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Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 2. by Matthew L. Davis

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You will now see your boy in a few days, and you will really be very
much pleased with him. He is a sweet little rascal. If Heaven grant
him but to live, I shall never repent what he has cost me. Adieu.



New-York, October 15, 1802.

In my letter of yesterday I said nothing of your son. He is well, and
growing as you could wish. If I can see without prejudice, there never
was a finer boy.

Of yourself I have a good deal to say; more than I can find time to
write, and some things which cannot be written. Except the little
practical knowledge which you may have gained by mingling with your
committee-men, &c., your summer and autumn have, I perceive, been
lost--lost, I mean, as to literary acquirements. From your companions,
I presume, little is to be gained save the pastime of a social hour.
Yet time goes on, and you have much to do.

To the execution of any project, however, health is a sine qua non.
Whether you can ever enjoy it in Charleston or on Sullivan's Island
has become a problem in my mind. I was quite shocked with your wan
appearance when I first met you last spring. How different from that
which you took hence the fall preceding. With every advantage
attainable in your climate, you have scarcely been free from fever
during the season. This cannot fail to debilitate both mind and body.
If these hazards are to be annually encountered with similar effects,
and worse may be apprehended, it is a price far beyond the value of
any benefits which Charleston can offer. The _mountains_, a more
_Northern latitude_, or the _grave_, must be your refuge. Pray think
of these things. If I should not go to South Carolina this fall, nor
you come hither, let us meet in Washington next winter. After the
rising of your legislature, you may find time for that journey. But I
should prefer to see you here immediately after your election, if
there be time for your return before the session of the legislature.
Your health must require this change. _Here_ you may freeze out all
your "miasmata" and surplus bile in ten days, and go to Columbia with
nerves well strung and blood well purified.

My solicitude for your frequent appearance in courts is _no way_
diminished. The applause which I heard bestowed upon you sunk into my
heart. I could distinguish that which you merited from the fulsome
eulogy which was uttered through politeness. Your talent for writing
is enviable, and, with cultivation, will be unrivalled (nothing
without cultivation, remember). No one wishes so ardently as I do, not
even you, that these advantages should be improved. But these
considerations are unimportant compared with those which regard your

If you should leave Charleston, give special orders about your
letters, for I may write what I should wish no one but you to see.
Affectionately adieu.



New-York, November 5, 1802.

The cold weather of the last ten days has had a happy effect on
Theodosia. She is so far restored that I can with confidence assure
you she will return in health. The boy, too, grows fat and rosy with
the frost. They have taken passage in the brig Enterprise, Captain
Tombs, the same with whom we came last June. She will have the control
of the cabin, and will be perfectly well accommodated. I regret she
will sail so soon (the 12th), as well because I cannot attend her as
that I could have wished her health and that of the boy to have been
still more confirmed. Yet I cannot any longer resist her impatience.
You must not delay your journey to Columbia in expectation of her
arrival. It is important that you be on the ground the first day, and
it is to be desired that you could be there two or three days before
the commencement of the session. If you should be gone, she projects
to follow you, of which I advise you, that you may leave your
directions. When you shall see her and son, you will not regret this
five months' separation. I rejoice that you are to meet Major Pinckney
on the floor of your assembly. "_The Citizen_" (Cheetham and
Denniston's), in publishing a list of members chosen in Charleston and
its vicinity, omitted your name; but took care to add, by way of
extract from a pretended letter, that the Alstons were of no
consideration or influence in South Carolina. There is no bound to the
malice of these people. The conspiracy was formed last winter at
Washington. A little reflection will indicate to you the description
of men, the motives, and the object of this combination.

Apologize for me to Ch. Marshall that I do not fulfil my engagement to
accompany him from Charleston to Washington. I hope you will bring him
with you.

Would Charles Lee accept the place of secretary of the Senate? It is
worth twenty-three hundred dollars per annum, and not laborious. The
secretary, you know, is chosen by the Senate. Otis, the present
incumbent, will probably decline. If you should think that Lee would
desire it, and the thing should appear to you proper, it should be
suggested to your senators. Of the legislative subjects mentioned in
one of your letters, I hope to find time to say a word on Sunday (7th
inst.). God bless you.



New-York, December 4, 1802.

So you arrived on the 24th, after a passage of ten days; you and the
Charleston packet on the same day. All this I learned last night; not
from you. Vanderlyn and I drank a bottle of Champagne on the occasion.

Though this relieves me from the great anxiety under which I laboured,
still there are many details of your passage, your arrival, &c., on
which nothing but your letter can satisfy me. For some unknown reason,
the mail is now eighteen days on the road.

Vanderlyn has finished your picture in the most beautiful style
imaginable. When it was done, he exclaimed with enthusiasm, "There is
the best work I have ever done in America."

Your letter must be addressed to Washington. The dear little boy, I
hope, made a good sailor. Adieu.



New-York, December 16, 1802.

Your letter of the 26th November came yesterday, that of the 25th the
day preceding. You see, therefore, that twenty-one days had elapsed
from the time of your arrival to the receipt of your first letter.
This is not by way of reproach, for it is an unpleasant truth that,
for the last six or eight weeks, the Charleston mail has been twenty
days on the way. Had it not been for the intelligence by water of your
safe arrival, we should have concluded that you and Kate [1] were now
dancing with Amphitrite. How jealous her majesty would have been at
the presence of two such rivals.

The day after you left us, though the weather was mild, not even a
frost, the leaves of the trees about the house began to fall, and in
three days they were as bare as in midwinter, though you may recollect
that you left them in perfect verdure. This, I am sure, was sympathy
and regret. I shall respect these trees for their sensibility. It was
in harmony with my feelings; for, truly, all was dreary.

Yes, I enter into all your little vexations; but while I write, and
long before, they probably have passed away, and are succeeded by new
ones. Kate will help you to laugh them off. Kiss her for me. Not a
word, not a line from your husband since the 30th of October. We
ought, nay, we must, every day add something to our experience, and
usually at some cost.

I expect to leave this in about a week. Henceforth, therefore, address
me at Washington. On my arrival there we will begin to talk of our
spring and summer plans. You did well, very well to give up the
Columbia project. I really wish you had given the pair of horses in
your own name. In all such cases, that which is most grateful to you
will be so to me. Butter shall be sent. The card plate must be

_Maybe_ I may write you from Philadelphia; not again from this city,
unless I should receive from you something very pretty. Vanderlyn
projects to visit Charleston, but I am sure he will not. He is run
down with applications for portraits, all of which, without
discrimination, he refuses. He is greatly occupied in finishing his
Niagara views, which, --indeed, will do him honour. They will be four
in number, and he thinks of having them engraved in France. You hear
the roaring of the cataract when you look at them. Kiss the dear
little boy. Adieu, ma belle.



Washington, January 26, 1803.

Your last letter, and the only one received within a month, is dated
the 14th inst., and written, I suppose, at your plantation. It gives
me the satisfaction of knowing that you and your boy are well, and
nothing more. How long you are to remain there, where next to go, and
every thing leading to a knowledge of your occupations and intentions,
is omitted. One half of the letter is a complaint of my silence, and
the other half (nearly) an apology for yours, You know (or am I now to
tell you) that you and your concerns are the highest, the dearest
interest I have in this world; one in comparison with which all others
are insignificant.

Recollect, my dear Theodosia, that in five weeks Congress will adjourn
(3d March); that I shall then go in some direction, but in what is yet
unsettled; that my movements will depend essentially on yours. Tell
me, therefore, where you are to pass the summer, when you are to leave
Charleston, and all the details. If these matters should not yet be
settled, let it be forthwith done. If you are not to go northward, it
is not probable that I shall see you in some time, for I have thoughts
of going on a tour through the western country, which, if executed,
will consume the whole summer. I offer you and your family Richmond
Hill for the season, and will meet you there in May or June, or when
you please. Perhaps would come to make the voyage with you, by land or
water. Sullivan's Island will not, I hope, be thought of. How is it
that I have not a line from _Mari_, in answer to several letters which
I wrote him from New-York?

I entreat you to answer this letter distinctly, and in all its parts;
for there will not be time for another letter and reply before I shall
be off. My love to Kate. You do not say whether she grows handsome or
ugly, nor is it any matter which while on the plantation.

I can't conceive how you all stow yourselves in that little wreck of a
mansion. Please to write over, in some way, the erased part of your
letter. You must be very destitute of wit and contrivance. No essence
in Washington. I still prefer musk, but not to be had. One would think
you had suffered some injury from perfumes. Your message and
commission to Mrs. Madison will be delivered. My mode of life,
establishment, &c., are the same as last year, except that I bought a
chariot, having some hope of seeing you and your husband here. As I
shall not write again until I hear where you are, I may as well say
now all that occurs to me.

On my way through Philadelphia I rode out to Lansdown, to see our
beautiful little K. and Mrs. L. They appear to love you with all their
hearts. K. especially talked of you with an interest which could not
be affected. The ladies find fault with her dress, her person, her
manners; in short, with every thing appertaining to her. Mrs. L. has
also her full share of the eulogium. K. is _toujours belle_. At
Wilmington I did not see friend S. She had gone to church. God bless



Washington, February 23, 1803.

It is from me, my dear sir, that apologies are due; but you have
kindly anticipated all I could make. I thank you for this instance of
your goodness; for your friendly recollection; above all, for the
justice you do to my heart and feelings. Your last letter has been
received. It is without date, and came by the mail of yesterday. You
see that I am resolved not to furnish a new occasion for apologies by
further negligence. Whether, after the adjournment, I shall go North
or South, is yet undetermined. If northward, I propose to take the
route which you had the goodness to describe, and to pass at least
some hours with you. I shall insist on a dish of lillipee, in order to
give a more dramatic effect to the review which we will take of past

Dearborn, now minister of war, was our fellow-traveller through the
wilderness. If you will designate more particularly the papers you
wish to recover, I will with pleasure make search for them. Accept, I
pray you, the assurance of my undiminished regard and esteem.



Clifton, March 17, 1802.

Ever since the date of my last letter, for it was not forwarded till
some days after, I have been quite ill; till within these two or three
days totally unable to write. The whole family, as well as myself, had
begun to think pretty seriously of my last journey; but, fortunately,
I have had the pleasure of keeping them up a few nights, and drawing
forth all their sensibility, without giving them the trouble of
burying, mourning, &c.

I was one night so ill as to have lost my senses in a great measure;
about daylight, as a last resource, they began plying me with old
wine, and blisters to my feet. But, on recovering a little, I kicked
off the blisters, and declared I would be dressed; be carried in the
open air, and have free use of cold water. I was indulged. I was
carried below, where I drank plentifully of cold water, and I had my
face, neck, and arms bathed with it, and it assisted most
astonishingly in recovering me. The day before yesterday I was put on
a bed in a boat and brought here. The change of air and scene have
assisted me wonderfully. I am again getting well. Indeed, the rapidity
with which I gain strength surprises the whole family. The secret is,
that my constitution is good. I exert myself to the utmost, feeling
none of that pride, so common to my sex, of being weak and ill.
Delicacy and debility are sometimes fascinating when affected by a
coquette, adorned with the freshness of health; but a pale, thin face;
sunken, instead of languishing eyes; and a form, evidently tottering,
not gracefully bending, never, I suspect, made, far less could they
retain a conquest, or even please a friend. I therefore encourage
spirits, try to appear well, and am rewarded. In a few days I shall be
on the high road to health. Mari is well, and the boy charming. Adieu.



Philadelphia, June 3, 1903.

I have only to announce my safe arrival yesterday noon. Went forthwith
to see the B.'s. They were all out of town. Will be back to-day.

Send me the number of volumes of the American Encyclopedia. I wish to
complete the set, and must, therefore, know the deficiencies. I have
seen none of your acquaintance save the Biddles. To-morrow (if I
should in the mean time receive a letter from you) I shall add
something. You are the two most spiritless young persons I ever knew.
Pray muster up energy enough to do something more than lounge on
sofas. Go on Sunday to Ludlow's. Ask some of your friends often to
dine with you. There is a little boy right opposite my window who has
something of the way of "mammy's treasure." Don't be jealous; not half
so handsome. I have had him over to my room, and have already taught
him to _bang_. Adieu.



New-York, June 4, 1803.

Encore stupid. For Heaven's sake, what do you imagine I can find to
say once a day that is worth saying, shut up thus, either tinkling on
the harp or holding a tete-a-tete conversation? You must, indeed, have
a high opinion of my genius and the fertility of my imagination.

Pray how do you advance? Heavy business, is it not? I beg you will
perform your promise, and write me the history of it. I'll bind it in
red morocco, and keep it for the advantage and instruction of the boy.
Adieu. Do not forget my commission, and return soon.



Philadelphia, June 5, 1803.

I received yesterday your first letter. Pray no more apologies about
your stupidity, &c., because on that subject I am perfectly informed.
Be pleased to recollect that your letters cannot be answered the day
they are received. We are now even. I wrote you on Friday.

I went this morning to see L. and Keene. The former, as usual, polite,
friendly, and cheerful. The latter something improved by a very slight
acquisition of embonpoint; so very slight, however, as not to be
obvious to common optics. They will pass their summer at their present
residence, and I have almost promised that you shall make them a

But I should have narrated in the order of events according to their
dates or in the order of the importance. Neither hath been observed,
which argues ill of my temper of mind for the principal pursuit. Cette
----- spoils me. From that intercourse I return faintly to the line of
duty. On Friday I saw the inamorata, and it happened as we had feared;
for really I did not know whom I had the honour to address; nor could
I, with certainty, discover during the interview, for I saw but one.
The appearance was pleasing. There was something pensive and
interesting. It exceeded my expectations. It was a visit of ceremony,
and passed off as such. This day I met the whole four at dinner. My
attentions were pointed, and met a cheerful return. There was more
sprightliness than before. Le pere leaves town to-morrow for eight
days, and I am now meditating whether to take the fatal step
to-morrow. I falter and hesitate, which you know is not the way. I
tremble at the success I desire. You will not know my determination
till Wednesday. In the mean time I crave your prayers.

I entreat you to ride about. Your monotonous life can never restore
your health; nay, it is hostile to recovery. The business part of my
journey assumes some importance, but the result is uncertain. Adieu.



Philadelphia, June 6, 1803.

The plot thickens, and I do not find it possible to communicate
faithfully the details, without hazarding too much in case of loss of
the letter. Something, however, may be said.

I called at the house this morning; before I had asked for any one in
particular, the servant bid me in, and in a few minutes Inamorat sole
appeared. This looked like secret understanding or sympathy; perhaps,
however, it was only as head and representative of the family. She
looked well; but, unfortunately, a trifling carelessness in dress had
nearly concluded the farce. Recollecting, however, that they were
packing up for a temporary removal, to take place this very day, an
apology was obvious. Having made to myself the apology, I went
further, and found that there was politeness, _at least_, in receiving
me, and in so prompt an attendance under such circumstances. After ten
minutes le pere came in; conversation became general, and I took

Returning home, and pondering on the subject most profoundly for full
five minutes, I boldly took up my pen, and wrote le pere that I wished
a few minutes' conversation with him at his own house in the course of
the day. Within an hour he was at _my room_ to receive the
communication. Now paint to yourself a desperate miscreant on the
point of committing self-murder, trembling with anxiety, choking for
want of utterance, &c. Having formed the portrait to your own taste, I
must tell you that there was no such figure. The salutations, on
meeting, passed as usual. An expression or two of sensibility to the
courtesy which anticipated so promptly the intended visit, and then
some unembarrassed direct questions and monosyllabic answers. "Is
----- under any engagement?" _None_. "Would it be agreeable to you
that ----- should make overtures?" &c. _Certainly_. A very
complimentary thing, however, was said by le pere. It was agreed that
the suiter should make known his pretensions, he (le pere) declining
to intermeddle. _End of the first act_.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters, both
dated June 4. Evidently they cost you great labour.

June 7.

I left this open that I might acknowledge the receipt of one by this
morning's mail. I am gratified to have it in my power. The accident to
the harp has been very fortunate, inasmuch as it enabled you to make
out a long letter on the subject. However it may be broken, nothing is
so easy to be repaired. Kiss dear little _bang_.



Philadelphia, June 7, 1803.

As you were informed yesterday, my _Celeste_ has gone with the family
(le pere excepted) to pass a fortnight six miles from town. I go
to-morrow morning to recommend myself; and that no time may be wasted,
and these six mile rides may not be too often repeated to no purpose,
I shall not go much round about the subject, but come pretty directly
to the point; of all which you will be duly informed.

Truly, if my head be as confused as my narrative, it will be of little
use to me in the negotiation. I should have begun by relating what
happened this morning. There are, however, two ways of telling a
story. One by beginning with the oldest event, and so travelling down
to the close of the tale, and this is the mode commonly used by
philosophers and historians. The other, is by commencing with the most
recent fact or earliest incident, which is the mode universally
practised by lovers, and, generally, by poets. I could even quote
Homer and Virgil as authorities in support of this latter method.
Further I may add, that this retro-progressive arrangement seems more
congenial with the temper and feelings of the fair sex. Thus, you see,
most ladies turn first to the last chapter of a novel or romance. In
defence of this practice I could dilate to the utmost extent of many
sheets; but, intending soon to publish an essay on the subject, I
leave for the present the residue to your reflections, and return to
the interview of this morning.

I was admitted without hesitation, and was presently joined by
Celeste, though I had not particularized any one as the object of my
visit. For some minutes she led the conversation, and did it with
grace and sprightliness, and with admirable good sense. I made several
attempts to divert it to other subjects--subjects which might have
nearer affinity, again, to others; unsuccessfully, however; yet,
whether I was foiled through art or accident, I could not discover. Be
assured she is much superior to l'ainee.

"I would be wooed, and, not unsought, be won."

So I conjectured she thought, and she was right.



Philadelphia, June 8, 1803.

I told you the negotiation should not be long. It is
finished--concluded--for ever abandoned--_liber sum_. Celeste never
means to marry; "firmly resolved." I am very sorry to hear it, madam;
had promised myself great happiness, but cannot blame your
determination. "No, certainly, sir, you cannot; for I recollect to
have heard you express surprise that any woman would marry, &c., and
you gave such reasons, and with so much eloquence, as made an
indelible impression on my mind." Have you any commands to town,
madam? I wish you a good-morning. _End of the second and last act_.

The interview was about an hour. Celeste was greatly agitated;
behaved, however, with great propriety. The parting was full of
courtesy, and there is reason to hope that there will be no hanging or

I dined to-day chez Rush. The two elder daughters are in Canada. The
little Julia, now about ten, is growing up very lovely and _tres
gentile_. Afterward called to see your friend, Mrs. Stewart, and her
beautiful daughter. She is really beautiful. To-morrow I dine chez la

The law business goes on slowly; may be finished about Tuesday next,
after which I shall hasten to those who love me, when I shall
endeavour to rouse them from their lethargy, and give them a little
zest for life. Just now I recollect that I have no letter from you
this morning, at which I was confoundedly vexed. I stop, therefore,
and shall withhold even this for a day, by way of punishment. You will
say that you were not well, that you were engaged in company, that the
servant neglected to take the letter, or some such trite thing. All
nonsense. Bon soir.

Thursday morning.

Your letter of Tuesday, containing the history of the dinner, is
received this morning. Truly, I think that Mr. and Mrs. Moore and Clem
might, with any tolerable aid, have made the dinner gay. Mr. and Mrs.
Moore have both a great deal of wit, and are both well bred. Clem is
by no means deficient. It must, therefore, have been the fault of
yourself and husband. If the harp is not essentially injured, I would
not purchase a new one. Kiss little _bang_.



New-York, June 9, 1803.

I received yesterday your three letters of the 5th and 6th. They made
me laugh, yet I pity you, and have really a fellow feeling for you.
Poor little Rippy, so you are mortgaged! But you bear it charmingly;
do you think this courage will last, or is it only a spasm? Spasmodic
love. It is really quite new. The trifling incident in relation to
dress you must pardon. I am a _connoisseur_ in these things, and can
assure you they are very pardonable.

I am all anxiety and impatience for to-day's mail. But it surprises me
that _primo mobile_ is forgotten. Pray, have you lived altogether on
pepper? We shall ride to Montalto this afternoon, and you shall know
our reception. I am too anxious for my letters to add a word more.
Poor Starling!



Philadelphia, June 10, 1803.

Yesterday I dined chez la Raz; a very pleasant party. The farce of
eight days past had been forgotten, or recollected only as a dream.

Just as I sit down to write to you I receive a note from Celeste,
advising me that she is in town for a few hours, and will be happy to
see me. What in the name of love and matrimony can this mean? The
conclusion was definitive, and a mutual promise that neither would
ever renew the subject. I am all impatience, and I go to hear. You
shall know to-morrow.



New-York, June 10, 1803.

My apology for not writing this morning is enclosed. We have been
dining with Mrs. Laight to-day, and have been much amused. We are to
take them, with Miss Laight and Miss Brown, in curricle and coachee to
Montalto to-morrow afternoon. We are absolutely two demonstrations of
two laws in mechanics. When we repose it requires a great exertion to
move us, and when put in motion we go on.

My interruption last evening prevented me from wishing you joy at the
declaration of independence. What are your plans now. Cher petit pere,
the boy kisses you; but I do not, because you remain so long in



1. Her cousin, Catharine Brown, daughter of Dr. Joseph Brown.



Philadelphia, June 11, 1803.

_Continuation of the Story of the Loves of Reubon and Celeste_.

Your recollection must be recalled to the fatal and decisive interview
of Wednesday. The result only was stated in a former letter. It would
have required too much time to compress into the compass of one or two
sheets a conversation of two hours. The details are therefore omitted;
but a circumstance which will increase your surprise at the incident
related yesterday morning is, that, on Wednesday night, Reubon
received by the hands of a servant of Celeste, sent for the sole
purpose seven miles, a letter from her, couched in civil terms, but
expressing "an unalterable determination never to listen again to his
suit, and requesting that the subject might never be renewed." Reubon
returned home late last evening, and was told that a boy had been
three times in the course of the afternoon and evening to deliver him
a message, but refused to say from whom he came. The last time the
servant of Reubon traced the boy to the house of Celeste in town. It
was not known that Celeste had been that day in town, and no
conjecture could be formed as to the owner of the boy or the object of
his message. The note received by Reubon this morning explains the
mystery. The letter which I wrote you by the mail left Reubon puzzling
his brain to discover the meaning of that note, and just going out to
obey the challenge which it conveyed. He went, as you were apprized,
and has just now returned and communicated what you shall now hear.

Some years ago, a worthy country judge, having heard a cause very
ingeniously debated by lawyers on each side, when he came to charge
the jury, did it in the words following: "Gentlemen of the jury, you
must get along with this cause as well as you can; for my part, I am
swamp'd." Now Reubon is exactly in the case of this judge, and I am at
a loss what to advise him. You could unravel this thing in five
minutes. Would to God you were here; but to the story.

He found Celeste with a visitor; some female neighbour, who sat a full
half hour. Celeste betrayed considerable agitation when Reubon came
in, and the most palpable impatience at the long stay of the lady
visitor. At length she went, and the parties were alone. As she had
desired the interview, it was her place to speak first. After a pause
and several efforts, she, with some trepidation, said that she feared
the letter which she had writen had not been expressed in terms
sufficiently polite and respectful; she had wished an opportunity to
apologize; and here she stuck. Reubon ought in mercy and in politeness
to have taken up the conversation; but he, expecting no such thing,
was taken by surprise, and remained dumb, with a kind of half grin.
The duette, at this moment, would have made a charming subject for the
pencil of Vanderlyn. Celeste was profoundly occupied in tearing up
some roses which she held in her hand, and Reubon was equally
industrious in twirling his hat, and pinching some new corners and
angles in the brim. At length he recovered himself so far as to gain
utterance. He denied, plumply, that there was want of politeness or
respect in the letter; and, after many awkward detours and
half-finished sentences, he said he would return the letter, and would
consider it as cancelling the determination which it contained, and
proposed to call on her in the country to-morrow morning to renew his
suit. This was _faintly_ opposed. He changed the course of
conversation, without insisting on a formal permission or refusal, and
then went into the subject of celibacy and matrimony, and passed an
hour tete-a-tete. It may be worth noting that, towards the close of
the conversation, some one knocked, and that she went out and ordered
the servant to deny her, from which it may be inferred that she was
not disagreeably engaged, and that she did not wish to be interrupted.

Now, ma Minerve, is not this a very ridiculous posture for so grave an
affair? And is not Reubon in a way to be coquetted, with his eyes
open? I rather think he erred in giving to the apology of Celeste any
other meaning than she literally expressed. Thus he might have
compelled her to be more explicit. On the other hand, if she did in
fact repent, and so suddenly, it would seem too harsh and fastidious
to shut the door against all treaty and negotiation. Upon the whole,
however, I conclude that if she wished, for any kind reason, to
retreat, she should have gone further, and held out something like
encouragement; in short, have met him half way. It may, I know, be
replied, that her habits of life and singular education forbid every
thing like advance; and that a lady may always presume that her lover,
if sincere, will seize the slightest ground for hope; and that, in the
logic of love, an equivocal refusal is assent. Certainly, this last
interview has been illy managed on the part of Reubon, but I have not
yet resolved what to advise. This is left open till morning, when
perhaps a word may be added.

Saturday morning.

From the state of things it is obvious that there can, at this hour,
be no new fact to communicate; but I have no longer any doubts as to
the meaning of the late scene, nor as to the line of conduct to be
pursued by Reubon. The note of Celeste is one of those trifling
incidents which are too small for calculation, which may have arisen
from the trifling motive assigned. Perhaps from a little spirit of
coquetry, perhaps a mere piece of sport. He shall, therefore, take no
further notice of it; not even to go out this morning to see her, as
he had solicited and engaged; and, when he shall next meet her, make
some slight apology. Thus the thing is settled.



Philadelphia, June 12, 1803.

I am weary, and so must you be, of this story of Reubon and Celeste.
It is, however, closed, and you will, after this letter, hear no more
of it.

Reubon agreed to comport himself in the manner advised in my last.
Immediately after this determination, Celeste sent a servant to inform
him that she was in town! He called to see her; returned the offensive
letter, and told her that, as he understood that it was the manner and
not the substance of the letter which had induced her to recall it, it
would be quite unnecessary for her to take the trouble of writing
another. They talked of indifferent matters. Reubon, quite at ease,
played the man of the world, and, in my opinion, the man of sense.
Before they parted, her face was flushed like a full-blown rose. She
begged his permission to destroy the letter, which was certainly a
very useless request, considering that the letter was wholly in her
power. During the interview, Celeste, having no roses to occupy her
hands, twisted off two corners of a pocket-handkerchief.

This reference (the law business), of which I informed you something,
has become extremely troublesome and disagreeable. I am apprehensive
that it will detain me here nearly the whole of this week.

Binny looks remarkably well, and talks much about you. Dennis and
wife, from Savannah, are here. _Madame est toujours belle_. I can't
express to you my impatience to be with you, your husband, and little
one. Truly I think with horror of passing five days more here. Pray
form no plans of distant rides until my return.



New-York, June 14, 1803.

As to Celeste, _voila mon_ opinion. She meant, from the beginning, to
say that awful word--_yes_; but not choosing to say it immediately,
she told you that _you_ had furnished her with arguments against
matrimony, which in French means, Please, sir, to persuade me out of
them again. But you took it as a plump refusal, and walked off. She
called you back. What more could she do? I would have seen you to
Japan before I should have done so much. I still, however, like your
plan. My opinion is not, perhaps, well founded, and it is best to be
on the safe side. If she is determined to be kind, she will find out a
way of expressing it, or she is not worth having. I am quite pleased
with her, and am waiting the arrival of the mail with the utmost

"Treasure" is well, notwithstanding all predictions on my folly in his
dress. You must be home for my birthday, (the 20th inst.), or I'll
never forgive you; or, rather, I shall not spend it pleasantly.



Philadelphia, June 16, 1803.

No letter by this mail; being the fourth omission and violation of
promise since the 1st inst.

The birthday must be kept. It shall be "honoured by my presence." You
will therefore make your preparations, and, among other articles for
your feast or party, I recommend two fiddlers, not barbecued or
roasted, but _en plein vie_.

If this should be received on Friday morning, in season to be answered
by that day's mail, I beg to have a line from you, if only a _bon
jour_; after which, no more letters can be received. You shall not
have any distant parties or jaunts until I can partake. I am even
jealous of the Fort Washington tour. Indeed, you can't go there
without me, for no one can so well show you the ground.

If Mr. Kane and his wife (late Miss Clarke) should be in town, pray
call on them immediately, and make them and the sister of the party.
Recollect they have many claims to your civilities. His sister, Mrs.
Thomas Morris, was very kind to you at Genesee. Mr. Kane himself
overwhelmed us with good offices on a certain occasion at Albany, and
the frequent hospitalities of John Innes Clarke can never be
forgotten. Be prompt, therefore, and courteous.



Ballston, July 20, 1803.

Behold us, _cher pere_, at this fountain of health; and now my only
wish is to leave it as soon as possible. On arriving here we found
that your letter to H. Walton had not been received; but we have been
very fortunate in getting a house entirely to ourselves, and one quite
as pleasantly situated as that you mentioned. Mr. Walton has been
extremely polite to us. We dined there on Monday, and in the evening
went to a ball, which surpassed my expectations in brilliancy. I
danced twice, but I am unable to tell you whether I looked well or
danced well; for you are the only person in the world who says any
thing to me about my appearance. Mari generally looks pleased, but
rarely makes remarks. On my return, therefore, I wished for you to
learn some account of myself; for vanity and diffidence had a combat
in which each so well maintained its ground that the affair is still
left undecided.

General Smith and family are here. Never was ennui more strongly
depicted than in the countenance of madame and sister. They appear
absolutely bereft of every thing like exertion. Mr. -----, on the
contrary, while he owns that this is not one of the most pleasant
places he has ever seen, is still lively and agreeable. Such are the
baneful effects of our education. Put out of our usual sphere of
acquaintance, or the old routine of amusement and occupation, we
rarely have knowledge of the world enough to discover any pleasant
qualification that may exist in a stranger, and to put it to any use
if it obtrude itself on our notice; and still less are we taught to
create amusements for ourselves.

The boy is pretty well, but I confess I have many doubts as to the
healthiness of this place for children. Every morning since our
arrival there has been a thick mist, which the sun does not disperse
till nine or ten o'clock. I kiss you with all my heart.



Philadelphia, February 3, 1803.


The business of New-Orleans is much talked of here. In my opinion, and
it is the opinion of many others, we should immediately take
possession, and then treat about it. We have no business to make
excuses for the conduct of the Spanish government, by saying that they
gave no orders to treat us in this manner. For my own part I do not
fear a war with France and Spain. We could do more injury to them than
they could do us. If we were at war with them, and Great Britain did
not join us, we should have our ports filled with their seamen, and
the coasts of France and Spain would soon swarm with our cruisers.

I remember, just before the commencement of the revolutionary war, my
mother was disputing with an English officer. He said the Americans,
of right, should not go to war; they could do nothing; they could get
no person to head them. She replied, that the Americans would have no
difficulty in finding some person to command their army; that she had
seven sons, and, if necessary, would lead them herself to oppose their
army. _Two_ of her sons fell during the war in the service of their
country. I have seven sons, whom I would much sooner lead to the field
than suffer our country to be insulted. Your friend,



Virginia, near Port Royal, March 25, 1803,


By your note from the Bowling Green I find you are under two mistakes.
One, that I am a candidate for Congress; the other, that I am making a
book. As to the first, I have withstood all solicitation; and,
although a few gentlemen have been pleased, without my knowledge, to
make a stir, as it is called, nothing will come of it, and the old
colonel will once more be felicitated.

As to the second, writing is one of my amusements, but in a wild,
careless, and desultory way. Judge, then, how unlikely such scraps are
to come out a book. Not that I would hesitate to publish any thing
which might do these people good, however it might effect my own name,
about which the fifty years which have passed over my head have
rendered me quite indifferent. My time goes along tolerably enough,
one way or another. Fancy furnishes me with passions and amusements,
and about one hundred dollars a year more than meets every want I have
which money can gratify.

This election affair has, however, exposed me to five or six essays in
the newspapers, composed of lies, malice, and nonsense. One writer (an
old tory) charges yourself and Colonel Smith with having met in caucus
here, to plot the expulsion of Anthony New from Congress. I would have
given five guineas had you called again, for it is probable you would
have met Smith at my gate, and another pretty piece would have
appeared most prodigiously entertaining. Well, if you will call in
June, I will give you a hearty welcome to the best I have. May you be

Your friend,



Near Darien, Georgia, March 30, 1803.


The letter you did me the honour of writing, with the accompaniments
you so kindly forwarded, have my warm and grateful acknowledgments.
The selection of _ten miles square_ for the seat of government
appeared to me at the time, and has continued, an excrescence on the
Constitution, like a wart on a fair skin. Neither the foreign
ministers nor the resident citizens in the federal city have any thing
to alarm them under state laws. There is no finger of blood in the
laws of Maryland or Virginia. I am of Mr. Bacon's opinion--return the
sovereignty to the states. I hope we shall preserve peace with Spain.
I observe, with much gratification, that the debates in Congress are
much more decorous than they were last session.

The object or end of Mr. Monroe's mission I am ignorant of, as I do
not correspond with any public character but yourself. I suppose an
explanation with France respecting New-Orleans. I leave my farm in a
few days for Philadelphia, where it would afford me pleasure to see

Your friend,



New-York, July 30, 1803.

It was kind to announce to me, by the earliest opportunity, your safe
arrival at Lebanon. Tell me more precisely the movements and
intentions of the family, as they will in some measure control mine. I
am negotiating for the possession of Richmond Hill, by exchanging with
Colonel F. for my house in town. It will be interesting indeed to have
you and your boy at the house where you have been once so happy. We
will trace back our childish sports and our more grave amusements. In
the sale of this estate I reserve the house and a due portion of the
ground about it; yet a good price will tempt me to part with it.

Some obscure hints in one of your letters have saddened my heart. From
_son pere_ I have merited neither suspicion nor reserve. Is it, then,
criminal that a person of mature age should converse on a subject most
highly interesting with the friend most likely informed? Yet did I not
even give advice; invariably and inflexibly I declared that I would
never interfere in the matter unless son pere concurred. Have you
forgotten the mad project of going to England? the anxiety and misery
it cost us for some days? I should have thanked the man who had thus
treated my child. Indeed, my dear Theodosia, such things sink into my
soul. They seem to invade the very sanctuary of happiness. Had I any
thing so much at heart as to render him happy? That I love him, you
best know. God bless my dear Theodosia.



Providence, R. I., August 1, 1803.

I left New-York two days after you, that is, on Saturday, and had a
pretty little passage of forty-eight hours. We were, on board, a
British custom-house officer, a sensible, pleasant man, who played
chess with me; two ladies, rather pretty, who did not molest us,
_point exigentes_, bien amiable; five little children, who neither
cried nor quarrelled the whole way! yet cheerful and playful.

Six days have I passed here very pleasantly. To-morrow I go, whither
is not determined. You may, however, address me at New-York, which
will most probably be my destination.

All those you saw when you were last here inquire about you with great
civility and interest, and say pretty things of you. Don't be vain,
madam, for I take this to be a kind of flattery to me, or to be so
intended. Miss C. talks much of you, and L. N., and Miss A. Can you
imagine what are Miss C.'s occupations and arrangements? Never; so
I'll tell you. Why, she instructs two nieces and a nephew (things of
twelve or thirteen) in astronomy, natural philosophy, and principles
of botany! Her boudoir has globes, several mathematical instruments,
&c. All this I discovered by accident; for she denies it all most
strenuously, and with some pretty, unaffected embarrassment. Be
assured this is an amiable, sensible girl. I don't believe you know
her value: so I pray you to study her. She left town yesterday with
her mother for Lebanon. Mr. C. went on Friday to New-York. What care
you for all that?

Are you a good girl? Do you drink the waters, and bathe, and ride, and
walk? I hear Mrs. W. is handsomer than during her widowhood, of which
I am very glad. Mr. Russel left this on Thursday, intending to pass
through Albany and Ballston on his way to Niagara. If he should come
into your vicinage, desire Mr. Alston to recollect him. His wife is
with him. I never saw her.

Tell me who you see, and what you do, and what are your plans. You had
best return by Boston and Providence if you should have time. Can you
make little _chose_ drink the water? I dare say not. If I were there I
would force some down his little throat. God bless you all.



New-York, August 6, 1803.

Your letter of the 20th of July was received from the postoffice on my
arrival last evening. There must be some anachronism in the date, for
you left New-York on the 21st. I learn, however, that you arrived,
were well, and had danced. Lord, how I should have liked to see you
dance. It is so long; how long is it? It is certain that you dance
better than anybody and looked better. Not a word of the Spring
waters, their effects, &c.

I made the journey from Providence by land in four days. Near town,
yesterday, P.M., I met Mr. and Mrs. Harper, of Baltimore. They are to
breakfast with me this morning; so I must make haste, for it is now
eight o'clock. How bad I write to-day. With Mr. and Mrs. Harper was a
pretty-looking, black-eyed lass, whose name I did not hear. I hope she
is coming out to breakfast, for I like her. There was also that
Liverpool merchant, who used to hang on Butler so in Charleston. I
hope he won't come.

I wrote you from Providence, on Monday last, all I had to say of it
and its inhabitants. I found the whole country, from Providence to
this place, greatly alarmed about the yellow fever, said to be in
New-York, and dreadful stories in circulation, as usual. There have
been some suspicious cases, and some decided instances of yellow
fever. Our practising physicians, however, our mayor and
police-officers deny its existence. There is no alarm in town. The
coffee-house is attended as usual. This length of intolerable heat
has, I fear, prepared an atmosphere for the kind reception, if not for
the generation of the fever. Now I hear the carriage. _Bon jour_. Be a
good girl. Love to H. 'Twas nothing but a cart.

L. and her little bang are here (_chez nous_); how happy are you
mothers. She will descant on its beauties by the hour; will point them
out to you distinctly, lest they might escape notice. The hair, the
nose, the mouth, and, in short, every feature, limb, and muscle, is
admirable and is admired. To all which I agreed.

Jerome Bonaparte is not here; nor is it certain that he is on the
continent. The French consul, whom I met in the road, told me, with
_une maniere mysterieuse_, that he had something to communicate on
that subject. Maybe he is come, maybe he isn't. I conjecture that he
is come or coming.

Here they come, in earnest. I see only one lady in the carriage; so
miss has not come; well, she may stay.



New-York, August 8, 1803.

Your amiable letter of the 1st inst. has not yet come to hand, and
therefore cannot yet be acknowledged; perhaps it has not yet been

Indeed, we are about to be scourged with the plague called yellow
fever. John Bard dead; but, to keep the account good, Billy B. has
twins (boys). Catharine Church Cruger (Mrs. Peter C.) has a son. But
of the deaths. We die reasonably fast. Six or eight new cases reported
yesterday. Of those who take the fever three fourths die. The
coffee-house was, nevertheless, pretty well attended. No appearances
of alarm until to-day. Several families have removed from the
neighbourhood of the Tontine Coffee-house, and five times the number
will remove to-morrow. Laight claimed Mr. Alston's promise of
Montalto, and I have admitted his pretensions. He will take possession
to-morrow or next day. Our pretty (beautiful) Mrs. Talbot, late Miss
Truxton, more lately Mrs. Cox, is in my neighbourhood.

I write in town, and in the most outrageous hurry, having nothing to
do, but having, according to custom, omitted writing till the moment
of closing the mail. Mr. and Mrs. Harper did come, and with them that
black-eyed young lady, which proved to be Miss Chase, of Baltimore.
Mr. ----- came also.

Do you know Miss Joanna Livingston? Pray recollect all her good and
amiable qualities. Reflect profoundly. Adieu, ma chere amie.



Washington, October 16, 1803.

We arrived here yesterday somewhat fatigued. I was, however, very
happy to find myself at Washington, for we had, in the morning, been
near taking quite a different route. Some part of our harness having
broken on the top of a pretty long descent, fortunately the leaders
were frightened by the wheel horses crowding on them; and running
aside, one got his leg over the pole and was stopped, or you would not
have had the pleasure of receiving this interesting scribleriad, and
the _poor world_ would have been deprived of the heir-apparent to all
its admiration and glory.

Our friend L. I have not seen. She was not to be seen. She has gone to
Lancaster, and intends returning by the way of Harper's Ferry. Her
journey is taken with a view to recruit herself after a severe attack
of the bilious fever; with which, also, her little daughter has been
at the point of death--literally, I am told. Lest I might lose the
pleasure of seeing her by some mistake, I would not trust to the
information of Tunnecliffe as to her absence, but made him send
directly to her house. There; is not that little incident related in
the true heroic style? Mrs. Madison and myself have made an
interchange of visits to-day. She is still pretty; but oh, that
unfortunate propensity to snuff-taking. We drank tea with Mr. and Mrs.
Gallatin by invitation. Nobody asked us to eat. The markets are bad, I
hear. We live very well, however, and, if you have not engaged
lodgings, I advise to apply here also.

To-morrow takes us to Dumfries, and the next day beyond
Fredericksburgh. _Le pere_ is at Bowling Green. I bear travelling
remarkably well. Headaches have disappeared, and my appetite
increases; but poor little _gampy_ does not like the confinement of
the carriage.

On inquiry, we find that the one-eyed Nicholas who was in Congress is
named John, and has only three brothers, Wilson, Robert, and Normond;
so your man is an impostor, consequently you have been imposed on and
cheated out of fifty dollars. Wade Hampton arrived here this evening.



Petersburgh, October 21, 1803.

We reached this last night without any accident or even incident, but
with great fatigue. Mr. Alston appears so distressed and worn out with
the child's fretting, that it returns on me with redoubled force.

_Le pere et frere_ are here. _Toujours honnete et bon_. They
breakfasted with us, for we are obliged to take separate lodgings, and
my husband has now gone to the races with them; a party of pleasure I
was very willing to resign for you and repose. The longer I live, the
more frequently the truth of your advice evinces itself, and never was
there any thing more true than that occupation is necessary to give
one command over themselves. I confess I feel myself growing quite
cross on the journey, and it is really to be feared that, unless we
soon finish it, the serene tranquillity of my placid temper may be
injured. Novel reading has, I find, not only the ill effect of
rendering people romantic, which, thanks to my father on earth, I am
long past, but they really furnish no occupation to the mind. A series
of events follow so rapidly, and are interwoven with remarks so
commonplace and so spun out, that there is nothing left to reflect
upon. A collection of images, which amuse only from their variety and
rapid succession, like the pictures of a magic lantern; not like a
piece of Vanderlyn, where the painter makes fine touches, and leaves
to your vanity at least the merit of discovering them. Oh! would I had
my friend Sterne. Half he says has no meaning, and, therefore, every
time I read him I find a different one.

The boy has perfectly recovered. He remembers you astonishingly. He is
constantly repeating that you are gone, and calling after you. When I
told him to call Mr. Alston grandfather--"Grandfather gone," says he.
I kiss you from my heart.



Lumberton, S. C., October 29, 1803.

Thank Heaven, my dear father, I am at Lumberton, and within a few days
of rest. I am sick, fatigued, out of patience, and on the very brink
of being out of temper. Judge, therefore, if I am not in great need of
repose. What conduces to render the journey unpleasant is, that it
frets the boy, who has acquired two jaw teeth since he left you, and
still talks of _gampy_. We travel in company with the two Alstons.
Pray teach me how to write two A's without producing something like an

We expect to reach Georgetown on the 1st of November. There we shall
remain three or four days, and then proceed to Charleston. Adieu.
_Mille baises_.



Clifton, November 8, 1803.

You are surprised at my date, but my last must have prepared you for
it in some degree. I received such warm and repeated solicitations to
come here, that I accepted. We came on the 3d, and shall remain here
till the day after to-morrow, when-oh!-oh! I go to Hagley, where we
shall remain till Natalie's arrival, which will carry me to
Charleston. It might appear ill-natured and ungrateful for the
kindness John and Sally show me to regret residing at Hagley. But you,
who always put the best construction on my words and deeds, will
allow, that a place in which we have suffered much and run a risk of
suffering more must be unpleasant.

We have visited the Oaks house since our arrival. The lazy workmen
have been wasting their time, and have not yet finished what two
Northern workmen would have done in a month. They are in the act of
plastering, and that will not be dry enough to admit us in some time.
Thus I shall remain with John till Mr. Alston returns from Columbia.
Do you not think we may safely enter the house then? The plastering
will be finished in less than a week hence; and the legislature, you
know, adjourns at Christmas. I am particular on this subject, because
I have known persons to suffer much from inhabiting a house too newly
finished, and I wish to have your opinion.

I am extremely anxious to hear from you. When we parted you were
engaged in talking over a bargain with Mr. Astor. Pray tell me the
event of your deliberations. I had almost forgotten to tell you that
we have every prospect of a capital crop.



New-York, November 7, 1803.

Your letter from Chester was received in due time; that from
Washington came only yesterday, having lain there fourteen days before
it was put into the office. By this time you must have received all
those which I have written to you since your departure--not a single
one. This is the first time that I have put pen to paper at you; but I
have been too busy, selling. All is sold, and well sold; not all,
however. The house, outhouses, and some three or four acres remain.
Enough to keep up the appearance, and all the pleasant recollections
of your infantine days, and some of your matronly days also, are
reserved with interest. This weighty business, however, is completed,
and a huge weight it has taken from the head and shoulders, and every
other part, animal and intellectual, of A. B.

Mr. M'Kinnon wrote me, last June, a letter, which I received a few
days ago, and with it came two shawls or cloaks (a kind of worked
muslin, all the rage in Paris and London at that date), some visiting
cards, and ornamented message paper. Half his letter is to you and of
you. He begs you to accept one of the shawls, and to give Frances the
other. I executed his instructions by giving F. one. Surely it is not
worth while to send the other to the Oaks for the admiration of your
Africans. It is, in my opinion, beautiful; though, at first sight, I
thought so little of it that I was going to give it to Peggy or Nancy.
Of the cards I enclose a sample.

If little _gamp_ could read, I should write to him volumes. I find my
thoughts straying to him every hour in the day, and think more of him
twenty fold than of you two together. Mrs. Laight and child are well.
They move to town in six or eight days. Anna is well. Cath. C. la la.



New-York, November 22, 1803.

My last went by water, in care of young Gibbs, the baker's son, with
the curricle box, and some other articles which I have forgotten. The
letter contained some samples of M'Kinnon's present. The shawl is
still retained as being too precious to be sent by sea or land. Is
this right?

Mr. Astor left with me some days ago for Mr. Alston a very beautiful
map of Lower Canada, price _ten_ dollars, and two views of Montreal
and its vicinity, _two guineas_. I am particularly charged by Mr.
Astor to inform Mr. Alston that his landlord at Montreal paid to him
(Mr. Astor), for the account of Joseph Alston, Esq., the sum of _one
half guinea_; the said landlord having discovered, after the departure
of the said Joseph Alston _et ux_., that they had not taken with them
two bottles of Madeira wine which the said landlord had charged in the
bill of the said Joseph Alston, and for which he had received payment.
Thus I have discharged myself of a commission which has been enjoined
upon me at least ten times.

Roger Morris's place, the large handsome house on the height beyond
Mrs. Watkins, is for sale. I can get it for Richmond Hill with _four_
acres. Shall I exchange? R. M.'s has one hundred and thirty acres. If
I leave Richmond Hill, however, had I not better buy in town, that you
may have a resting-place there ? Dear little _gampy_; tell me a great
deal about him, or I shall not value your letters. Indeed, I will
return them unopened. Is not that good Irish?

Mr. Law has arrived. Miss Wheeler [1] is also at Washington, and A. B.
at New-York-_tant mieux_. Would you think it? I have been coquetted by
a rich widow, and really I had some thoughts of yielding.

Jerome Bonaparte is here, and he will keep me three days to dine him.
We have exchanged visits, but have not yet met. I think I have mixed
up here every thing I have to say to T. B. A. or J. A. No one word of
politics; but, on further reflection, Mari will be at Columbia when
this arrives.



Washington, December 4, 1803.

I arrived this afternoon, and found here your three letters from
Petersburgh, Lumberton, and Georgetown. The last is dated the 2d of
November. How very long ago. These letters are very satisfactory,
except on the article of your health; of that you must speak a little
more plainly. How long are you to stay in Charleston? Without knowing
this, I am at a loss where to address you. I shall conclude that you
will remain there till the return of Mr. Alston from the legislature.

The manner of your letters pleases me "prodigiously." There is ease,
good sense, and sprightliness. That from Petersburgh merits still
higher encomium. Tell dear little _gampy_ that I have read over his
letter a great many times, and with great admiration. Mrs. Law, to
whom I showed it, thinks it a production of genius.

That good and ill fortune never come in single strokes, but in
sequences, you have heard since you were four years old. Since we
parted I have been almost daily surprised by some pleasant occurrence
or discovery of a personal nature. I pray it may continue a little
longer; even till a bust is found and obtained.

Mrs. Law was vexed and mortified beyond measure at missing you. She
has bid me say more things than this sheet would hold. The Misses
Butler are all here. I shall see them to-morrow. Mary Allen, that was,
now Mrs. Livingston; that beautiful little Miss Gray, whom we saw in
Boston; she became Mrs. Dobel, then a widow, and now Mrs. Payne.

At Philadelphia Mrs. Lenox and K. almost quarrelled with me for your
passing their gate without calling. They had made some preparation,
and, in good faith, desired your visit. Miss Boadley, too, talked of
you with great interest. At Wilmington I saw no one of your
acquaintance; nor at Baltimore, except Susan Smith, who is there on a
visit from Princeton.

To go back to New-York. All things are much as you left them, except
that what regards gamp is a good deal better. Mrs. Laight, and child,
and sisters all in good condition and in high spirits. Have already
been dancing--I believe twice. At Mrs. General G.'s I met by accident
Mrs. Rogers. She is a pleasant, cheerful, comely woman, to appearance
not past thirty-eight or forty. You know we had heard otherwise.
Eustis has sprained his ankle, which puts him, for the present, out of
the gay world. I have not been abroad except to dine with Mrs. L. I am
rejoiced at what you tell me of La Gree.

Pray take immediately in hand some book which requires attention and
study. You will, I fear, lose the habit of study, which would be a
greater misfortune than to lose your head. M'Kinnon has sent me out a
beautiful picture of the celebrated Madame Ricammier. It is a good
deal like your pretty widow, Mrs. Wright. _Bon soir_.



Charleston, November 19, 1803.

All your trouble, good precepts, and better example have been thrown
away on me. I am still a child. Your letter of the 7th inst. reached
me yesterday. Of course it made me very happy; but those pretty little
playthings from D. M'Kinnon delighted me. I looked at them over and
over, with as much pleasure as a miser over his hoard. But you must
send me the shawl. I shall be down at the races, and want to have the
gratification of displaying it.

From my date and my last letter you imagine that Natalie is in town,
but you are mistaken. I came down in the hope of meeting her, and to
buy some furniture for the Oaks. Mari on business. I return to
Waccamaw to-morrow morning early. My husband left me to-day for
Columbia. He received your letter too late to answer it hence, but
will do so from Columbia. As for me, I am in the height of bustle and
confusion. Before seven this morning I had packed up two or three
trunks, and unpacked them all again. Is not that industry? I write as
if I were in a hurry. You may perceive the state of my head and house
from the style of my letter. More from Hagley. Good-by.



Washington, December 6, 1803.

Since closing a letter to you last evening, I have received two more,
8th and 19th of November. You are a good girl to write so often. Oh,
yes! I knew how much of a child you were when I sent the pretty
things. Just such another child is _son pere_.

I write from my breakfast-table, having not yet been abroad, and
having denied myself to everybody. I have, therefore, nothing now to
say, and should not so soon have _troubled_ you again, but for that
part of your letter which speaks of the condition of your house. I
hasten to say that, in my opinion, your house will not be a fit or
healthy residence for your boy before the middle of April or 1st of
May. The walls may, to the touch, appear dry in three or four weeks;
but shut up any room for twelve or twenty-four hours, and enter before
it be aired, you will meet an offensive, and, as I believe, a
pernicious effluvia; an air totally unfit for respiration, unelastic,
and which, when inhaled, leaves the lungs unsatisfied. This is the air
you will breathe if you inhabit the house. I could, perhaps, show
chymically how the atmosphere of the closed rooms becomes thus azotic,
but I prefer to submit to the test of your senses.

The shawl shall be ordered on, since you will risk it. Yes, go to the
races, and appear to be amused. Be more social.



Washington, December 9, 1803.

When any thing amuses me, my first thought is whether it would not
also amuse you; and the pleasure is but half enjoyed until it is
communicated. The enclosed has suggested this prologue.

Perhaps I did not tell you that Kate made breakfast for Bonaparte one
morning at my house: a breakfast _a la Francois_, at twelve o'clock.
Of four ladies, she was the only one who spoke French, and she really
seemed inspired. No Parisian could have been more fluent, graceful, or

I have nothing to add of A. B., nor of any of the rest of the
alphabet; and my breakfast being on table, farewell.



Clifton, December 1, 1803.

I have been here about a week, _cher pere_. Since your letter by
Gibbs, have not received a line from you. I do not know whether to be
most sorry or mad: a little of both troubles me at present; but, to
punish you for your silence, I will not tell you which preponderates.
Pray write to me immediately.

On the morning after writing to you in Charleston, I set off for the
country, as determined on; and, since my arrival, have learned that
Natalie was at my house in less than three hours after my departure.
Sumter's business will not allow him time to come here, so that I
shall go there. William drives me down in his curricle, and we shall
set off to-day--this morning--now. The flat is in the canal; the
curricle on board; my clothes not yet packed up; so good-by. Before I
finish I must tell you that I have again heard from La Greque; she is
astonishingly improved in appearance, so say others, and is very
happy. She has sent me a Parisian bonnet, two beautiful handkerchiefs,
and a pair of walking shoes. To the boy a French and English library;
and to Mari a beautiful little golden candlestick, and wax tapers to
light his segar.

My health is infinitely improved, and I attribute it to nothing but
the continual bustle I have been kept in for three weeks past. What a
charming thing a bustle is. Oh, dear, delightful confusion. It gives a
circulation to the blood, an activity to the mind, and a spring to the



Washington, December 27, 1803.

Indeed, indeed, my dear little Theodosia, I will write to you very
soon. Don't scold and pout so, and I will tell you _how_ I visited
Annapolis, and _how_ I returned about an hour ago. All that, however,
may be told in half a line. I went and returned in my own little
coachee. But what I did and who I saw are other matters. Something,
too, about Celeste, and something about Madame G., whom you are
pleased to term the rich widow. This, I think, will keep you quiet a

Your letter, written on your return from seeing Natalie, is received.
You are a dear good little girl to write me so; and of dear little
_gampy_, too, so much, yet never enough. God bless thee.



Clifton, December 10, 1803.

Behold me again at Clifton; and, in good truth, I begin to be cloyed
with the delights of bustle. William and myself left this the day
after the date of my last. Some difficulty in crossing the horses
delayed us till then. We reached Charleston on the second day, and I
found Natalie delighted to see me, and still pretty. She has grown
thinner, much thinner; but her complexion is still good, though more
languid. The loss of her hair is, however, an alteration much for the
worse. Her crop is pretty, but not half so much so as her fine brown
hair. I write you all these foolish little particulars because you
enter into them all, or, rather, are sensible of all their importance
to us. Natalie has a lovely little daughter called after her.

Mr. Sumter is very affectionate and attentive to her, and polite to
me. I like him infinitely better than I did. He is an amiable,
good-hearted man, with talents to render him respectable. The people
of Charleston have paid Natalie every possible attention; indeed, much
more than I ever received.

Your letter of the 22d of November greeted me on my arrival here. The
exchange has employed my thoughts ever since. Richmond Hill will, for
a few years to come, be more valuable than Morris's; and to you, who
are so fond of town, a place so far from it would be useless. So much
for my reasoning on one side; now for the other. Richmond Hill has
lost many of its beauties, and is daily losing more. If you mean it
for a residence, what avail its intrinsic value? If you sell part, you
deprive it of every beauty save the mere view. Morris's is the most
commanding view on the island. It is reputed to be indescribably
beautiful. The grounds are pretty. How many delightful walks can be
made on one hundred and thirty acres! How much of your taste
displayed! In ten or twenty years hence, one hundred and thirty acres
on New-York island will be a principality; and there is to me
something stylish, elegant, respectable, and suitable to you in having
a handsome country-seat. So that, upon the whole, I vote for Morris's.

You, perhaps, have not yet heard of the death of J. M'Pherson. He
expired on the road from town to his brother's. Poor Sally was with
him, and John here. He has gone for her, and thus Hagley will be
deserted for a long time.

Men are indubitably born monkeys. _Gampy_ imitates me in every thing I
do, and to-day I had a lesson not to be forgotten. He was playing in
my room while I was dressing; quite at the commencement of my toilet,
_toute a fais en desabille_, I ran out in the entry to call my maid;
while engaged in that operation, I turned round and saw my brother's
door opening within a few yards of me; girl-like, or rather babylike,
I ran to my room, threw the door open violently, and uttering a
scream, was at the other end of it in one jump. The boy, who was
busily engaged in eating mint-drops, no sooner heard me scream and
appear frightened than he yelled most loudly, and, running to me,
caught my clothes, clinched his fists, and appeared really alarmed for
two minutes. It was not affectation. Do you think this trait ominous
of a coward? You know my abhorrence and contempt of those animals.
Really I have been uneasy ever since it happened. You see I follow
your injunction to the letter. How do you like this essay? Have you
enough of _gampy_ now?



New-York, July 20, 1800.


The President has hauled out into the stream. Your boys left my house
yesterday and went on board. They have gained very much of my esteem
and attachment by their amiable manners, their modesty, and good
sense; the friendship which I formerly bore them on your account is
now due to them on their own.

The more I reflect on the destination of these young men, the more I
am pleased with it; and if I had but one son, I think I should place
him in the navy.

If the object be ambition, our navy presents the best prospect of
honour and advancement. A young man of merit may be sure of rapid
promotion and opportunities of distinction. If the pursuit be wealth,
still the navy offers the fairest and most honourable means of
acquiring it.

But another reason, perhaps not often attended to nor generally
believed, would weigh very much with me. The young men of our day,
those, I mean, who are deemed to be in the higher ranks of life, are
addicted to gross and vicious habits, which are often ruinous to their
health and constitutions, and always corrupt the morals and enfeeble
the mind. In naval life they are certainly much less exposed to these
vices. The profession calls for the active exertions both of body and
mind; and I have always remarked that sailors, I mean those among them
who are men of education, and are stimulated by motives of honour or
ambition, have a generosity of temper, a frankness and manliness of
character, which is much more seldom seen in other orders of life.

I am, therefore, firmly persuaded that, situated as our country now
is, a young man of activity and talents has the best chance for
health, fortune, and honour by entering the navy. Your sons are under
peculiar advantages, for you may be assured that they will find not
only a friend, but truly a parent in Captain Truxton. We have talked
much about them, and I am happy to find that his dispositions towards
them are such as you could wish.

I am, dear sir,

Your very affectionate friend and servant,


Recollect, if you please, the Trenton bridge, and find me a copy of
the law--any information with regard to the difficulties--the expense,
and probable income--also the doings of the commissioners, if indeed
they have done any thing.


Tripoli Prison, November 29, 1803.


I sit down to fulfil the promise made at parting, of writing you upon
our arrival in the Mediterranean. I had flattered myself with the
pleasure of hearing from you frequently during the long and happy
cruise which I had contemplated; for, although the greater part of our
time was to be spent far up the Mediterranean, where opportunities to
America rarely occur, yet I should have written you from every port we
visited, sealed, and forwarded my letters as a conveyance offered. But
fate, it seems, had cruelly ordained that we should not realize those
prospects of pleasure and gratification which we had, with so much
certainty, calculated upon; and that this cruise, which had promised
to be so agreeable, should be suddenly terminated, in its very
commencement, by events the most distressing to ourselves and our
friends, and which may involve our country in difficulties and
perplexities with this regency.

For the unfortunate events of the thirty-first ultimo, the lamentable
day which terminated in the loss of our ship [2] by being wrecked on
rocks within a few miles of this town, and in ourselves becoming
prisoners of war to the Bashaw of Tripoli (I should have said slaves,
for we certainly are in the most abject slavery, our very lives being
within the power and at the very nod of a most capricious tyrant), let
me refer you to statements which I presume you will already have seen
before the receipt of this. Suffice it to say, that the shoal we run
upon was never laid down on any chart yet published, nor ever before
discovered by any of our vessels cruising off this coast;
consequently, the charts and soundings justifying as near an approach
to the land as we made, not the smallest degree of censure can be
attached to Captain Bainbridge for the loss of the ship. That, after
having grounded, every effort was made, and every expedient tried,
without effect, that could have the remotest probability of getting
her afloat; and that, after having sustained the fire of the enemy's
gunboats for upward of four hours, and a re-enforcement approaching
from the town, while our guns were rendered almost useless from the
careening of the ship, there seemed no alternative left but the cruel,
mortifying one of hauling down our colours. Let me also tell you that
the treatment we received from these savages was such as raised our
utmost indignation. Our swords were snatched from us; the money, and
every thing in our pockets was stolen; some had their boots pulled off
to examine if something was not concealed there; and some had their
very coats stripped off their backs, which the barbarians exultingly
put upon themselves; and, as if the trophies of some signal victory,
seemed to triumph in obtaining what fortune alone had put them in
possession of. To murmur at their treatment was only to expose
ourselves to repeated and more provoking insults; to resist was only
hazarding our lives. We were therefore obliged, however degrading in
our own opinion, to submit to these lawless, unfeeling robbers.

We were all conducted, amid the shouts and acclamations of the rabble
multitude, to the palace, and there ushered into the presence of the
mighty bashaw, who, seated in state, with his council about him, and
surrounded by guards, awaited our coming. He asked a variety of
questions, principally concerning our ship and our squadron; and,
after having us all paraded before him, and taken a full survey of
each of us, at which a gracious smile appeared upon his countenance,
expressive of his inward satisfaction at so unexpected a piece of good
fortune, we were carried by our guards to the house allotted for us
during our imprisonment in this country. It was the American consular
house formerly occupied by Mr. Catchcart.

Here we were left undisturbed to our own reflections till the
fifteenth instant. A few days previous to this the prime minister had
written to inform Captain Bainbridge that a letter had been received
from the Tripolitan captain of the ship captured by the U. S. Frigate
John Adams, in which he complained of being ill treated by Captain
Rogers; that, in consequence of this, he should be under the necessity
of retaliating such ill treatment upon us, unless Captain B. would
immediately write to Commodore Preble, and _order_ him to deliver up
all the prisoners he had, in which latter case we should continue to
be treated as heretofore. No exchange was proposed, but we were to
deliver up seventy-eight prisoners merely to ensure our not being
cruelly treated. Captain B. told him that he would write to Commodore
Preble, and acquaint him with their demands; but as to ordering or
requesting him to deliver up the prisoners in question, he would not
do it. We were, therefore, conducted to the castle, under the idea of
being put to work. The change, indeed, was an unpleasant one, from a
large, commodious house, to what they called a castle, which was, in
fact, a most loathsome prison. We were crammed into the same room with
all our ship's company--how well calculated to contain such a number,
you may be enabled to judge, when I tell you that the place was about
eighty feet by twenty-five. How comfortable, when I tell you that the
only place to admit the air was through a small aperture in the top of
the house, grated over, with no floor, nor a single article of
furniture, so that, when we were tired standing up, we were obliged to
lay down on the ground. While there, Lisle, the admiral,
_accidentally_ passed, and was very much _surprised_ at our removal.
He came to inquire the cause, observing that he had understood a
letter was received, mentioning that the Tripolitan prisoners had been
illy treated by Captain Rogers. Captain Bainbridge told him, that if
such a letter had been written, the writer had asserted a most
malicious falsehood; that the laws of the United States absolutely
forbid any prisoners being illy treated; and that having grounded,
every effort was made, and every expedient tried, without effect, that
could have the remotest probability of getting her afloat; and that,
after having sustained the fire of the enemy's gunboats for upward of
four hours, and a re-enforcement approaching from the town, while our
guns were rendered almost useless from the careening of the ship,
there seemed no alternative left but the cruel, mortifying one of
hauling down our colours. Let me also tell you that the treatment we
received from these savages was such as raised our utmost indignation.
Our swords were snatched from us; the money, and every thing in our
pockets was stolen; some had their boots pulled off to examine if
something was not concealed there; and some had their very coats
stripped off their backs, which the barbarians exultingly put upon
themselves; and, as if the trophies of some signal victory, seemed to
triumph in obtaining what fortune alone had put them in possession of.
To murmur at their treatment was only to expose ourselves to repeated
and more provoking insults; to resist was only hazarding our lives. We
were therefore obliged, however degrading in our own opinion, to
submit to these lawless, unfeeling robbers.

We were all conducted, amid the shouts and acclamations of the rabble
multitude, to the palace, and there ushered into the presence of the
mighty bashaw, who, seated in state, with his council about him, and
surrounded by guards, awaited our coming. He asked a variety of
questions, principally concerning our ship and our squadron; and,
after having us all paraded before him, and taken a full survey of
each of us, at which a gracious smile appeared upon his countenance,
expressive of his inward satisfaction at so unexpected a piece of good
fortune, we were carried by our guards to the house allotted for us
during our imprisonment in this country. It was the American consular
house formerly occupied by Mr. Catchcart.

Here we were left undisturbed to our own reflections till the
fifteenth instant. A few days previous to this the prime minister had
written to inform Captain Bainbridge that a letter had been received
from the Tripolitan captain of the ship captured by the U. S. Frigate
John Adams, in which he complained of being ill treated by Captain
Rogers; that, in consequence of this, he should be under the necessity
of retaliating such ill treatment upon us, unless Captain B. would
immediately write to Commodore Preble, and _order_ him to deliver up
all the prisoners he had, in which latter case we should continue to
be treated as heretofore. No exchange was proposed, but we were to
deliver up seventy-eight prisoners merely to ensure our not being
cruelly treated. Captain B. told him that he would write to Commodore
Preble, and acquaint him with their demands; but as to ordering or
requesting him to deliver up the prisoners in question, he would not
do it. We were, therefore, conducted to the castle, under the idea of
being put to work. The change, indeed, was an unpleasant one, from a
large, commodious house, to what they called a castle, which was, in
fact, a most loathsome prison. We were crammed into the same room with
all our ship's company--how well calculated to contain such a number,
you may be enabled to judge, when I tell you that the place was about
eighty feet by twenty-five. How comfortable, when I tell you that the
only place to admit the air was through a small aperture in the top of
the house, grated over, with no floor, nor a single article of
furniture, so that, when we were tired standing up, we were obliged to
lay down on the ground. While there, Lisle, the admiral,
_accidentally_ passed, and was very much _surprised_ at our removal.
He came to inquire the cause, observing that he had understood a
letter was received, mentioning that the Tripolitan prisoners had been
illy treated by Captain Rogers. Captain Bainbridge told him, that if
such a letter had been written, the writer had asserted a most
malicious falsehood; that the laws of the United States absolutely
forbid any prisoners being illy treated; and that he knew Captain
Rogers had given no just cause of complaint; that, even supposing he
had, that could not justify their retaliating upon us; it would not
tend to produce a reconciliation, but would have a quite opposite
effect; that, however, we were in their power, and they might
sacrifice the whole of us; but the United States had men and ships
enough to send in our places.

In the evening we were reconducted to our former house, probably in
consequence of the interposition of the Danish and French consuls in
our behalf. The reason of our removal to the castle, as given out to
us, was in order to retaliate upon us ill treatment which they say
their prisoners received from us. A more probable reason was this:--

When our ship was plundered, all our chests and trunks, with every
article of clothing, was carried off. The prime minister, with the
view of making money, bought in at reduced prices as many of our
clothes as he could collect, and offered them to us for twelve hundred
dollars. Captain Bainbridge would not purchase them. Disappointed in
his expectations of pecuniary profit, and, instead of gain, sustaining
loss, he probably sought consolation in his disappointment by
increasing the weight of our misfortunes. The prime minister and
admiral are both renegadoes, the former a Prussian, the latter a

How long we are to remain in this savage country God only knows. No
doubt it must depend in a great measure upon the exertions that are
made in our favour. We rely with implicit confidence that the
government of our country will make the most speedy, as well as
effectual measures for our release. While we are here, our lives must
be in constant jeopardy and uncertainty. Adieu. Remember me
affectionately to Mrs. Alston; and believe me,

With much esteem and respect,

Your most obedient servant,



1. Subsequently Mrs. Commodore Decatur.

2. The Philadelphia.

3. Now Commodore Biddle, and son of the late Charles Biddle.


An amendment to the Constitution of the United States having been
proposed by Congress, and doubts existing as to the manner in which it
should be authenticated and transmitted to the several states, Mr.
Burr, as president of the Senate, addressed a note on the subject to
the secretary of state, Mr. Madison, and to the secretary of the
Senate, Mr. Otis, to which the following replies were made.


Department of State, December 11, 1803.

J. Madison presents his respects to the vice-president, who will find
in the enclosed the information afforded by the office of state on the
subject of former amendments to the Constitution. Mr. Beckley
recollects, that in one of the instances, copies equal to the number
of the states were made out in the clerk's office of the House of
Representatives. In the other, I understood from him that the copies
were not furnished to the executive; but it does not appear, from any
thing in the office of state, whether this was or was not the case.


Department of State, December 10, 1803.


I find that all the amendments to the Constitution, though none of
them are signed by the president, have been enrolled in this office. I
do not find that the first set was forwarded by this department to the
states, though the president was requested to communicate them, as
appears by the journals. The last amendment was forwarded by the
secretary of state, by direction of the president, to the governors of
the states.

The vice-president called this morning and stated two questions, which
I was then unable to answer, _viz_., Whether the enrolment took place
here, and whether the amendments were forwarded to the states from

It is to enable you to give him satisfaction on these points that I
have written this. With great respect, your obedient servant,



Senate Chamber, December 15, 1803.


In answer to the note you did me the honour to send this morning, my
first impression was that the amendments for each state should be
enrolled in the office of the secretary of the Senate, as the
resolution commenced in Senate. This impression arose from the
proceeding in the _first_ instance, when the enrolments were made in
the House of Representatives, where the amendments, commenced. This
was at a time when the secretary of Senate and clerk of the House of
Representatives were empowered to publish the laws. But, since the
establishment Of the department of state, the amendments to the
Constitution have been enrolled in the office of that house where they
originated. This enrolment, as a bill, hath been sent to the President
of the United States, with a joint resolution that he would forward
authenticated copies. This was the case in March, 1794, as you will
see by the journals of Senate. To confirm this idea, a resolution is
on the table of the House of Representatives for the above purpose. If
precedent is of avail, it certainly devolves, in the distribution, on
the office of state.

Hearing there was some uncertainty, I have, through a friend,
transmitted my opinion to the secretary of state.

Very respectfully,



Leghorn, December 3, 1803.

A letter to my brother [1] of this date will give you a detail of my
pursuits since leaving Malaga until my arrival in Leghorn. I have only
to say of Tuscany that two months have passed away in endeavouring to
repair the ravages of Italian physicians. My pursuits, though not
profitable, have still been flattering to myself. I am at the house of
F. C. Degen, who married Miss Russell, of Boston. She is acquainted
with you, and often retraces the hours you spent with Mrs. Russell. I
may add, that I have been not only a welcome, but most happy guest of
this worthy family for six weeks. My hours of relaxation have not been
employed in playing the _cavallero cervante_, but in acquiring the
Italian; and, with the assistance of a tolerable tutor, I am making
great progress. Pisa and Lucca I have been at twice, and about the
20th of this month I shall visit Florence. From thence I proceed to
Rome, Naples, Palermo, and Malta, where I am directed to join the
commodore, he having given me furlough for the purposed route.

I refrain speaking of those places _all the world_ have seen. Should
my expectations be realized when at Rome, I shall certainly offer you
my first _essay_. Nothing has yet been done in the way of making me
rich. The hospital establishment lays over till spring. Commodore
Morris offers to leave me as charge des affaires for Tripoli in the
event of peace. If nothing better can be done, I will remain. Eaton
has resigned the consulship of Tunis. Who will be appointed? Rufus
King is expected daily in Tuscany. He sails early in the spring for
the United States.

I ought not to omit mentioning Mrs. Derby, who arrived here a few days
since from Florence. I have spent some pleasant hours with her. She is
unaffected and untinctured with the licentious manners of Paris and
London. We shall meet at Rome. I yesterday dined with Mr. Pinckney,
our minister for the court of Spain. He wants, I think, _ministerial
dignity_, whatever may be his talents.

I have written you several times, and although this gives me no claim
to expect a letter, yet, when you learn that I have not received a
line from the United States since leaving it, you may judge how great
is my desire, and what would be my gratification in hearing from you.
The beautiful Mrs. D. is in the parlour, and I have been sent for
three times. With perfect respect,



Philadelphia, December 12, 1803.

If you can, without inconvenience, let me know how James stands as a
midshipman, I wish you would do it. Having lost a brother, a son, and
two nephews in the service, I have some right to expect James will not
be neglected. I have not the honour of knowing the secretary of the
navy, but I am told he is a very worthy and respectable gentleman.




Washington, December 31, 1803.


It was my intention to have had the pleasure of calling upon you for
the purpose of having some conversation with you about Mr. Biddle,
midshipman. Not knowing what is the precise object of his father's
inquiries, my communication may not afford the expected explanations.
I can only state to you, at present, that the official reports which
have been made of him by his commanding officers are highly
favourable, and that, of course, I have a strong disposition to afford

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