Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Wednesday. August 11th. VI.

Friday. August 13th. VI:10.

Thursday. August 12th. VI. CFA


Thursday. August 12th. VI. CFA
Thursday. August 12th. VI.

Attended Prayers and recitation in Topography. This is the commencement of the easy part of this term. But little more to do except these miserable lessons in Topography which I do not understand, and which consequently require but little study. After breakfast, I wrote my Journal up by a strong effort upon myself. I overcalculated my strength of mind and perseverance when I commenced this book. And indeed I have not exactly pursued the primitive intention, as I first wished to write whatever I thought in my book, and not have any precise points to arrive at in writing. As I read so little at this season, I can make no observations upon that subject, and I am not thrown sufficiently often into new company to be frequent in characters. My observations are principally drawn from myself. I finished my Journal and then went to the Reading room where I sat until dinner time reading a little Novel called Highways and Byways,1 in other words a collection of stories. I do not like the style and think the incident simple and hardly worth relating. This I have just found is quite a pleasant place to sit and read.

Cunningham came up and told me good news. Professor Everett has sent us an invitation to his house for Exhibition day. By us, I mean the College Company. We had been debating for a long while what 286we should do with ourselves with the present restrictions2 but now our trouble we find was unnecessary. The other division read Forensics this morning; After dinner, I drove the Captain to the Encampment of the Fusileers at Watertown in the new Chaise. I have seen this Howe3 before. His company being at Quincy last year. He is a rough unpolished man who wished to be exceedingly polite to us but could not succeed. He has not been in the habit of being in good society and, although I have no doubt he means well, I doubt exceedingly his power to please. We came up principally to give the Excuses of the Officers and to make arrangements with one of the band for our music next Thursday. We engaged eleven men being one more than we were allowed by the Government in the last regulations which were issued. This is an advantage which the students invariably take and the Government are most angry with.

We were glad to get rid of his formality and preciseness and hastened on to Boston over the Western Avenue meeting quantities of company going out there to visit them. Arrived in town, my first object was to go and see my cap, which is almost ready. I met Robinson in the street and found that George, whom I had come in to see, had not got back from Sandwich. I nevertheless went to the house but I found no individual here. I spent almost half an hour in his room doing nothing in particular, then sprung up, walked back to the Marlborough, met Cunningham and returned to Cambridge in time for Prayers.

After Prayers, we had a drill. The company generally did very well, my own part of it did not perform quite as well as common because my guide was absent and his substitute was not worth much, although he tried his best. I am afraid we shall not go through all the manoeuvres perfectly on Exhibition day. Cunningham has not been through one night yet without giving incorrect orders and we have but two more drills at farthest. The assessment was declared and appeared to excite some little murmur.4 After drill, The Officers had a Meeting and discussed the remainder of their business. We argued over the old questions of yesterday and decided differently on some points. The laws of the Government appear to trouble us most in two points, a return to Prayers and our Music. Of the former we have thought and thought but it is impossible to avoid it so that we shall attend and appear afterwards. The latter we have avoided by getting one piece of music written and making one play two pieces which will be almost as many as we generally have had. Some conversation concerning our arrangements to return the invitation of the Officers, and as usual a great variety of opinions upon the subject. There is sometimes a little warm 287squabbling between our Officers and one contemptible man has often shown himself deficient as a gentleman. Indeed I do think Otis is contemptible, he has shown a small spirit, for his honour in debts is not, and he suffers himself to be mortified by refusals at the different places in turn, without doing any thing whatever to reclaim his character or to resent the insult. He suffers himself to be trifled with by stable keepers most ridiculously and as the invariable consequence he lives his character in College. Adjourned, I went home and went directly to bed. XI.


Thomas Colley Grattan, Highways and Byways, London, 1823.


See entry for 17 June, above, for the new college rules governing the marching company on exhibition days.


Joseph N. Howe Jr., one of the captains of the Fusileers ( Mass. Register, 1824, p. 123).


The annual assessment for members of the marching corps was five or six dollars (Batchelder, Bits of Harvard History , p. 69).