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Smithfield Preston Foundation

Papers, 1784-1881, n.d., Ms1997-002

Feby 12, 1831 -- letter from James Patton Preston at Smithfield to Susanna McDowell in Lexington, VA

Smithfield Feby 12th 1831

Dear Niece

I have at length prepared my son James for a member-ship in your family and a fellowship in College. I hope we may become distinguished for his good conduct in both.

I fear from his anxiety and mortifications in his preparations, that he was mistaken the objects, and imagines that he is going on a visit, and frolic, but I hope you will very soon remove the improper, and prove to him that his clothes and dress will not be looked at or regarded by any body, while every scholear and presbyterian will be watching every step he takes in science and morals, and that through his wisdom & virtue and partiotism he can alone become distinguished.

I have wore them ---- confidence in the influence which your ---- course will ---- upon his conduct. I felt sensibly(?) the impression which Mr. McDowell made upon me favorably in his conversations respecting James's capacity and I thought that his devotion to reading and high attainments, will infuse into my son a similar spirit and then I should have accomplished all I desire. If James can have his ambition(?) stirred up and could be brought to indulge the least enthusiasm I know that the qualities of his head & heart must assign no ordinary standing, but I was speaking like a devonting(?) father and if it were not to a neice it would be unpardonable variety.

After he has been with you long enough to judge of his course, will you do my wife and myself the favor to write to us of him saying what you think truly and openly and expressing what you wish us to say or do for him.

We are all well as usual except Sister Madison who has not been to visit, us but we heard from her that she is solitary(?) and unwell.

God bless you and your ---- praying and preserve them in health and hapiness ---- you.

Your Afft. Uncle
James P. Preston

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Last Modified on: Thursday, 29-Oct-2009 09:23:41 EDT