met with and that so unconsciously that one becomes the more provoked because he can blame him less. A perfect facheux with as good a disposition as I have seen. Weak however as possible he seldom knows when he is straining most the feelings of his companions. He bears me astonishingly. I am conscious of my arrogance towards him and wish I could correct him or me, but it is no affair of mine and talking with him always makes me feel humbled.

They stayed until eight o’clock so that I could read but fifty pages of Mosheim this day. The Catholic religion gained ground in this Century by a reaction and many princes were reconverted perhaps more from policy than belief. These princes also commenced their system of persecution. The Moors, the Huguenots and the Germans suffered from the effects of this bigotry which returned upon themselves with tenfold injury. Spain has never recovered the step taken at that time for the industrious portion of the people were expelled. The power of the popes and their direction of temporal affairs was no longer tolerated, it became what was first intended, merely acting over spiritual matters and even those in a moderate degree. They could no more pretend to the supreme dominion over the world.

Having copied an extract into my Common Place Book, I went up and spent some time at Wheatland’s room, all the Lyceum were collected there. Payne and Lunt,4 Seniors, and Day a Yale Student5 were also there. After being amused at some stories some of which were excessively blasphemous I came away. I was rather ashamed so having read Enfield, retired. X:15.


See entry for 3 May, above.


Henry Colman, the Congregational minister in Salem ( Mass. Register, 1825, p. 86).


Both letters are missing.


William Edward Payne, of Boston, and George Lunt, of Newburyport ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).


Edgar Burr Day, Yale 1824 (Dexter, Yale Graduates Later than 1815 ).