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MY DEAR MARIA, I have been waiting some time to hear from you, but see that as usual you stand on the ceremony of the first letter, even with your father. I do not know, that I ought to censure you for your aversion to writing, as I believe it is in some degree hereditary; but you ought to recollect, that the great object of education is not only to cultivate our faculties, but to learn to control our dispositions; to restrain those that are too strong, and strengthen those, that are too weak. Among the latter, I am sure you will place your disposition to correspond. I do not know a more desirable acquirement (I mean of the literary kind) in a lady, than that of writing a good letter; an acquirement, however, which can only be attained by practice; but which with practice and care may certainly be acquired, at least in a respectable degree. In your case, with your vivacity, and good sense, all that you want is practice; and I must insist on your extending to me during the winter, a full share of your practice. Your Mother informed me, that she had determined on Mr Mark's institution, and that you would commence the 1st Jan'y. I hope you find yourself well situated, and that you are well pleased. You must write to me without delay and give me a full account of everything; the course of studies, the teachers; what you are learning; how many young ladies; and where they are from; who are your room mates; and who your particular companions. If you do not wish to write too long a letter, you may make my inquiries the subject of several.
I wrote Co'l Chappell about a week since and enclosed him $200 for you, with the request that he would hold it in his hand and disburse it for you. A part is intended for your pocket money, and the rest for your necessary expenses. I hope he has received my letter. The weather has been exceedingly cold; more so than I have ever witnessed. It is now snowing. Influenzas have been almost universal, and in many instances severe. I have escaped, I believe as well as any one that I know.
You have many friends in Columbia. You must not permit yourself to be drawn too much into company. Restrict your visiting to a few families, and do not go into large parties. It will be time enough two, or three years hence to go into company. Let me know what families you visit; and if you have not written, do not delay to write immediately.
[P. S] I have just received the enclosed from the engraver. Keep one yourself and give the other to whom you please.
- John C. Calhoun
- Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1899, Calhoun Correspondence.