Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1861 February 14 University [of Virginia]

Dear Father

Several letters have been
received from home since I last
wrote. Your note from to Prof Gil-
dersleeve has been received. I went
around to the chairman, Dr Maupin
& found that I could not attend only
a part of the lectures unless I had
my name taken off the roll; so I
made application for release, which
will be granted at the next meeting
of the faculty. I did not apply
to Prof Gilsersleeve because he is not
the proper person. Dr. Maupin,
chairman of the faculty, is
the proper person. He says that
the faculty do not allow partial
attendance unless we formally
withdraw from the class.
I was therefore obliged to withdraw

[page 2]
as I cannot possibly profitably or
possibly attend all the lectures.
Greek is said to be the hardest
ticket in the University. there are
men in the class now, who have
failed for several years successively.
Out of a large class about 12 or 15
generally graduate, perhaps a few
more sometimes but certainly not
many. It requires an enormous
amount of extra reading which
I have not time to do. It requires
such a thorough knowledge that
I am very doubtful whether I
could graduate on it, if I were
to try it another year. This is
not said through want of confidence,
but from a painful consciousness of facts.
I regret to say that I have on hand
only 60 cts & owe John & Hoover nearly
$4. I don't like to ask for any money
in these hard times. The principal
items recently are for two books necessary

[page 3]
in the Moral Philosophy course $6
mending gown, 3 pairs pants, 1 coat $2.50
Box 30 Note Books 75 Shampooing hair 25 Gloves &c &c
too numerous to mention, all of which with the
exception of three small items were ^'I think" judicious
& necessary expenditures. I had to pay
30 cts to get the box brought from C to
the University; and since I ^'wrote to mother I' have been
informed by the express agent that I
owe $2.00 more on the box. I think
I ought to pay only $1.75. I shall not
pay anything until I hear from home
again. With regard to the study of a profession I am as yet very undecided.
Even if I should decide to study law
& could come back here next year,
I think it would be advisable to wait
a year or two & spend the time in
teaching. I am not fully prepared
to profit by the high grade of instruc-
tion here. My mind is not sufficiently
matured. I am mentally much
younger than many of the same age

[page 4]
I availed myself of a few leisure
moments to write the above. I am
now sitting in the Political Economy
lectures room making use of the 15
minutes, which will elapse before the
lecture begins. I was saying that
I thought that it would be more
improving to teach a year or two
than to return here next year. Mother
mentioned the loss in furniture.
It would not be much. I have
only a chair, a beaureau, some shelves
& a share in a badly worn carpet.
About $12 in all. I can readily
dispose of the bureau & chair for $8
or $9, but if bill should come here
next year ^'I' should get prefer getting
him to use & keep them for me.
The chair is peculiar & though not as
fine looking & expensive as many I
have seen, is preferable to any that I
have met ^'with'. I should prefer to keep
it, if there was any prospect of my

[page 5]
ever coming back. I have not
called on Dr McGuffey yet, but
a few days ago he took me into his office
to show me some references in a
book & while there we talked
on various subjects; while explain
ing something he said that he
was always glad to explain it,
particularly for one, who was
studying for the ministry.
I told him that I had no
such intentions & he seemed
very much surprised. He than
spoke of choosing a profession
& said that he thought that no one
ought to enter the ministry
who could keep out of it.
He also said that I ought also
to get all the advice I could
from my friends & then decide
for myself. He then mentioned
that I have always thought, viz, that
every one ought to choose that profession
in which he can do the most good.

[page 6]
He said that sometimes after we had
chosen, god altered for us. He said
that after teaching for some years, he
had at last succeeded in getting pleas-
antly located as pastor of a church
just as he had long desired; but just then
he received a call to the University,
and although he wanted to preach
the gospel, he felt it his duty to come
here & here he had been for 16 years.
He very kindly invited me to call
& I shall certainly do so soon.

I am very glad to hear through
sister that there is a prospect of
setting up the business with less
loss than was a first apprehended.
I hope that this reverse will be the
means of causing us ^'all' to put our trust
more implicitly in our Father in
heaven & not in things of earth.

For several years I have been a
member of the church, professing to
enjoy a peace above that of earth,

[page 7]
& yet I have evinced very little
anxiety that you should enjoy the
same. I know that I have been very
unfaithful & careless, & I hope therefore
that you will forgive my being
so importunate now, for this is
something about which I am
very much concerned; it is some-
thing which I desire for you more than
anything in the world. It is to me
a terrible thought that you should
live the remainder of your life
without loving God & should pass away
from earth without any reliable hope
in the world to come. It is never
too late to come to him, who has
said, "He that cometh unto me
I will in no wise cast out." "Come
unto me all ye that labor & are
heavy laden & I will give you
." "Be not afraid, only believe."
If others are thus concerned about
you ought you not to be concerned for yourself?

[page 8]
O my dear Father will you not now consider t his
all important matter?

That you may take Jesus to be your
Saviour & find in him the peace, which
passeth knowledge is & constantly will
be the prayer of
Your devoted Son
J.T. Allyn, Jr.

Joseph Tyler Allyn, of Norfolk, Va., served as a Lt. in the Confederate Army with the Norfolk Light Artillery Blues and was later a lawyer in Norfolk, Va.

MSS 3344-a

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