Amherst, [NY?]

Apl 3 Paid


Cadet Amos B. Eaton

U.S. Military Academy

West Point,



[Prof A Eaton Amherst

April 1-1824]

Amherst, April 1st 1824


Dear Son,

I have neglected to write to you a long

time; though no day passes but all my children

occupy my thoughts individually, and the happi-

ness of each is my daily study.

I have just commenced a course of lectures

at Amherst College. I shall probably return [home]

about the 8th or 10th of May. My health has not

been good during the past winter; though I have

not been absolutely sick excepting about

three weeks in January. I am occasionally [trou-

bled] with hoarseness; though I am almost free

from it now. I suppose I ought to go to

a southern latitude; for all my ill turns

are caused by cold. But I could not fix

the family as comfortably at the south, as

they now are, in a long time.

I employed Jedediah Smith, one of our Castleton

students, as an assistant. He gave most of the ex-

periments and many lectures alone, in my courses

at Troy and Lansingburgh last winter. He is here

now. Sarah C. E[aton]. is [here] also.

I have finished the rock part of the canal

survey. The printing is finished, 163 pages. The

engraving is not quite done. In the course of this

month all will be finished. I will send you some when

done. One plate costs the Patroon 530 Dollars. It's

4 feet long, extending from Boston to Lake


More geological facts will be presented in this

little book, than have hitherto been given by Amer-

ican geologists. I expect to be attacked by all the

pigmy foplings, just as Everett etc about Boston,

on account of my new names and new facts.

My contempt for these animals heretofore mani-

fested by silence, has excited their ire. These

ephemeral scribblers have their hour; and often sink

into their nothingness.

I hope your health will hold out. I supposed

your constitution somewhat like mine, when you

were at home. Consequently the same rules would ap-

ply. I studied intensely about twenty five years.

My hardest struggles were with difficulties to

which you will not be subjected. I believe you

know, that I was one of the few ? (I believe I

may say one of the three or four) ? who endea-

voured to keep pace with the modern sciences

of Europe; when we had neither books nor any

other facilities with which the present generation

is favored. During these mental struggles, I adopted

the following rules with success.

1. I never studied late in the evening. 2d. When

I felt the least degree of giddiness, I stopped my stu-

dies instantly for an hour or two, however I might

be occupied. I would then walk about or converse

with idlers. 3d. I drank no ardent spirit, nor wine,

cider, nor strong beer for ten or fifteen years. Nor

to this day, excepting beer. 4th. I always made it

a practice to eat considerably. I do not believe

in starving students; though I would not make

gormandizers of them. 5th. I never leaned forward

in studying or writing. It is perfectly easy to ac-

quire a habit of sitting up, so as to keep the breast

strait [sic]. And I had always a high desk to stand

by part of the time. 6th. Whether sitting or standing

I always varied my position perpetually. This

I found to be very important to health, besides

keeping the mind more active. No evil arose

from it, excepting a little scolding from [your]

grandmother Eaton, about my coat sleeves and

the seat of my pantaloons. 7. When my mind

was confused with a subject of study, I always

left it for a little jolly conversation an hour,

and then resumed it with a clear head.

Hez[ekiah] & Dwight go to school. I intent to push

Dwight to his trade when I go home. Hez. will

botanize and make garden in the [forenoon]

and stay in a druggist shop in Troy in

the afternoon all summer. I intend to

make him a manufacturing chemist

and druggist.

I must now go

to [?].

Your affectionate



Amos Eaton


Cadet A.B.Eaton.