Thoughts, Resolutions and Resolves on Entering The English High School by JP Morgan, Class of 1854
In September of 1851 at the age of 14, future business tycoon John Pierpont Morgan passed the rigorous entrance examination to attend The English High School. To record his thoughts on this auspicious occasion he wrote a remarkable essay. A draft copy of his writing is preserved in The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. It is not known if JP Morgan every produced a final version.
The staff of museum were kind enough to forward a copy of the essay draft, written in Morgan's own hand, to EHSA so that we may share it with EHS alumni and future graduates. This is shown below on this page. EHS alumni Dan Eramian, '66, has been kind enough to transcribe the essay for us.
Text of the essay draft.
Thoughts, Resolutions and Resolves on entering the English High School.
September 26, 1851
On entering the English High School, I can but think that I have to take a great step in my life, and perhaps the greatest that I have taken before.
The purpose of the English High School as most already know is to fit young men for business and the active pursuit of life. They enter this school from more youthful and different schools as appertains to knowledge and the course of studies pursued in each, and also to conduct and training. How important it is then that on entering the High School we should endeavor to do our best both as relates to perseverance and attention to our studies, and respectability in our deportment. For which I will mention a few reasons as showing its important.
In the first place it is probably the last school that I shall attend before going forth into the active pursuits of life, to act and think in all cases for myself. I find necessary that I should obtain a good situation in a store or office of the kind of business I intend to engage in; to get a good one I must have a good character in the school I last attended as no one will want a clerk who is not strictly correct and gentlemanly in his conduct and attentive to his business, which he will not fail if he is attentive to, and perseveres in his studies.
Truth is essential in all business; therefore it is important, yes very important that in school, and out, we should stick to, and never swerve from absolute truth, If we do not our word is never trusted, where ever we may go whatever we say is put no confidence in; and we might even speak the real truth, yet never-the-less having once detected we are always thought to be telling falsehoods, or as the old maxim runs.
“Once detected always suspected.”
Having been decided, able to enter the English High School at the last examination, I thought I would it would be a good and suitable time to make some resolutions which I hope to keep.
I. To respect and obey my teachers in all things.
II. To treat my school-mates as friends, never vexing or troubling them.
III. To speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on all occasions what ever may be the result.
IV. To be attentive to and persevere in my studies,
J. Pierpont Morgan
September 26th, 1851