I thought of Oakeshott’s remark when I came across this observation in a letter Charles Lamb wrote to his friend Thomas Manning on March 1, 1800: “Public affairs—except as they touch upon me, and so turn into private,—I cannot whip up my mind to feel any interest in . . . I cannot make these present times present to me. I read histories of the past and live in them; although, to abstract sense, they are far less momentous than the noises which keep Europe awake.”
Charles Lamb, a foolish and profoundly wise little man, was born on this date, Feb. 10, in 1775.