Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Wednesday. May. 12th. V:25.

Friday May. 14th. VII:40.

Thursday. May 13th. V:30. CFA


Thursday. May 13th. V:30. CFA
Thursday. May 13th. V:30.

Arose and studied my lesson, both before Prayers and in the Interval. Mr. Hayward would not call upon me however, much to my regret. I accomplished my theme this Morning on the subject of “Money answereth all things.” The discussion of it is very easy so that I was quite early in carrying mine up. Mr. Channing1 made but few remarks on my old one, he complains principally of my obscurity, which is owing to my indolence and disinclination to develop an idea. It is too much trouble and not much variety. I did nothing besides except read a paraphrase of the book of Job by Young2 and the two first parts of his Night Thoughts. Of the first production I thought but very little, the latter is a gloomy, wretched picture of life. It diffused its mournful strain over my feelings and made me melancholy indeed. The Wine which I had drunk last night had a great effect upon me today, causing some languor, this together with the weather had such effect upon me. At dinner I made a great exertion to obtain my usual spirits which succeeded at the time but only threw me into 136worse vapours in the afternoon. I took up Mosheim and closed the fifth volume before Prayers. I did not make many observations upon what I read as I have got displeased with the work. The author so evidently manifests his feelings and the translator in his notes sometimes shows a little malignity particularly to the Quakers. Whatever their tenets may be they are now a very regular and moral sect consequently no just cause of complaint can be given. The argument concerning their leader or founder has nothing to do with it’s present organization. Perhaps they are wrong in opposing a law firmly established but this should be treated in a way by which obstinacy, the great point in man’s weaknesses, is taken off. In short, the milk of human kindness is quite deficient in this Man. After some agitation I determined to attend the lesson in Tacitus, and was called upon second in a section which I had overlooked by some accident as it fell through between the lessons. I however got through with it, and reconciled myself without much difficulty to the idea of having recited for the last time in Latin at Harvard University. That this task which has been on me incessantly for nine years almost is now taken off and that in future my reading will be voluntary. There is something in this feeling certainly very comfortable for I am tired of working like a mill horse. After tea I read over my lesson and then took a considerable walk with Richardson. I had some conversation with him but it was of the provoking sort. Indeed now, there is not much which does not jar my nerves in him.

Thus the Evening went, and at nine o’clock, I attended a Meeting of the Lyceum Club at Sheafe’s. This is an Institution of our own, formed at the commencement of this term. Composed of the Members of the House,3 Otis, Richardson, Sheafe, Tudor, Wheatland and myself, together with Chapman, Dwight and Lothrop. Its purpose is entirely festive and consequently immediately upon organizing we went into Committee of the Whole which is the form, and sat down to Whist, at two Tables, Wheatland being out of the game. We had all of us been in terrible spirits during the day, Tudor was sick, Dwight was in bad temper so was Wheatland and so was I. Our different tempers were considerably developed in the course of the night. The great length of the term also had soured us much, so that I can easily account for the feelings of the company. The fact is that we were set in for a debauch and one long expected. After the first rubber had been played, the Champagne Wine which was the provision, was produced and one bottle placed before each man. It was unfortunate however that one table finished Whist so much before the other, as they soon 137became noisy and boisterous. Richardson also, acting under the influence of the wine lost all the good qualities he does possess and became to us, most disagreable. This noise on the one side and silence on the other, excited a spirit of discontent between the tables which was still more brought into action by a vote which we five, (inviting the President, Wheatland) carried against them concerning the breaking of the Glasses which we decided should be paid for by the breakers. I voted for this, because I thought it would be a guard upon some of the weak men in the society. This vote irritated Dwight to a high degree which increased by the liquor he had taken, he flew into a violent passion and refused to have any connection with us until we retracted. His obstinacy was astonishing and very unpleasant. At last after finding relief from his bursting feelings by tears by which he affected Richardson in the same way they came over and we formed a circle around the large table where we sung many songs, and finished the Wine. The rest of the scene was all riot, Sheafe employed two to hold him down. Tables, Chairs and some glasses were tumbled down. The excitement was general with the exception of Wheatland. Dwight made up his differences with the closest hugs. We then went to walk, and returned in a rolling walk. For myself I was sick before the close as this agitation affected me. Upon my return I found every body retiring so I went myself. Our friends all staid over here, Chapman sleeping with me. I morning.4


Edward Tyrrel Channing was Boylston professor of rhetoric and oratory from 1819 to 1851 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).


Edward Young (1683–1765).


Mrs. Saunders’ house, where most of the members roomed.


1:00 A.M.