Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist, with Postscript by Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge
|My dear Nicholas||Boston March 3d |
Ellen has enclosed for you Ticknor’s kind reply to my inquiries respecting the school mentioned in yr. last: no doubt is entertained by any one here of the great superiority of this over every institution of the kind in the United States. I am myself personally acquainted with both the gentlemen, Mr Cogswell, and Mr Bancroft, and think them entitled to the fullest confidence: they are men of high character, who have been perfectly well educated themselves; who were both, at different times, tutors in Cambridge University; who have been both long abroad and are familiar with all the celebrated schools and gymnasia of Europe: If you choose to pay the sum named, 375 dls pr. annum, ’tis morally impossible to expend it to the greater advantage, mental and physical, of yr. Bro. Supposing however that it was might be possible you might would think the sum large for so young a boy, I have made inquiry about the Public Schools of this town; and now send you a pamphlet contg details wh. may perhaps interest you. these too, particularly the one under the care of Mr Gould, whom you saw at Monticello, are most excellent. I was at them when far inferior to what they now are, and they were more than respectable then. But I am very sorry to be obliged to add that I learn to-night that none but Bostonians can be admitted. I am prevented therefore from saying to you that Ellen and myself were desirous of offering to receive yr. little Bro into our own family, while he was a member of the School; or, if you would not permit this, of assuring you of our care to place him in a suitable family to board, where we could frequently super intend him, and see to his comfort and well-being.I do not hesitate however to say that if I had a son, or friend to be educated, or an orphan under my charge who was possessed of a little property, that I would expend it on his education rather than save it for his coming of age—In this country, far more than in another, education makes the man; almost all our fine fellows—the bones and sinews of the commonwealth—are the founders of their own fortunes: and in a republican form of government it ever must be so. We are far more ready to advance those who have shewn the power to advance themselves, than others whose education is the result of accident. If I were you, then, (tho. I know nothing, absolutely nothing, of yr. plans, nor of the little fellow’s property,) I would send him to Round Hill, and keep him there as long as possible. and (if I did not chuse to educate him at Cambridge, but to send him to Charlottesville,) give him the groundwork of such a school as this: the habits of mind he would form there would accompany him thro. life, and his success perhaps might clearly be traced to this step.
In the conversation wh. I had with Mr Gould this evening he told me that the bookseller had written from Charlottesville for copies of Ruddiman’s latin grammar; and Hilliard having none send copies of an improved edition of Adams’ latin grammar, wh. is used in our schools, and much esteemed. this edition is published by Gould himself, and is certainly a very improved one: it has however been nearly bought up, and the publishers think of republishing it stereotyped: but Gould is anxious to review it first, and would be grateful for hints of any deficiencies or redundancies: he already proposes many changes, conscious that the work is not perfect; and desires me to procure, if possible, the opinion of yr. professor on the subject. I promised to apply to you, and if opportunity offers wish you to consult Long on this head. we have been looking for letters with something like impatience to hear of the arrival of the piano, and brandy. I recommend you to take yr own cask into yr. own keeping; others might think it good as well as yrself: (I allude to Bxxxxxd.) if your little cask is exhausted1 before the larger one, turn the contents of that upon the less of yours; it will soften and improve it.I wish I could hear from you more frequently, but well know the number of yr. occupations: I have found it almost impossible to procure Sir James Mc but at last Ticknor who is always ready to help a good work, found a copy and we mean to republish it ere long. did you ever speak to Key or Bonycastle about the Cambridge course of Physics and Mathematicks? or do they wait for the appearance of the other parts? we are well, and send affectionate remembrance to you all.
I intended to have written to my Grandfather by this mail, my dear Nicholas, & in such case to save you the expense of postage for a double letter, by enclosing this to him, but time presses, the mail will leave in less than an hour, & I cannot execute my intention, as you desire, however, an immediate reply to your question I shall make you pay your 50 cts for the gratification of your curiosity. by the monday’s mail I will send to my granfather for you, the pamphlet to which Joseph alludes, although it can be of no use for none but Bostonians are admitted to the schools here we only received Mr Ticknor’s reply yesterday afternoon, or you should have heard sooner. love to all & say we are well. I am quite in love with my doctor & almost sorry that he has relieved me so far from my dyspeptic complaint as to make his attendance no longer necessary except at intervals. adieu my dear brother.