Tuesday, 11 November, 1828

To avoid every difficulty in the course of life that may depend on our own discretion, is the duty and should be the object of all. But it is probably that all will experience more or less. That individual who encounters them with the most composure approaches the most near of shunning them altogether. It is of importance that we study to not suffer ourselves to be too much irritated and vexed and show a morose or a melancholy temper when unfavorable occurrences oppose our wishes. It is probably unfortunate for me that I have not sufficiently attended to this myself. Looking back a few years, I see sufficient to convince me that I am not one of those happy beings that meet reverses with the same unmoved composure that should characterize every man. There are indeed but few moments that my mind is at ease, yet to all who see me, I wear the smile of contentment. Here you inquire the cause of this phenomena, and say why is it so? From what contagious damps are these disquietudes exhaled that continually agitate your mind? Are they the fruits of desire, confined within proper limits? And in conformity to the circumstances that surround you? It would afford me much consolation could I answer the above interrogations in the affirmative. But instead of this pleasure, I am forced, like too many others, to say that my ideas rove far beyond what circumstances allow me to hope with any probability of accomplishing. And all these insurmountable barriers arise from not acting agreeable to the dictates of preceding experience, from disregarding the woeful admonitions of that best of all monitors, experience, which has taught you and me and all others, that have seen the years of accountability, many a sad lesson and probably will continue to do so as long as we disregard his admonitions and examples. My mind is too full of such times and places.