The morning promised a cold North easter and I went into town with a little drizzle in my face. My time was much taken up during the time I remained in matters of account. But at eleven o’clock I got into an Omnibus to go to Cambridge.
This was the day upon which the Anniversary of the founding of the 89University two Centuries ago was celebrated. The purpose was to be accomplished by an Address from the President Mr. Quincy in the Meeting House and a great public dinner of the Alumni. But in the course of getting up, it appeared to me there was a mixture of party feeling excessively repugnant to me upon such an occasion. The Committee which was chosen to make the arrangements at a meeting or meetings of the graduates of which I knew neither the time nor the nature, certainly seems to represent the highest toned federal Whiggism. Beginning in 1783 with Harrison Gray Otis then leaping over several classes and catching up with William Sullivan, the list bears the names of almost all the high toned and obnoxious politicians of the day.1 This is what by no means recommends the College and it’s Anniversary to my feelings and upon seeing the list I made up my mind to avoid the dinner part at least. I thought it however respectful to Mr. Quincy to go out and make my appearance as one of his listeners. The town was full of people gazing about. I went to the tent prepared for the dinner which was very neat indeed. They get up these things very well here. Then round the Colleges in which preparations were made for illumination, and to the Meeting house which was not overcrowded. I remained about three quarters of an hour while Mr. Quincy was speaking. His Address seemed to be historical and rather instructive though dry. It was not attractive enough to keep me who relish no such scenes so I walked back to Boston perfectly satisfied from all I saw that the University has entirely lost her hold upon the feeling of the State and is doing worse than nothing in the way to regain it. I am sorry not so much on my own account for little is there of gratification to me in her reminiscences but because my father and grandfather felt otherwise.
I reached town before two and Quincy before three. Afternoon, walk to Colburn’s ledge where they were hard at work. The Stone turns out very good. He had a block sixteen feet long which deserved to be called a post, for some public building but he was cutting it up. Home. Quiet evening.
JQA shared CFA’s views about the committee, saying that “a political party complexion has been given” to the anniversary celebration (Diary, 4 Sept.).