Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

100 Monday. 27th. CFA Monday. 27th. CFA
Monday. 27th.

Morning clear but it clouded afterwards and rained steadily in the evening. Day divided into study and supervision of the work upon my ground.

Finished Locke’s Tract upon Education. A strong, sensibly written Essay full of truth of a practical kind. I think he underrates the value of the exercise of the memory as well as of the study of the Classics. In all other respects I think him correct, and feel glad I have read him. Also Lessing in continuation p. 235–275. A person who should devote himself to criticism would find great advantage in studying him. I think I could succeed in the business if I was to try, but my studies have not laid that way.

Afternoon Lucretius finishing the first book. The text must be much injured as well by conjectural emendation as I think, as by time. I also read a few letters of Bayle, one of the earliest of the modern school of critics, and Grimm who is acute as any of them. Germany seems to produce this article in perfection. At the Mansion in the evening. My Wife was quite unwell all day.

Tuesday 28th. CFA Tuesday 28th. CFA
Tuesday 28th.

Morning clear and warm. In town. Afternoon devoted to reading and evening at the Mansion where the De Wint family had been dining.

I have no very good account to give of my morning time, wasted between the house and Office. Afternoon Lucretius 2d book, 150 lines, and a little of Bayle whose letters gain in interest as they come to relate to the compilation of his great dictionary. Mr. and Mrs. DeWint, their daughter Julia, and several others were at my father’s in the evening. No news.

Wednesday 29th. CFA Wednesday 29th. CFA
Wednesday 29th.

Clear and cool. I work about an hour upon my trees for the sake of exercise during the cool weather, then read until dinner time. Afternoon reading also until tea and Evening at the other house. P. C. Brooks Jr. here in the evening and spent the night.

Began to read Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding to p. 40. A book I know more of by what I have seen in others than in itself. The first proposition that there are no innate principles is the pulling 101 image away to make room for the edifice. I assent to the force of the reasoning with doubt and mistrust, and desire to examine more fully.

Continued Lessing 275–336. Also Lucretius 151 to 303rd line of 2d book. A very difficult portion of the text. But great poetical energy. Mrs. DeWint and her family called in the afternoon and we saw them again in the evening.