James E. B. Austin to Emily M. Perry, 11-10-1825

Summary: Biographical. Business education recommended.

San Felipe de Austin Novr. 10th. 1825.

My Dr. Sister.

An opportunity offers of sending this to Natchitoches and as I shall leave this place in a few days to establish myself below I concluded to drop you a line for fear I shall not soon have another opportunity. I wrote you a few days since and so did Brother— Since then he has had a severe attack of the billious fever, but I am happy to say he has recovered, altho he still continues very weak. You must not omit writing me often altho I may not have so frequent opportunities of hearing from or writing to you when I remove down the river I hope you will nevertheless let no opportunity miss without writing. When I write you I have matter so little interesting that you must excuse the shortness of my letters, but any thing from my dear Emily is always new and interesting to me —immured as I shall soon be in the woods by myself. I hope the Boys progress rapidly in their studies, they ought all to be raised men of Business how much I lament that my father did not place me in a situation where I could have obtained some certain method of Supporting myself instead of pursuing the course he did. Therefore do my Sister place your boys in some situation, severally as they arrive at a proper age, whereby they may gain a correct knowledge of some kind of bussness, when they arrive at an age when it will become necessary for them to enter into the World for themselves—In one of your former letters you mention a proposel made by Guy Bryan of Phila. to provide for Guy— you know your own feelings as a mother best but if the opinion of a Brother is desired—I would recommend it by all means— Austin I would like to educate myself if I was able—and if ever I am (which I have a flattering prospect of at present) I will do something for him—but in the mean time I would like to see the foundation laid for his future welfare and the first step towards it is as soon as he gets a little older to place him in some mercantile house untill he is 21 years of age— You may think your brother perhaps too plain but I have long since found out that time rolls fast youth passes and manhood approaches apace—They are now young and you have time to mark out the path they are to pursue either to plenty and ease or to wretchedness and want— I will merely refer you to Brother and myself if he had not fortunately succeeded in this enterprise what would have become of us. Neither of us had any certain means of support. We can profit by the errors of our father without casting any undutiful reflections on his memory— It is time to throw away vain foolish pride I have banished it from me intirely I confess I once possessed a large share, as is natural for Youths in the situation I then thought myself— they all aught to be raised merchants it is no shame or dishonor to bind them untill they are of an age to act and think for themselves

If you can bind Austin in a Commercial house in the importing business do so, and [that] will be more to his advantage and future prospects where he can learn the French Language he can afterwards learn Spanish in this Country— if I live and prosperBrother sends his love to you—

Jas. B Austin

P. S. Kiss the little stranger for me and Mary

[Addressed:] Mrs. Emily M. Perry. Potosi. Missouri. Mail.