The rain fell heavily almost all day with a cold north east wind. I remained quietly at home, and thinking I could employ my time to a 365useful purpose, I began again upon my last year’s design, assorting my Grandmother’s papers. Selected my father’s correspondence in order to get that put into a more durable shape. By reading the Letters I get into the whole of the History of the family far more thoroughly than I could do by any other means, and after all, this is knowledge which may become the most essential of all. But besides the information, the Letters are themselves remarkable both in the peculiar style of the writer and in the developement of the feelings which were operating. I continued the work all day with the exception of an hour of Ovid. Evening, we played a game of Whist in the family.
A North Easterly mist still so that I thought I would remain at home. My father nevertheless went in the Stage to an Overseers Meeting of Harvard University. I continued my labour of assorting Letters assiduously and pursued the History very assiduously through the periods of 1794 to 1800, 1803 to 1812, and 1815 to 1817, all periods for the most part spent abroad, and all of them deeply affecting the general history of the world as well as the more particular career of the writer. I read these papers and unavoidably contrast my own situation with his. Mortifying enough. The world however is now a different one. The same regard is not now paid to education and all are more uniformly as well as superficially instructed, which breeds great self opinion. A much smaller disposition to concede superiority and a greater one to control it. After all the excuse is not satisfactory. Read a little of Ovid. Evening, a game of Whist.
Morning warm. I went to town. Morning consumed in making up the Arrears of my Diary and in arranging my Accounts. My frequent absences from town make my time when there more in request. I was also engaged in several Commissions for the family.
A residence at Quincy is vastly a more anxious one to me than one at Medford. The want of responsibility at the former place by which a great many things go on neglected or ill attended to, the desire to correct met by the difficulty of doing any thing that is not radical altogether make a very unpleasant state of feeling to me. Yet as an exercise of the intellect Quincy has corresponding advantages. My father’s society is worth that of a hundred common minds.366
Back to dinner. Afternoon, continuing the Letters of which I have collected all immediately within reach. Read also a little of Ovid. Evening, Whist.