previous next
[98] I should be truly grateful to any friend whose relations with me justified suggestions on such delicate subjects, who exercised the same freedom towards me that I now use with you. “Veniam petimusque damusque vicissiim.

Remembering, as he faithfully did, his family ties, he added:

I hope you have already written home stimulating mother to the education of the children. Lend me your influence. Teach your brothers and sisters to be ambitious, to aspire, and to look up. You can do a great deal of good in this way. I hope that Horace, when grown up, will not smart as I do under the mortification of a defective education.

From Venice he wrote a long letter to Judge Story, urging the adoption of a higher standard at Harvard College, where, as he thought, there was then a want of thoroughness in the system of instruction.1 Particularly he lamented the imperfect way in which the modern languages were taught,—a defect from which he had especially suffered. He wrote:—

Let a boy acquire one thing well, and he gets a standard of excellence to which he will endeavor to bring up his other knowledge; and, moreover, he will be conscious of his deficiencies by observing the difference between what he knows well and what indifferently. Let the requisites for admission be doubled, and subject all candidates for degrees to a most rigid examination. We must make a beginning, and where can it be done better than at Harvard? . . . I cannot forbear writing you, ex mero motu, to say that I think Felton's usefulness as a professor would be very much increased if he could come abroad: and such a tour as he proposes would be productive of benefit and honor to himself, the college, and our country. Thank God! I am an American. Much as there is to offend me in our country, yet it is the best country to be born in on the face of the globe.

In his tribute to Washington Allston, Aug. 27, 1846, there is a description of Italy which was inspired by the memories of these days:–

Turning his back upon Paris and the greatness of the Empire, he directed his steps towards Italy, the enchanted ground of literature, history, and art, —strown with richest memorials of the past; filled with scenes memorable in the progress of man; teaching by the pages of philosophers and historians; vocal with the melody of poets; ringing with the music which St. Cecilia protects; glowing with the living marble and canvas; beneath a sky of heavenly purity and brightness; with the sunsets which Claude has painted; parted by the Apennines, early witnesses of the unrecorded Etruscan civilization; surrounded by the snow-capped Alps and the blue, classic waters of the Mediterranean sea. Rome, sole surviving city of antiquity, once disdaining all that

1 It hardly needs to be noted, that in American colleges, and particularly in Harvard, great changes have been made since 1839 in the direction to which Sumner then pointed.

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.
Venice (Italy) (1)
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (1)
Apennines (Italy) (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.
Rome Sumner (1)
William W. Story (1)
P. S. Felton (1)
Washington Allston (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.
August 27th, 1846 AD (1)
1839 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: