Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Monday July. 5th. V:45.

Wednesday. July 7th. VI.

Tuesday. July. 6th. VIII. CFA


Tuesday. July. 6th. VIII. CFA
Tuesday. July. 6th. VIII.

Arose considerably but not entirely refreshed from the dreadful fatigue of yesterday. I have seldom felt more overcome than I did on that day. My feelings having been acted upon in a variety of ways, affected my body almost as much as the exercise which was not inconsiderable. After having taken breakfast I sat in the parlour a little while but found nothing amusing. The girls never become in the least pleasant until the afternoon, and as to the old lady, she never is, to me at least. So that on the whole I thought it advisable to retire, and have no more to say to them. I sat with George half an hour but we could gain nothing from this as I presume he was afraid to talk of his prevailing idea as he knows my character, and I did not feel inclined to hurt his feelings, besides keeping my determination. There was a sort of half stiffness on both sides which we could not get over and which I at last did not attempt. Our conversation was principally concerning the dinner and toasts of yesterday.

As the day threatened rain, I found nothing to keep me here and consequently set off for home and old Cambridge again. I carried George two miles as far as Neponset Hotel as he wished to take a ride and stopped with him a little while at this house. I am glad that I 225came out as my absence would have excited observation. I did not think men were so critical. The absence of all the Quincy family was particularly noticed and George appears to think that he is jealous, I mean the young man,1 for I have always believed my father’s superiority over the old man has been a source of bitterness always to them. They are not a family of talent and have resorted to a mean attempt to raise themselves on the misfortunes of one of our family.2 When my father is not here, he3 is a great man and by his manner excites one to wish him kicked downstairs. I despise a little great man, and I do think Mr. Judge Mayor Quincy has as much right to that title as any man I have ever seen. None of his4 class were there either. George at College did not take the course to make true friends, he did not calculate upon the men but consulted his feelings and taste. Not that I praise his taste, but let every man have his way in this. I hope I have made a better solution, certainly a more respectable one here.

But all these reflections have nothing to do with the principal matter. I thought over this quickly as he was talking of it, and speaking of Quincy, whom he appears to take in the light of a rival. I was in a hurry and therefore left him without much preface. I rode home without stopping and got to Cambridge at about twelve having missed two recitations. The town felt all new to me as if I had been absent for some time and my acquaintance all shook my hand so that really, I began to think a week had passed since I had seen them. From the excitement of yesterday I felt dull also today. Every thing appeared so settled and quiet when I had seen so much bustle that I was unable to do anything. I read my Bible which was somewhat behind hand and wrote one day of my Journal. I also attended a lesson to Mr. Farrar in Trigonometry. He has got quite tired of hearing us in private class and wishes us to catch up again with the class so as to recite with them, a measure which I do not much care about taking.

I spent the afternoon in a listless uncomfortable sort of a way without much purpose. It is the most uncomfortable feeling under Heaven to suffer under. No letters too from home which always makes me feel lonely. After tea, I squadded my section upon the Common for the first time. They did exceedingly well and I received much credit for my trouble. The fact is that the other Officers have been in the habit of keeping their sections on the run all the time, they have given them variety but no principles and consequently they go too fast through all their manoeuvres. I afterwards stopped and talked with Silsbee &c. in front of Hollis5 concerning this company, received some advice from him as to the management of it and then came 226home. I then sat to, to read over both the lessons for tomorrow morning as I am now determined to be regular at recitations for the next weeks. They were easy so I was not occupied very long. I then read my Chapters as usual. Regularity gives me great satisfaction but notwithstanding I have very little of it. One week more frees me from my promise and I have to commence a branch of study which as it directly affects my future means of life, it is my duty, my interest, every thing which can call upon a man in life, to study it. My resolution may be broken but I hope not. I can do no more. If I am weak it is only my misery to be conscious of it. I ought to be more independent. X:20.


Josiah Quincy (1802–1882).


Presumably TBA.


Josiah Quincy (1772–1864), “the old man” alluded to above.




Hollis Hall.