Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday October 2d. VII:30.

Monday. October 4th. VI.

Sunday. October 3d. VIII. CFA


Sunday. October 3d. VIII. CFA
Sunday. October 3d. VIII.

Missed Prayers this morning and arose late to breakfast, after which I sat down and wrote my Journal, which, with some time taken up at Otis’s room, passed off very nearly all the morning. I attended Chapel and heard the President, and only heard him, for I sunk into my usual apathy and was conscious of nothing passing before me. This is the most singular state in the world, and I believe if I am ever entirely devoid of thought, it is then. My mind appears to be in a state of inattention, and although sometimes it wanders off to distant scenes, it is more than half the time in a state of sleepiness which is vacancy. I think the greatest metaphysical truth that I have seen is that when the mind does not think, it goes to sleep.

Returning, I wrote more of my Journal but I spent the whole of the afternoon in Richardson’s room conversing with him upon political subjects. What was the inducement I cannot tell but it prevailed. I talked about the political struggle which is now so soon to come on and stated my opinion prudently and at the same time decidedly. I am afraid, I shall have a pretty hard course of conduct to pursue here among the students at the time of the heat. It is a terrible situation. A man’s father to be thus buffeted and exposed to all the falsehoods, misrepresentations and slanders which scoundrels please to make. I am sick of political life but I see no other course to take, to be a private man would injure me as something is expected and to be any thing except a lawyer or a political man is not my turn of mind.

In the afternoon Dr. Ware talked to us of Moses, not much to my edification. Why do I hate that man? In the Evening, I first took a walk, returned home, wrote my Journal to the end, then went to 354Richardson’s where I found Rundlet, Fay, and Brenan came in soon after.1 The second is now in fear of a dismission and appears much troubled.2 I heard some news today that we were going to have Mr. Ticknor’s lectures in future, in the evening, added to all our other duties.3 If true, half the benefit which I expected to derive from my last year here will be lost, and upon this idea, I retired with melancholy reflections. XI.


Thus punctuated in MS.


Richard Sullivan Fay’s fears were unfounded; he graduated with his class in 1825.


George Ticknor’s lectures on French literature, which CFA summarizes in the following pages, were an outgrowth of his studies abroad. With Edward Everett he attended the University of Göttingen in 1815–1817, and he later studied also in France, Spain, and Italy. For an account of Ticknor as student and as teacher, see Long, Literary Pioneers: Early American Explorers of European Culture.