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Documenting the American
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Rencher, a former student, tells Prof. Mitchell that he is dissatisfied with teaching and wonders if he should engage in the study of law.
I have delayed writing to you longer than I had anticipated. I wished to give to my situation a fair decision. This delay has been protracted longer from the dissatisfaction which I felt on my first arrival; but I am happy in being able to inform you that I daily become more reconciled to my pedagogical chair. It is a happy constitution in our nature, that it yields to the circumstances in which fortune may place us. The wretched victim of a horrid dungeon, by long confinement, becomes delighted with the music of his chains which are clanking around him. This must be considered as a fortunate circumstance, when we reflect, that in the corrupted and uncertain currents of this life we know not at what moment we are to be thrown from our fondest hopes, from our most flattering and towering expectations and doomed to seek pleasures even from our dissapointments
Dont infer from these cursory remarks on the power of habit that it
can ever render me entirely pleased with
the the business of teaching—it can only soften my
dislike, indeed I have frequently wondered at the enthusiasm of a favourite
poet in calling it
Notwithstanding my aversion to this employment, my prospects have so
much brightened that I am determined to remain here this year at least My shool
has increased far beyond my hopes, which of course has increased my wages. I am
fully aware that my situation with you
From the particular marks of attention which I have been proud to
recieve at your hands, you will no doubt wish to know how I spend my
time?—very shamefully, for I am doing nothing. While a member of college,
ambition, my own partiality, and the persuasion of friends led me to the study
of the law, and had I engaged in a profession immediately, I should now have
been busy in the analysis of crime; but catching some of the feeling then
prevalent in my section of the country and removing to a place where I was
entirely cut off from society, those religious feelings had and still have
cont destroyed my best exertions to promote the welfare &
happiness of my country. I once took up medicine, but fearing I should never
attain proficiency in a profession with which I was not pleased, I dr that I begin to
think that I shall, like the ox between the hay stacks, perish in doubt which
to chose. I can not believe that a young man is capable of making his own
choice of a prof. and I am sorry that my purpose had not been fixed by some
more experienced friend. But I must not dwell any longer on my private griefs
and embarrassments. I am anxious to hear from you. I should be happy to render
you my service in anything that lies in my power. Give my best respect to