I had intended to go to town today but it was a cold day with an Easterly wind and
heavy rain. The consequence was that I remained very quietly at home pursuing my regular
and usual occupation.
Read over a large file of my Grandmother’s letters which I discovered today. She has
more of grief than of Joy in her correspondence, and yet she was a cheerful woman.
But one remarkable feature in her grief is to be found in the occasions of it. I do
not know whether vices are hereditary in families, but it would almost seem so from
the number of examples which one meets with. The Smith blood seems to have had the
scourge of intemperance dreadfully applied to it. Yet the first example of the race
whom I know of, was an exemplary clergyman. A Son, Grandchildren in two branches,
and great grandchildren have defied all the efforts of the most careful education.1
Here have been the causes of the bitterest sorrows of our family. Public misfortune
and pecuniary losses have been nothing to the wearing sorrow occasioned by deep mortification
from personal misconduct. My father was telling me of the family of the Warrens of
Plymouth, and we have before us the case of the Everetts. It is not without cause
that every member of such families should feel in constant alarm lest an unwary moment
plunge him into the vortex which he sees so ready to engulph all about him. This is
not out of my mind.
The family here is now quite large. John was not well all day and appeared to be suffering
from the weather. I felt cold but otherwise in unusual health. Evening, reading Humphry
Clinker to the ladies. It is not without occasional embarrassment, for the style of
writing in that day was a little of the coarsest.