Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Tuesday 16th. CFA Tuesday 16th. CFA
Tuesday 16th.

Clear day. Morning to town. Afternoon reading, evening at the Mansion.

My time in the City so much taken up by tenants and commissions of various sorts that I have had only opportunity to draw up the Ac-126counts of my father’s affairs without copying them off. Four tenants called to see me and all require repairs. This multiplies my work very much, and at this season of the year I commonly have enough.

Afternoon, out attending to the setting of two cherry trees and one oak within my inclosure, and an elm tree in the road. Mr. E. P. Greenleaf called with a present of some bushes and then accompanied me to the house below. It is a pity, he has not some occupation to cure him of his foibles.

Wednesday 17th. CFA Wednesday 17th. CFA
Wednesday 17th.

Fine day. Morning study excepting an hour in fishing. Afternoon, work on my ground. Evening, Lecture at the townhouse.

Locke, p. 240–282. Reason, Faith and Enthusiasm. He thinks of the syllogistic style of reasoning rather less than it appears to me to deserve. One proof of which to my mind is that men often reason so when they have never heard one defined in the schools. The mind of Locke appears to have been strictly philosophical and hence perhaps slightly rigid in it’s judgments.

Lucretius, 780–1084. I have rather hurried over this part of the book containing the account of the natural appearances and their causes very discreditable to the general theory as from the point of view we now regard it. The remainder of my day taken up in work.

Dined at the Mansion. The Lecture at the Lyceum hall was very fully attended. My father read a paper prepared by him as a biography of his father for Mr. Herring’s Portrait Gallery.1 Very good but rather long.

1.

That is, Longacre and Herring, National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans; see entry for 24 Dec. 1836, above. The lecture was reviewed favorably in the Quincy Patriot, 20 Oct., p. 3, col. 1.

Thursday 18th. CFA Thursday 18th. CFA
Thursday 18th.

Fine day. Morning partly in study and partly out. Afternoon short. Evening at the Mansion.

Finished Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding, a work from the study of which I think I have gained something. It has opened my mind to the whole field of mental philosophy, and exercised my faculties even where I have been slow to assent. Finished also Lucretius today, a poem full of knotty points but which has also a fine poetical vein running through it. Thus my Summer’s occupations are over, 127they do not include much, but what has been done has been better done than in any preceding Summer.

Besides completing the revision of the Copy of Journal of J. A. I have read Locke on Education and on the Understanding, Lessing’s Laocoon, Pliny and Lucretius besides some fruitless investigations for a project of an article since abandoned. To be sure the question occasionally arises cui bono? but I strive to think that this is impertinent, as my happiness is much advanced without considering what I cannot help. I attempt continually and even now work upon a series of papers upon the Carolina policy.

The rest of the day was devoted to superintending work upon trees and grounds. Evening at Mrs. Adams where the ladies had gone to tea.