The morning was very damp and wet. I had felt a slight twinge in the bowels upon getting up, so that I concluded not to go to town today. Instead, I remained at home and read Batteux upon Oratory. His instruction is excellent though most of it is taken from the old and 289standard sources which have been so often used as to become commonplace. Yet good writing and speaking are not to be met with every day. The reason is that the theory though ever so excellent is nothing gained towards perfection unless the practice is carried on simultaneously. And the true art is missed in three attempts out of four. My own experience trifling as it is, tells me what a different thing it is to read in the Closet, and to speak before a thousand.
The weather was dull and evidently affected the family in spite of themselves. The afternoon passed in reading Winthrop. I cannot help sometimes reflecting how much better I should be doing if I was at home, but every thing in this world cannot be as we wish. We were all confined to the House, excepting to ride. And the day was stupid.
Morning damp and stormy. This weather seems disposed to hold out a prodigious length of time. I rode to town with John Gorham who while he has been at Medford has had little to interest him in Country amusements. At the Office. Received a letter from my father with a power of Attorney to sign for the State Bank.1 Apparently John came to town yesterday so that I missed him completely. Mr. Degrand called with his State Bank paper and I signed it for my father and myself. It is for a Meeting to make the building more profitable. No prospect however of investing.
I spent a large portion of the morning in drawing up my last paper upon the Railway subject. The town meeting comes on Monday and I feel desirous of one more attempt beforehand. The rest of the time passed in reading Walpole. Returned to Medford and spent the Afternoon in reading Batteux very lazily so as hardly to reach the marrow.
The Evening was distinguished by a discussion with Mr. Frothingham which was too warm to be pleasant. His views and feelings are rather stiff on one side and mine are equally stiff on the other. Our principles political and moral are totally at variance and when any subject happens to come up not of an ordinary character it sets us against each other. He happened to indulge tonight in a sarcastic sneer according to his custom upon the character of our ancient puritans which I with my feelings could not stand. So we had a sharp bout of it. After which I read Winthrops Journal and became more and more convinced of the correctness of my ground. But such arguments are useless, perhaps worse.