Friday, February 1 1760

…In the evening my wife went down to Mrs Atkinson’s to drink tea, and about 8:05 I went down. We stayed and supped on some roast chicken, a cold ham, a hot boiled green tongue, a boiled leg of mutton, fried chaps, tarts, cold fine baked puddings etc., in company with Mr Coates, Mr and Mrs Porter, Joseph Fuller and his wife, Mr and Mrs French, Mr Calverley and Thomas Fuller. We played at brag in the evening and according to custom my wife and I lost 2/2½. We came home about 2:20, very sober. My wife and I gave Mrs Atkins’s servant 6d each.

How tired am I of those more-than-midnight revels; how inconsistent is it with the duty of a tradesmen, for how is it possible for him to care for or pursue his business with vigor, industry and pleasure when the body must be disordered by the loss of sleep and perhaps the brain too by the too-great a quantity of liquor which is often drunk at those times, and then can a tradesman gaming have any palliation? No! It is impossible, though it’s true we game more for to pass away time then for thirst of gain, but what a way is it of spending that which is so valuable to mankind? Well may our great poet Mr Young say “When time turns a torment, then man turns a fool.”

Suppose a game of cards innocent in itself, yet the consequences cannot be so if what is commonly called fortune should run against any one at play, that he lose more than his income will allow of, but supposing the person to lose can afford it without any ways in the least incommoding or straitening his circumstances. I say, suppose this case, it cannot be innocent because that sum which anyone can afford to lose he can at the same time afford to dispose of in any other way; then that sum given away in charity must have been a better away in disposing of it. Therefore, if there is a better way to dispose of the money lost, losing it is not right, and then how often are the passions moved in such a manner by a bad run of play, that the more warm of us many times increase at that quality so much as to use oaths and execrations not fit to be heard among Christians.

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