Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Thursday. May. 20th. VII:30.

Saturday. May 22d. VIII:30.

Friday. May. 21st. VIII:45. CFA


Friday. May. 21st. VIII:45. CFA
Friday. May. 21st. VIII:45.

Very late this Morning, Every body having done breakfast some time since. Although the weather in the morning was very disagreable, I determined to go to Cambridge and accordingly went, carrying Thomas in a Chaise. We went the longest road, through Dorchester, Roxbury and Brookline in order to show him the country. The weather cleared off and became fine. Arriving we went to my room and found it in great disorder, as they had just taken up the carpet and had carried away all the materials for making a good fire which as the wind had chilled us, we very much desired. College looks very barren indeed. No students to be seen, some of the dismissed Sophomores together with one or two others of the same class made up all. I walked all over Cambridge with Thomas, talking of the different places and showing him the professors houses. Met Morgan,1 who has come back here to enter the Sophomore Class after having belonged to the Senior and then came back last Summer to enter a Junior. I did not envy him at all as now the sooner out I say, the better.

Thus I spent the time until dinner time when we went to Willard’s2 and ate a good dinner in a very comfortable room which I had never seen before. Thomas is the most singular character I have yet met with and I can make less and less of him every day. A little while more being spent in my room we again sat forward for Quincy, I having obtained all the clothes I wished. We went to Boston over the Mill Dam3 and just cutting one corner of the city we rode back making the ride as long as possible by the turnings and variety of windings to different places.

At length we arrived and I finished the afternoon’s employment by reading four Satires of Young.4 I have got a prejudice against this author which will not allow me to give a fair criticism of his works. I therefore shall only say that he is in all things too elaborate for me. He stings too much as if he intended to sting at first with all the fury imaginable. My meaning is that he appears as if he was cool when he sat down to write violently. I have seen John do it and have disliked it in him. Mr. Edmund and Miss Susan Quincy5 stepped in for one 153minute and then departed, much to my joy. They are amazingly unpleasant people to me.

The evening was spent much in the usual way, except that I finished Mr. Cartwrights book to my Grandfather and read some of Mr. Quincy’s message6 which I thought was very bombastical—this is my own opinion however and much in opposition to that of the family. The ladies had been at Mr. Beal’s7 but returned early and we were all very much as usual. XI:35.


Possibly William H. Morgan, of New Orleans, who became a junior at Harvard next year, but never seems to have graduated ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1824).


Willard’s Tavern, in Harvard Square on the corner of what is now Dunster Street.


The Mill Dam or causeway, opened in 1821, ran along the line of the present Beacon Street from Charles Street to Sewall’s Point in Brookline. Fifty feet wide, one and a half miles long, and carrying a toll road, the Dam was to provide water power for mill sites. Yet, by enclosing (and creating) about six hundred acres of land, the Dam “was to change the shape of Boston more completely than any other single undertaking in its history.” See Whitehill, Boston: A Topographical History , p. 88, 90, 92–94, 141.


From Edward Young, “Seven Characteristical Satires,” in Aikin’s British Poets .


Edmund Quincy (1808–1877), the future abolitionist, was the son of Josiah Quincy (currently Mayor of Boston and later President of Harvard) and a freshman at Harvard. Eliza Susan Quincy (1798–1884), artist, diarist, and family annalist, was Edmund’s sister. See Adams Genealogy.


Josiah Quincy’s inaugural address to the City Council of Boston on entering his second term as mayor, 1 May. It was published in pamphlet form and was reprinted in Quincy’s Municipal History of the Town and City of Boston, Boston, 1852, p. 379–388.


The Beale family lived next door to the Old House, beyond the Adamses’ garden, on present Adams Street in Quincy.