Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

123 Wednesday 10th. CFA Wednesday 10th. CFA
Wednesday 10th.

Stormy day. Time passed at home.

My head was not in order today so that the prosecution of my work languished. Continued Locke vol. 2, p. 84–126, but with rather flagging attention. I admire however the vigor of his reasoning and only wish that I could adopt it in the arrangement of my thoughts.

Lucretius, finished book 5 and 100 lines in 6th. The ingenious mind of man makes causes where it does not find them. Compare the natural history of Lucretius with that of the present day.

Afternoon a little of Winkelman and Grimm. My only excursion today was to the houses at the foot of Penn’s hill1 with Deacon Spear. My head soon prompted my retirement.


The JA and JQA birthplaces.

Thursday 11th. CFA Thursday 11th. CFA
Thursday 11th.

Fine, clear, windy day. Morning passed in study. Afternoon and evening at the Mansion.

Continued Locke, b. 2, p. 126–3 185. Upon Maxims, identical propositions &ca. Very clear yet after all he admits a kind of intuition which hardly consists with the origin from sensation and reflection, which he ascribes to all our ideas. Lucretius 6th book, 100–326. He proceeds to account for thunder and other extraordinary natural appearances, which he does pretty ingeniously.

Dined at the Mansion, Mr. Page, the artist who is taking my father being there.1 Idled away an hour or two in desultory examination of the books in my grandfather’s library and on my return found A. H. Everett and William Foster who were taking tea at my father’s prior to the former’s delivering a Lecture before the Lyceum. I remained at the Mansion having heard it.


On the portrait of JQA by William Page and the circumstances surrounding the undertaking, see Oliver, Portraits of JQA and His Wife , p. 196–201, and below, entry for 16 November.

Friday. 12th. CFA Friday. 12th. CFA
Friday. 12th.

Clouds and rain in the latter part of the day. Morning to town. Afternoon spent in fishing. Evening at home.

My father accompanied me to town, and I was engaged the greater part of my time in the usual occupations. The news of the result of the 124late general election in Pennsylvania came in today and is hardly favorable to the Whigs. There seems to have been a revival of confidence in the democratic party since the resumption of specie payments which will perhaps extend this struggle for an indefinite period. For myself, I feel great indifference as to the matter, both parties being in my opinion wrongheaded and unprincipled. I have endeavoured to form my political judgments on what appeared to me solid foundations without reference to individual interests or predilections.

After dinner I made an attempt to catch some smelts successfully but was driven away by rain.