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Ipswich, April 5, 1831

Misses Stearns & Smith,

  Dear Friends,

Not long since Miss Grant received a communication from you, in which you expressed some doubt about Miss Wade's being qualified to fill the specified department in your seminary. In all the selections of teachers for the west, I believe Miss Grant's exertions have been as unwearied as if she were selecting for our own beloved seminary. (You will recollect that Miss C. S. was not of Miss Grant's selection.) I believe I may add, that after the many opportunities, Miss Grant has enjoyed during the last year of learning the character and demands of the west, she is peculiarly qualified to select teachers who bid fair for success. It is farther a settled principle with Miss Grant, in executing the many com-missions she receives to send forth teachers, to send those who are the best qualified, whether every one of their acquaintances, who is disposed to look into the affair, is pleased or not.

We have done as you requested, in endeavoring to save Miss C. Sawyer's friends from trial. They have, however, had some suspicions, because C. said nothing about removing. What they have written I know not. I thought you might need a little cau-tion on this point, as I observed by Miss Grant's letter from you that C. S. was received as one of the judges of Miss Wade's qualifications. In selecting a teacher for ourselves or others, we always consider it important, that she should be particularly qualified for the department she is immediately to fill, whether she is preeminently qualified for other departments to which she may afterwards be called or not. We consider this principle indispensable in selecting a teacher for a primary department, of an extensive establishment. Much - very much indeed depends on the younger members being kept in order, & on their being taught accurately.

Miss Grant knows 10 times as much of Miss W.'s character & qualifications as you or I do. She has been intimately acquainted with her for a long time, has witnessed her improvement & has assisted her in forming most of her plans, & has known with what skill & success she has been able to execute them. I have had but little personal acquaintance with her till the present winter. Suffice it to say of my opinion, that several weeks ago in talking about teachers for our seminary, I mentioned Miss Wade for the younger department. Miss Grant replied, that she considered her qualified, but that her residence in town, & her acquaintance with the misses of whom she would have the care, would be unfavorable to success. I consider it a peculiar & excellent qualification of Miss W. that she has not studied many things of which she knows nothing, & that she has no pretensions above the reality.

I would not have it understood, that I have no fears about Miss Wade's success. I can say this of no one - not even of the ladies whom I am now addressing, successful as they have been. And as these ladies are so well acquainted with each other, & so well acquainted with me, there can be no harm in my speaking freely, as it will illustrate the fact, that great confidence is consistent with much fear. I did greatly fear about Miss Smith's limited experience, & wanted of firm health, and I feared about as much about some things in Miss Stearns, which I have mentioned to her - such as want of simplicity & accuracy, an inclination to too great zeal without sufficient cause, & a little lack of nice discrimination of character. When we had decided to send these ladies, in whom on the whole, we placed so much confidence, & with whose success we have been so much de-lighted, we did not consider it expedient to trouble &discourage by our own fears.

To take the entire charge of a primary department, to direct
their studies, form their habits and improve their manners, Miss W. must I think excel one of these ladies in experience, & the other in simplicity & accuracy. One more comparison, & I have done on this point. Perhaps none would value Miss Capen's talents, thourough education, & excellent qualifications more than I,  but I must confess that I have less fears about Miss Wade's success in that particular department, than I should have in Miss Capen's. I have not that evidence before me, that Miss Capen has ever been called to labor where she had done as much, with as much success, to manage difficult dispositions as Miss Wade.  Neither do I think she has so much simplicity, in communicating instruction in a manner peculiarly profitable to little misses.  Though Miss Wade's knowledge is not as extensive as Miss Capen's, yet we should consider it amply sufficient to fill a similar department in our seminary.

You fully understand that on the whole, I should place Miss Capen among the first ladies with whom I am acquainted.

I do fear about Miss Wade's health, but not more than I did about Miss Smith's. Her physician says there is no danger, & her abundant & unceasing labors, prove her to be the greatest sufferer. She is retiring & modest in her manner, not inclined to bring herself forward, excellent qualifications for a teacher of little girls, who at the best have sufficient pride and forwardness. Tho she is persevering, yet she has so much sensibility & tenderness of feeling, that I could not have her placed where she would not receive the confidence of those around her, where she would meet mysterious suspicious looks.

I must acknowledge that under existing circumstances I have felt reluctant to have Miss W. go. I have greatly feared that there would be something in your manner, which you could not overcome, or that Mr. Pomroy might have received so unfavorable an impression, that he would be unprepared to estimate her worth or to repose in her that confidence so necessary to her success. But Miss Grant says as Mr. Pomroy in his last letter has finally committed the whole to her judgment, she cannot do justice to Mr. Pomroy and to her seminary by withholding Miss W. without a sufficient reason. She also says that as she has so much confidence in Mr. Pomroy's kindness & candor, & knows so much of both of you, that she thinks she shall do justice to Miss W. by sending her among you saying nothing to her of the whole affair, hoping that she will never know anything about it. She has gone, and you can believe me if I say that I never had such feelings for any of our pupils who have gone forth to labor in a far distant field.  My heart yearned over her, & I longed to tell her the whole matter & to say to her that she was going away not knowing what things would befall her. But I could forbear, & I did.

And now, my dear Misses Stearns & Smith, I do not ask that you secure the friendship of Miss C. S., for perhaps that cannot be, but will you, my very dear friends, receive her [Miss W.] as a sister? Will you treat her with affection? nay more, will you treat her with confidence? Will you do all you can to lead Mr. P. to confide the responsibility of her department to herself? Will you avoid talking very much even when alone about little defects in her which can be found in abundance even in the best of us? In short, will you endeavor to place yourselves in her stead, & be all that the golden rule requires?

Your affectionate friend,

Mary Lyon.

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