1847: Albert Gallatin Weeks to Jonathan Tenney

How Albert G. Weeks might have looked

How Albert G. Weeks might have looked

This letter was written by Albert Gallatin Weeks (1819-1853), the son of Daniel Weeks (1775-1851) and Hannah Gale (1779-1852) of Belknap County, New Hampshire.

Albert wrote the letter to Dartmouth College classmate Jonathan Tenney (1817-1888), son of Jonathan and Lydia (Owen) Tenney. At the time this letter was written, Tenney was serving as the Principal of Pembroke Academy in New Hampshire. He later served as the Principal of the Owego Academy in Tioga County, New York (1869-1874).

1847 Letter

1847 Letter

Addressed to Jonathan Tenney, A. M., Pembroke, New Hampshire

Meredith Bridge [Belknap County, New Hampshire]
January 17, 1847

Friend Tenney,

I thank you for your kind and interesting letter of the 23 ult. and am glad to know that you are not only prosperous but happy in your vocation.

You speak of being obliged to labor most assiduously in the discharge of your duties to your school. No profession in which men engage so imperatively demands the devotion of all our powers — physical and mental — and all the affections of the heart as that of teaching. These sacrifices are often very reluctantly made even by the most conscientious, for the reason that they feel how few of those who are the objects of their anxiety — the recipients of their labors — appreciate at all the extent of the sacrifice which is made.

Often both the pupils and the parents of pupils are almost entirely insensible to. They desert on the part of those who weary themselves in which they consider the humble vocation of training immortal spirits to know and practice their highest duties.

Frequently in Massachusetts and once in while in this state, a community is found who award a fair [amount] of praise to the worthy teacher. Such a community I hope you have fallen among. I saw a Mr. Wilkins of your town a few days since who spoke in the best arms of your success.

I am now teaching at this place, have an easy and very pleasant school and have agreed to stay three terms; that is, till next September. The prospect for a large success does not look very great though I have a much better school this term than I expected — twenty-five scholars. Next term I presume there will be at least forty which you know very well is as great a number as one man can properly instruct, even when the classes are not numerous. The school at present is very well classed. A large part of the students are permanent — attending from term to term. Most of them are studious with just enough rogues and bad fellows to make examples of.

I am near my friends in a pleasant society and on the whole I think I am as well situated [as] I should be in any village in New Hampshire. I have given up my notion of going south and shall at my leisure study my profession. I thank you for your kind offer but I think I shall better serve my ends here than at Penbroke.

I don’t remember whether I wrote you that [Joseph] McGaffey of our [1844] class taught here a part of the fall term and that he is now at Beverly, Massachusetts, teaching a public school.

Mr. Farrus has lately gone to Rhode Island where he is assistant teacher in a very flourishing school not far from Providence. Of other members of our class or yours, I know nothing new.

I am very truly yours, — Albert G. Weeks

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