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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0025

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-25

Saturday. September 25th. VI:15.

Arose and dressed myself quickly in order to get to Mr. Cruft’s in time to see my father and mother again before they went. We got there soon and breakfasted with them. The stage arrived earlier than was expected but we delayed them. Our leave was taken at last and I felt inclined to be sorry for a few moments and but a few. I think I am much happier when they are not here as they come now, for I am so anxious on account of my mother’s health and every thing is [so] out of order and regularity that I have but little comfort. This is the last time however that such a visit will be made. I received a letter from John1 at Mr. Cruft’s which confirmed me in my opinion on a certain subject, if I was in any degree doubtful before. After they had fairly started, I went to my brother’s room where I spent the morning, reading and talking with him. While here, I ran through a small publication lately made, called the Manuscript of Knickerbocker Jr., a close imitation of Irving and a total failure. I was very much disgusted. I arranged my accounts, received some money and talked politics with George until the Cambridge Stage came, and called me to the old town of towns which I return to with pleasure increased by the idea that I am on the last heat of the race.
I was employed part of the afternoon in again arranging my books which the late painting has very much disordered and then wrote my Journal which had fallen back two days as I had no opportunity of writing it yesterday. Sheafe arrived yesterday, Otis and Richardson were here early in the afternoon so that the whole future Lyceum had got here in excellent Season. It looks and feels small as we have been accustomed to think of six inmates to it. They came down and sat with me sometime except Sheafe, who had gone to town, and we talked on old matters. Moreover we all appeared exceedingly glad to get back again which is a sure sign that College is not such an unpleasant place { 335 } as it might be. I was at Otis’s part of the Evening and writing up my Journal in my own, making up my Index,2 taking up my Bible and finally reading Pope’s first Moral Essay on the characters of men, in this way resuming all my old associations and retiring content. XI.
1. Missing.
2. For a description of CFA’s “Index diary” (our D/CFA/1), see Introduction.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0026

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-26

Sunday. September 26th. VII:30.

Missed Prayers this Morning commencing the year in no better way than formerly. I met at breakfast with all the remaining members of our assembly. Chapman, Dwight and Cunningham all very well. After breakfast, I returned to my room and went through my business very fast indeed. I brought up my Index entirely which had been neglected much longer than I had any idea of. I also wrote my Journal previous to attending Chapel in the morning and hearing the President deliver a Sermon on the death of Mrs. Farrar, the wife of the Professor who died this vacation. I was looking nearly all the time at the Freshman Class which appeared to be exceedingly small. It does not fill the seats at all and is said to be the smallest class for at least ten years, which is something of a shock to the College government. They have not expected such a blow so soon.1
In the afternoon I went to Otis’s room and spent part of the day there, over a comfortable glass of wine. I employed myself also part of the day in writing a long letter to John2 in pretty severe terms, answering the two which I received last week from him. I am not inclined to indulge in sarcasm but I thought I was obliged to after such a singular evasion on his part of what certainly it was fair to ask. If he retorts snappishly, which is very probable, I shall say nothing more. I again attended Chapel and heard a Sermon from Dr. Ware most of which I attended to. It was an address to College and more particularly to the Freshman Class. It was sensible and affecting, much in it which made me think, Experience is a singular teacher and at Cambridge comes too late. The Freshmen all look like children and make me think of a parcel of babies still in leading strings. There is not a manly looking animal among them.
After tea I paid a visit to Fay and to Dwight, took a short walk, read Pope’s Second Epistle on the Characters of Women and a Tract of Dr. Johnson’s called the False Alarm—written to prevent the effects of the representations of Junius respecting the Middlesex Election. I did not think it very powerful. I spent an hour at Otis’s in company { 336 } with Rundlet and Fay, and closed the Evening by reading a number of the striking maxims of Rochefoucault.3 X.
1. For the size of the freshman class, see entry for 27 Aug., and note, above. The marked drop in enrollment was indeed a blow, for Harvard had just lost its annual state subsidy of $10,000, appropriated since 1814, and the legislature, influenced by a campaign among orthodox Calvinists against Harvard’s theological liberalism, had voted to charter Amherst College. See Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 218–220.
2. Missing.
3. A copy of François de la Rochefoucauld’s Maximes et réflexions morales, Amsterdam, 1780, is in the Stone Library. A Paris edition, published in 1777, bearing JA’s autograph, is among the President’s books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 140).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.