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June 12, 1826.
Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon I stayed at home, and had a solid talk of three hours with Thayer, concerning his whole management of this institution from the time he took it in hand. It was very interesting, and satisfied me, more and more, of the value and efficiency of his system. One proof of it, which I have just learned, is very striking. Before Thayer came here it was not generally easy to find young men enough to take Cadet's warrants to keep the Academy full. But for the last two or three years there have been, annually, more than a thousand applications for warrants, and there is at this moment not a small number of the sons of both the richest and the most considerable men of the country at the Academy, to the great gratification of their families. I think this state of things gratifies Thayer very much, and consoles him for the considerable privations, and the great and increasing labor he is obliged to undergo. . . . .

17th.—Thayer is a wonderful man. In the course of the fortnight I have been here, he has every morning been in his office doing business from six to seven o'clock; from seven to eight he breakfasts, generally with company; then goes to the examination-room, and for five complete hours never so much as rises from his chair. From one to three he has his dinner-party; from three to seven again unmoved in his chair, though he is neither stiff nor pretending about it. At seven he goes on parade; from half past 7 to eight does business with the Cadets, and from eight to nine, or even till eleven, he is liable to have meetings with the Academic Staff. Yet with all this labor, and the whole responsibility of the institution, the examination, and the accommodation of the Visitors, on his hands, he is always fresh, prompt, ready, and pleasant; never fails to receive me under all circumstances with the same unencumbered and affectionate manner, and seems, in short, as if he were more of a spectator than I am. I do not believe there are three persons in the country who could fill his place; and Totten said very well the other day, when somebody told him,—what is no doubt true,—that if Thayer were to resign, he would be the only man who could take his place,--‘No: no man would be indiscreet enough to take the place after Thayer; it would be as bad as being President of the Royal Society, after Newton.’ . . . .

The examination, the exhibition of the institution, has gratified me beyond my expectations, and this feeling I believe I share with the rest of the Visitors. There is a thoroughness, promptness, and efficiency in the knowledge of the Cadets which I have never seen before, and which I did not expect to find here. . . . .

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Sylvanus Thayer (5)
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