Hore Browse Trist to Nicholas P. Trist
|my Dear nic||charlottesville July 6th 1820|
the examination is over, & was as you may suppose, neither splendid nor brilliant, yet mr Stack seems determined to put it in the papers, but I hope he will confine himself to the central gazette, whose the circulation of which is limited to a very narrow compass, & perhaps, will never extend itself far beyond Albemarle; I feel, however, quite unconcerned about it, having presumption to enough to think that I will be among the first, which, heaven knows, is no great honour, considering the characters (I mean in general) with whom I had to contend. not long since I had no time to write a letter, now I have time but not the least inclination, & the very thought of writing, to day, (to you) has served to make me peevish and fretful, but you must charge it to the heat, which together with the knats and chinces (much greater plagues, by the by than the musquitoes) worry the life of me; if any illnatured remarks should escape me, they may be accounted for. the anniversary of our independence was celebrated by a barbacue (a word naturally enough perverted by an Italian in company into barbe au cul, which served no doubt to amuse him) at which I signalized myself by giving a toast, & as it is said they will all go into the central, I wish it had been suppressed; Ragland also gave two or three one to John Adams (for fun) and one, which, it strikes me I have of read of before you can decide perhaps respecting its originality. It was thus “our country, its atmosphere too pure for tyrants to breath in!”1 I wont tell you mine, but I will acquaint you with and admirable one given by mr J. [. . .] to Genl Jackson at a dinner in Lynchburg “honour to him who has filled the measure of his country’s honour” nothing could2 be better expressed & it contains all the requisites for a good toast. I suppose you had grand doing’s at west Point, got drunk &c to the credit of Albemarle there was not a drunkard drunken man in company, but owing perhaps to their not having sat vini. I had the extreme satisfaction to meet the honble Judge Johnson Senator from our quarter of the globe, he intends not to return to Louisiana this year, but will make a trip to the springs for the benefit of his health which is not very good. he offer’d his services (cum dignitale) if we should stand in need of them, for which in return, (cum humilitate) I offer’d him my thanks he heard very good accounts of you from the cadets, whom he met with in Washing[ton] I saw in one of the New Orleans papers that mr Livingston is a candidate for congress, I hope he may succeed, if he does not the good people of Louisiana must be blind to its interests, for although his probity, has not hitherto been that of a Cato yet his talents are brilliant, and doubtless, he will promote the interest of his constituents as much as he can, & I think he may be relied on for that, as his own interests would be hurt were he to act otherwise. the election of Governor caused a great excitement among them; there being about half a dozen candidates, who all met with support, I understand the election took place on the day before yesterday.
Father wrote to me, some time ago, expressing a wish that I should go to college, & although my inclinations urge me to it, yet I have not been able to make up my mind where to go, mr Jefferson is not decidedly in favour of any college, but he recommends Columbia in south Carolina, because Judge Cooper is one of its professors; I would prefer going to Philadelphia for various reasons, there any book which might be necessary could be procured, which is of itself a great inducement I cou would have opportunities of learning whatever I pleased, and would be at liberty to act as I pleased, not liable to be put in a room with a boy whom perhaps I should find totally uncongenial, all these summed up would strike the balance in favour of Phila, in my mind. my allowance is perhaps insufficient, but mr Stack’s calculation of the expenditures made it less than seven hundred $, do assist me in my doubts, and give me a clue to get out of this labyrinth. in the mean time I want you (if you have the money to spare, which is very doubtful) to lay out about $25 for me in books, I will send you the money when I have it. here is a list of them and where to procure them if they are to be had. Dictionnaire Grec et Francais par Planche, Scapula Lexicon the edition in 8vo price about 8 or 10 $ be careful that you note down that, for I have a 4to Edition in 2 vol which is so large and unhandy that I cannot read with it. the port Royal Greek & Latin Grammars, Alvari prosodia price 50 cents & Simsons Algebra. you can procure Planche, if any where, at Fernagus’s in new york who has a partner by the name of Bellair in Philadelphia, you can likewise make application there for the Grammars, the prosody is found at J & T Swords no 160 Pearl street, scapula at Dufiefs, I think). here are directions enough to make you utter an exclamation of impatience, but I dont mean you should put yourself to much inconvenien[ce] & I only wish you to get them in case I go southwards; they will I expect facilitate my studies in a great measure. we were examined in the principal propositions of the four first books of Euclid & to equations in Algebra. the book we make use of on this branch is Bonnycastle, the driest and most unintelligible author that ever wrote on the subject, who, if he possesses any knowl[edge] it in, himself, has, certainly, not the art of communicating it to others [. . .] strange to tell, mr Stack stipulated with Ragland that he should teach no other R. recommended Simson as being the most explanatory book, on the subject, he had ever seen, which induces me to put it on my list.
You wish me to tell you without disguise whether or not you are thought as much of by certain persons, as you were formerly, candidly then, my Dear Brother, I fancy you are as much thought of now by certain persons or by a certain person as ever you were, though perhaps you never engrossed many of their reflexions, be that as it may, I think your chance for success is very good in a certain quarter, but, really, it passes my comprehension, how you are to support a wife, little assistance, I imagine, will flow from this quarter as the parties are considerably in debt, and as for your going into the army and marrying while only a lieutenant it is ruminum ridiculum, you & Ragland are in somewhat similar circumstances, but his prospects are brighter, if any thing than your’s, for he will have a profession, whereas you will be, God knows what I do not say this in order to deter you from putting on, so soon as you think proper the delightful fetters of Hymen, for whatever may be conducive to your happiness is what I fervently desire, nor do I intend to deprecate the holy state of matrimony [w]hich is undoubtedly the happiest condition man can be placed in, provided [you understand me] he draws a prize, but the loving couple should not starve.
your mare, God bless her, has foaled, T. R. told me of it the other day, but I was ashamed to tell him he might have the first coalt, which would have looked like offering him a remuneration for the expense he has been at. tell me how much money I will need to go any where, I have paid off my acct at Leitches (at least I will shortly) and will have a few dollars left me. accept my love