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Title:[Letter] 1848 Mar. 5, Berlin [to] A. J. Donelson [Jr.] / A. J. Donelson : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Donelson, A. J.

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: March 5, 1848
Extent: 4p
Summary:This is a letter from Andrew Jackson Donelson, then serving as ambassador to Prussia, to his son of the same name, dated March 5, 1848. The father writes that he is going to obtain vacation time for his son from President Polk so that he may visit his family in Berlin. Donelson advises his son against accruing more debts and to learn to live within his financial means. He writes much on how and why to keep track of one's finances.
Collection:A. J. Donelson Papers
Box: I-D-3

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[added: Mch [March] 5, 1848]My dear Son.

Your letter of the last of February is received. I shall write to the President by the next Packet, and ask for a furlough which will enable you to visit us: and in the mean time I must economise [economize] so as to be able to send you the money which you say will be needed to pay your debts.

I am unable, my lov [love], to pay to recover without great sacrifices from the folly of former [unclear]

Let it be your maxim in the commencement of your career

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to live within your means. Consider that the basis of all morality and religion. The fatal error in my life was to be seduced into habits which were beyond my income.

You have done well and I am delighted with the belief which your past conduct justifies that you have the mind and heart enough to secure your advancement and the means of support. But you can never do so unless you are able to execute the resolve that you will in future contract no debts. If you have only fifty cents per day it is as much a religious duty to spend less than that sum as it is to abstain

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from the grossest immorality.

When you receive the money which will pay your debts, discharge them and take receipts. Buy a little book in which to make a record of your daily expenses: and reserve some portion of it to state your income or pay. Consult this book always before you make a purchase and see whether you have the money to pay with. If you have not the money reject the article as you would a Rattle snake. It is better to go barefooted than to wear shoes which you cannot pay for. Enter into a covenant with God, my son, to keep this resolution. He will in his mercy bless your exertions and ultimately give you the means

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not only to feed and clothe yourself but to assist those whose imprudence or misfortune has made poor and friendless.

Remember this advice.

We are all well. I will write again by the next Packet.

Accept my prayers for your health and the love and best wishes of all your brother & sisters

Yr. affty [Yours affectionately]
A J [Andrew Jackson] Donelson
Berlin 5th March 1848Cadet A J Donelson }

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