Another Year is now gone and upon Recollection, I find I have executed none of my Plans of study. I cannot Satisfy my self that I am much more knowing either from Books, or Men, from this Chamber, or the World, than I was at least a Year ago, when I wrote the foregoing Letter to Sewal.2 Most of my Time has been spent in Rambling and Dissipation. Riding, and Walking, Smoking Pipes and Spending Evenings, consume a vast Proportion of my Time, and the Cares and Anxieties of Business, damp my Ardor and scatter my attention. But I must stay more at home—and commit more to Writing. A Pen is certainly an excellent Instrument, to fix a Mans Attention and to inflame his Ambition. I am therefore beginning a new literary Year, with the 26th. of my life.3
This and the following two entries, all of them bearing the same date, are inserted here from D/JA/4, the journal of studies that JA projected in Oct. 1759 (see entries there) but proceeded to neglect for over a year.
Draft at the beginning of D/JA/4 (p. 123–124, above).
An approximation. JA’s 26th birthday fell on 19 Oct. 1760 according to the Old Style calendar; on 30 Oct. according to the New Style.