previous next


To Jonathan F. Stearns.

Sunday, Feb. 13, 1881.
my friend,—. . . I have for three weeks been trying to rear the tender thought, as an assistant to our old friend, McBurney, at Mr. Hubbard's school. Mr. H. had to go to Vermont, and he engaged me to assist in the duties of instruction during his absence. And oh!—quorum magna pars fui —the harassing, throat-cutting, mind-dissolving duties: pounding knowledge into heads which have no appetency for it, and enduring the arguing of urchin boys, and all those other ills to which schoolmaster-flesh is heir. . . . But the cares of Mr. H.'s school are more severe than those of most schools, on account of the want of classification in the boys, and the being obliged to drudge through lessons with single boys without any of the excitement of hearing a large class, and also the attention bestowed on them out of school. You must see that my experiences are rather unfavorable. Shall I, then, take the responsibility of a school like that of which you are the head,—an academy upon which many look with an eye of jealousy, and others with an interest which would keep a watchful eye upon the instructor, and feel itself wronged if his exertions and abilities did not come up to a standard already fixed? Further, I have a natural aversion to keeping school. Yet again, it does not seem right that I should stand all the day idle, dependent upon my father for support and a profession, when the means are placed before me of gaining a little of that aliquid immensum infinitumque, not of the Roman but of the modern. Which of the two to choose? Here I am wavering, veering from point to point as of old, distrustful of myself. I feel unsettled in my condition. My age begins to tell me I ought to stand on my own legs, and loosen the chain which has ever held me to home. I see no means of making money or reputation anywhere, with the exception of the former, as a schoolmaster.

The secrets of the Φ. B. K. are shortly to be published. I have seen the manuscript myself, in the handwriting of one of the oldest ministers of this State, initiated in 1790. . . . A gentleman told me he had conversed with J. Q. Adams, and he said he was opposed to all secret societies, and should like to assist in removing the secrecy from the Φ. B. K. It will not hurt it; it will benefit it. There is nothing for which they need blush.

McBurney and Hopkinson were here last evening, and spent in my room a kind of old college evening. I shall expect to pass a like time with you soon.

C. S.

To Charlemagne Tower, Albany, N. Y.

Boston, Friday Evening, May 27, 1831.

Quid? quasi magnum
     Nempe diem donas?

Persius, Sat. V. 66, 67; quoted with reference to Tower's remissness in correspondence.

. . . Your method and application are to me an assurance that the studies of the law office will be fruitful; but excuse the impertinence of a friend. I

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Vermont (Vermont, United States) (1)
Albany (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Charlemagne Tower (2)
McBurney (2)
Jonathan F. Stearns (1)
Persius (1)
L. V. Hubbard (1)
Thomas Hopkinson (1)
John Quincy Adams (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 13th, 1881 AD (1)
May 27th, 1831 AD (1)
1790 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: