not because it is the best time for exercise, for certainly
it is not; but because it is the best time to spare
from your studies; and habit will soon reconcile it
to health, and render it nearly as useful as if you
gave to that the more precious hours of the day.
A little walk of half an hour in the morning, when
you first rise, is advisable also. It shakes
off sleep, and produces other good effects in the
animal economy. Rise at a fixed and an early hour,
and go to bed at a fixed and early hour also.
Sitting up late at night is injurious to the health,
and not useful to the mind. Having ascribed proper
hours to exercise, divide what remain (I mean of your
vacant hours) into three portions. Give the principal
to History, the other two, which should be shorter,
to Philosophy and Poetry. Write to me once every
month or two, and let me know the progress you make.
Tell me in what manner you employ every hour in the
day. The plan I have proposed for you is adapted
to your present situation only. When that is
changed, I shall propose a corresponding change of
plan. I have ordered the following books to be
sent you from London, to the care of Mr. Madison.
Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon’s Hellenics,
Anabasis, and Memorabilia, Cicero’s works, Baretti’s
Spanish and English Dictionary, Martin’s Philosophical
Grammar, and Martin’s Philosophia Britannica.
I will send you the following from hence. Bezout’s
Mathematics, De la Lande’s Astronomy, Muschenbroeck’s
Physics, Quintus Curtius, Justin, a Spanish Grammar,
and some Spanish books, You will observe that Martin,
Bezout, De la Lande, and Muschenbroeck are not in
the preceding plan. They are not to be opened
till you go to the University. You are now, I
expect, learning French. You must push this;
because the books which will be put into your hands
when you advance into Mathematics, Natural Philosophy,
Natural History, &c. will be mostly French, these sciences
being better treated by the French than the English
writers. Our future connection with Spain renders
that the most necessary of the modern languages, after
the French. When you become a public man, you
may have occasion for it, and the circumstance of
your possessing that language may give you a preference
over other candidates. I have nothing further
to add for the present, but husband well your time,
cherish your instructors, strive to make every body
your friend; and be assured that nothing will be so
pleasing, as your success, to, Dear Peter,
LETTER XCVI.—TO JOHN PAGE, August 20 1785
TO JOHN PAGE.
Paris, August 20 1785.
I received your friendly letter of April the 28th,
by Mr. Mazzei, on the 22nd of July. That of the
month before, by Monsieur La Croix, has not come to
hand. This correspondence is grateful to some
of my warmest feelings, as the friendships of my youth
are those which adhere closest to me, and in which
I most confide. My principal happiness is now
in the retrospect of life.