Thomas Ragland to Nicholas P. Trist

My dear Friends,

I have omited to write to you for some time, because indeed I am so much of a recluse here as rarely to see the least thing that could afford you any entertainment. This is not the case with you at West Point, there, not a day passes but something transpires which would afford ample matter to interest any one who feels so strong an interest as I do in whatever regards it. The departure of our old Friends, and the appearance of the New Cadets, would on alone fill up a sheet of large foolscap. Say something about the examination.—who were present?—How was it conducted?—What new Regulations are made?—And how did old Mait & Sam plug acquit themselves. Altho’ I never expect to see West Point again notwithstanding every thing there that has any concern with the Old Stock—the ’76—my feelings are strongly alive to. If possible do send me a copy of the letter to Maj. Vining; and relate all the measures taken by the Cadets on that melancholy occasion. How did you spend the 4th? I dislike apathy on such an occasion, and would rather see Bachus in Meredian glory than a retiring sober Multitude: I attended a Barbecue near the Virginia University, where about one hundred others persons were assembled to join in the joys of the day—but they came with measured steps, and retired with long faces—They did not seem to have caught the spirit of the occasion—there was no ardour—every thing was poor. Let Philosophers, men of refinement, and rigid Moralists talk as they please of the beauty of temperance and order—it is fit that the Spirit manifest itself after its manner, and, to my apprehension, an even tongue is unbecoming the people on that day. The divine may pour out his soul of joy in rigour to god, in full measure let it beam upon the countenance of calm philosophy, but if the Multitude feel thier expression must be tumultuous. I am sorry that neither in this place, nor in most others, were the Ladies invited to a partipation in the festivities of the day—rely upon it, when they they cease to feel an interest, men will soon fail to remember. Women raise or depress our sensibilities in everything. Send me a copy of the toasts. Remember me to every one and ask William Washington to write to me. Nothing would afford me more pleasure than to hear from Old Sam & Mait from their own pens—I think they might certainly spare enough time from very hard Study to give me a few lines. Where are Brooke & Rawlings?

T Ragland.

Wilson is in Jefferson County superintending some buildings at a Spring on his fathers land, where a most splendid establishment is in progress to accomodate the publick with the best water in Virginia.

RC (NcU: NPT); at foot of text: “To Trist & Henshaw”; addressed: “To N. P. Trist Esqr West Point New-York”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 18 July; endorsed by Trist: “Ragland Thomas July 15 1820.”
Thomas Ragland
Date Range
July 15, 1820