Dr. Francis Burdette Parmele 1815-1883
Henry, Joel, Nehemiah, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

his stampless, wax-sealed letter was written to Frank from Philo Cole, his brother-in-law,

The 1836 letter was found in a box of letters sold at a garage sale. The box had a label from the Smythe Books & Stationery store in Columbus, Ohio.

Albany, [N.Y.], Sept. 31 [18]'36

Dear Brother,

The brief call which Henry Smythe makes upon us prompts me to fulfil an intention I had too long postponed, to write to you in reply to the last letter you rec'd from you.

You ask my opinion of your relinquishing the pursuit of science for that of commerce. I will tell you candidly that I was rather rejoiced than otherwise to be informed of it. Pleasing as may be the certain station of a life spent in ... acquiring knowledge. I much doubt whether the experience of a practicing physician does not seem in a contrary direction. He is compelled to witness the sufferings and listen to the miseries of his fellow men, and most of his intercourse with the world presents to his view, poor human nature under the most adverse circumstances and of course in its worst aspect.

From what I think I know of you, I should consider you unfitted for such a life, or rather that you are better fitted for some other sphere. You might perhaps, like our Dr. Beck, ...

... hold your diploma and carry your title, but confine your practice to the closet, and obtain your livelihood by "teaching the young idea (?) how to shoot," but I apprehend you would soon become tired of such a lot as falls to nine-tenths of those who practice the healing arts.

I have no idea, however, that you are to narrow your mind to the calculation of the profits on a yard of calico or that you will ever be so entirely engrossed by the business you are engaged in that some hams (?) may not be spared to mental cultivation and enjoyment.

And there is no more useful nor dignified character than that of an enlightened merchant, whose opinions are quoted as authority by those of less information, and whose integrity is known and relied upon by the whole community. Such a man you may become, and such I hope to see you.

I have often thought that the merchants in this country were more ignorant as a class, even than the mechanics - ignorant I mean, of what peculiarly belongs to their occupation. The whole science of political economy is a necessary ...


... branch of study to a man who though understands the reasons for the fluctuations of markets and variations in the value of the circulating medium. Such a knowledge would have saved the merchants of this country two years ago from the disgrace of having embraced the vampyre that was sucking their blood.

But this, you will say is political. A truce to the subject.

I do not know whether Caroline intends to write or not. If not, I need only say that we and all our friends are in good health.

I must closet in this abrupt manner for I have said, I expect, "an infinite deal of nothing." I only meant to say that I am glad to hear of your good prospects, and hope often to hear of your well doing in every respect.

Yr Brother, Philo Cole

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