Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Tuesday. 11th.

Thursday 13th.

Wednesday. 12th. CFA


Wednesday. 12th. CFA
Wednesday. 12th.

I was up very early this morning and off for Boston before breakfast, which I reached at seven o’clock and went to breakfast with Mr. Frothingham. He shewed me the news from Europe by the last arrival which gives something of the effect attending our great step here though only the first part. The report is that the three American Houses of Wildes, Wiggin and Wilson have stopped.1 This has been expected for several months. I had no time to dwell but went to my Office where I was called for to go to Cambridge. Nobody with me again but Judge Merrill. We arrived again before any body was ready to receive us and waited for Professor Felton who soon after appeared and introduced us into his recitation room where the Sophomore class soon after appeared.

The examination was in one play of Euripides, Alcestis which was given to the lowest section. Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles to the second section, and the Oedipus coloneus, and Antigone for the best. I was not familiar with either of the plays and somewhat mistrusted my capacity for judging recitations of them, but found no difficulty excepting in the Antigone which is difficult of hard construction. The recitations generally were not nearly so good as those made on Monday. They showed less familiarity with the language and far less with the subjects treated, and I thought the professor although far better in external manner was more in the fashion of Apathy which distinguishes every thing at Cambridge.2 The class was large and the examination took three hours and a half. We dined as usual, our company 278consisting of Professor Longfellow, a very young looking man, and Dr. Adams who is, it seems, President of a College in South Carolina.

Returned to town by three and after an hour in Accounts at the Office, home to Quincy, thus finishing three days of examinations which terminate the year. I had a little time left which I spent at my House, where they are going on pretty fast. Evening quiet at home. Mr. Beale and his youngest daughter came in.


Successive dispatches from London brought word that three American banking houses there—George Wilde & Co., Thomas Wilson & Co., and Timothy Wiggin & Co.—had stopped payment, that the magnitude of the outstanding and unpaid accounts was causing distress among manufacturers, and that two of them, Bell & Grant and Gowan & Marx, had failed (Daily Advertiser, 12 July, p. 2, col. 1; 15 July, p. 2, cols. 4 and 5).


Professor Cornelius C. Felton later became president of Harvard.