Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Tuesday. August 24th. IX.

Thursday. August 26th. VIII.

Wednesday. August 25th. VIII. CFA


Wednesday. August 25th. VIII. CFA
Wednesday. August 25th. VIII.

Arose and walked out immediately to the Athenaeum. The village was becoming very much crowded as it was the all important Commencement day. I remained here until I thought every body whom I knew had got into the Chapel. There is in me an invincible reluctance to accompany any of my Quincy acquaintance to a public place, as I not only dislike the trouble, but they cling so together and in the flock something “outré” is always to be feared. I also wish to discourage the plan of coming to Cambridge as it is not pleasant to me. I myself went out in front of the piazza of the University and waited there while the procession was forming and for La Fayette to arrive. He did at last among the acclamations of the multitude. He got out and was received by the President with an address which he answered. The crowd was very great. He appears to be younger than he really is, about sixty when he is sixty five.1 He is not a handsome man and never was, he has a pleasant eye and agreable expression in his countenance, with a very winning manner which has taken every where. The enthusiasm of the people with respect to him is astonishing, he was almost prevented from moving yesterday and today there was nothing but a sea of heads to be seen. It was rather affecting as it moves the very noblest feelings in the human heart. The services, the age and the patriotism of this man receive no more than their due reward. They, after this ceremony, all walked into the Meeting House where the Exercises were performed. The house was so exceedingly crowded that it was impossible to get in and after one trial I gave up all idea of it. I therefore amused myself going round the Common observing the display of the passions of men. It was a singular scene and for a quantity of rogues, 301knaves and whores matched almost any in the world. Most deficient however in the last mentioned article. I spent much of the day thus but after the parts were over, which I understood were exceedingly fine, I dined and then went to Whitney’s to see Abby and Elizabeth and carry them to town if it was necessary, but it was not. George then made an agreement to come at seven to go to town and go through the ceremony of inviting La Fayette to Quincy, but no George came and I spent the evening at Richardson’s. XI.


Actually Lafayette was 67.