Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Thursday September 9th. VIII:35.

Saturday. September 11th. IX.

Friday. September 10th. IX. CFA


Friday. September 10th. IX. CFA
Friday. September 10th. IX.

Arose and after breakfasting, I read the paper and wrote my Journal, matters of not very great consequence at present. I spent the greater part of the day in the company of my mother, it is so exceedingly attractive that perhaps my duty gives way to it. As my duty at present however is not of any very exceeding importance, my mind is at ease. I have lately come to one determination, after thinking a good deal upon the subject, and that is, if any reasonable subject is given out, to write for the Bowdoin prize even if I should not send it up, and this I make my record.1 All the reading part of the day, I spent in going attentively over Junius as a first perusal. The more I read, the more I admire the style and the more I become impressed with a feeling of the necessity of a forcible one. I will do nothing else while I remain in College but pay attention to it, practically, as well as theoretically and I think a year is but small allowance. I shall be obliged to exercise myself considerably in writing of different sorts and, as there are so many opportunities for writing, I think I shall devote my time most usefully and most economically. I wish I had the power of Junius although it is rather a dangerous one to one’s self. He irritated his enemies to madness almost.


I had much conversation with my mother about their plans which appear to be, simply, to come and reside here and live in simple, unoffending style. I shall trouble my head no more about it. As George had given me a little piece of business to transact, I took advantage of the return of the carriage from taking my father to General Sumner’s.2 I did not collect the note as the person was gone. I returned cursing the trouble. My mother went to town this Evening to remain until tomorrow. I this Evening studied a large part of the drill of the Light Infantry for the campaign next term. The next part of the evening in conversing with Mrs. Clark on indifferent subjects, principally on some observations of Mrs. TBA’s. I then went down stairs and talked with Uncle some time on the state of my father’s landed property, a subject on which he is ever doleful. My Father having directed me to sit up for him expressly, I was obliged to remain up and amused myself with reading Junius. He arrived at last, which dismissed me. XII.


The subjects for the annual Bowdoin prize dissertation competition were: (1) the importance of the study of the learned languages as a branch of education; (2) the antiquity, extent, cultivation, and present state of China. First prize was a gold medal and forty dollars; two second prizes consisted of twenty dollars worth of books. There is no record among CFA’s papers that he entered the contest. Only two prizes are recorded in the Faculty Records, and they went to Edward B. Emerson and Jason Whitman, a junior.


William H. Sumner, of Boston, a brigadier general in the Massachusetts militia and a principal developer of East Boston ( Mass. Register, 1824, p. 106).