Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist
|Cambridge June 1. 1827.|
At length I date from this place, dear to me from many causes:—as the scene of years of great happiness, and as arising in my mind recollections of Cambridge in England, where I passed the pleasantest hours spent abroad.We effected our removal, here, without difficulty, and are delightfully situated: I leave it to Ellen, and mother, to descant upon the beauties of the village, the convenience of the house, and the amiable manners of its master, Prof. Farrar, and proceed to explain my motive for now writing—. The letter which I sent you, some time since, containing some acct. of Mr Grund, lecturer in Mathematics, has (I suppose) given rise to one or two communications between Mr Madison and Prof. Farrar, and Dr Bowditch: the result of which is, I believe, that they do not recommend this young german for the vacant professorship! the reason why they do not is chiefly, a distrust of his prudence, and doubt whether he would be able to discreetly manage so many students, and of such a difficult character as yours:there is no doubt in their minds, nor in the minds of any one among us, that Mr Grund knows more mathematics than any man of his years in, perhaps, this country—; but his temper is said to be difficult, and they fear that if, as he has been represented to them, he is jealous, and capricious, that he would foment rather than allay any troubles which might arise!—Some time after Mr Madison’s letters had been recd and these gentlemen, above named, had determined in what manner to answer them, Mr Grund procured an introduction to me and then made a request that I would write in his behalf to Mr Madison;—I was compelled to promise to do so, but took occasion to make inquiry before writing, and became satisfied that the opinion formed by Dr B & Prof. F. was is correct—: Still, I yielded to his urgency, and enclosed a copy of a lecture delivered by him in Boston, and a prospectus of his translated mathematical works, to Mr M. as Rector, adding only that Mr Grund desired me to state that he wished to be considered as a competitor for the office:I wanted to have said to Mr Madison, that his difficulties of temper was the chief [. . .] objection against the success of his application, but thought it better, on the whole, to intimate merely that I knew of the inquiries which had been put to the Gentlemen here, and felt certain they would ask me then [. . .]er to aid in properly supplying the vacancy occasioned by Mr Key’s departure;—So that, in fact, my letter contained nothing more than the statement that Grund wished to be considered as a candidate.It was not fair, [. . .], to add to the a letter wh. he supposes to have advocated his claims very strongly, what I am now about to say to you—viz, that there is a very remarkable young man here, who was the first scholar of his year, (graduating two years since,) and who has been occupied, lately, in teaching mathematics at Beacon Hill—Mr Cogswell’s school at Northampton; and who is thought to posses every qualification necessary for the situation; having already great mathematical science, and a disposition, and the ability to exercise it very much, and whose moral qualities are as unshakable as his mental ones; who is, in fact, a scholar, as well as a mathematician wh. Grund is not—; his name is Timothy Walker!—Mr Farrar mentioned him to me, as the man for the Virginia University, and I believe that Dr Bowditch would also recommend him if applied to. I proposed to Mr Farrar to write to Mr Farrar Madison, in favor of the young man, but he declined, from delicacy, saying Mr M. had asked about Grund, and had not begged him, Mr. Farrar, to recommend any one;—I am told that a tutor who has been Tutor at Cambridge; in his department, has also made application, his name is Hayward, and tis announced that he is chosen—: I hope not—: he is not the man;—he would produce manifest difficulties, being tetchy and crotchical, & not a mathematician; nor a man of pleasant manners; nor one of good Society!—I say to you, dear N—and it is so thought here, that he is by no means suitable, in any respect; and you had better let Mr M. know, if they propose chusing him, (Hayward,) that it would be well to inquire about him first.—Knowing how important it is if yr. professor goes from the North, that he should be a suitable person, I feel great anxiety—and name to you, again Timothy Walker, as above all others, here, the best; one who would remain with you, devote himself with an [. . .] [. . .] zeal to the cause, and whose present attainments are [. . .] than can ever be required, in his station, and who promises to be quite eminent before long—. He is very highly esteemed;—I do not know him, personally, never1, indeed, seen him—yet those who know him are loud in his praises—exert yourself for him, & let me hear from you, soon, with every detail about Clock &c—and believe me,
9½ o’Clock, P.M.