9 September 1813
I arrived in this City last evening with my Neice Elizabeth Breese
and shall leave it again at four tomorrow morning, for Boston
where she will spend the winter, and probably the year, with
her Aunt Salisbury - I shall after spending a few days with her
return by the way of Hartford and Poughkeepsie so that in about
three weeks and I [presume Papa; ] I shall our [more] be rendered
happy by greeting those I love- We left Utica at 6 in the morning
and arrived here at 1/2 past eight in the Evening which must I
think be called good traveling.
Our friends at the [west?] are in health-
In the paper of this morning I observe orders for another
Conscription which embraces Oneida and the Counties adjoining-
Give my best love D[ear] mama; and the children-
Elizabeth Breese was the daughter of Arthur Breese and
Henry Welles Livingston's sister, Catharine Livingston.
Catharine had died in 1808, when Elizabeth was 11 years
old. Arthur was left with 9 children, whose ages
ranged from 7 months (Mary Davenport Breese) to only 14 (Samuel Breese). By 1813, Samuel was probably off to the Navy (ending his
career a rear admiral) and the next oldest brother, Sidney (who ended
his career as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court), was only
13. This most likely explains why Henry, 35 years old at the time,
was the one taking his niece to Boston for Arthur.
Aunt Salisbury was Abigail Breese Salisbury, the sister of
Arthur Breese and the daughter
of Colonel Samuel Breese and Elizabeth Anderson. Abigail had
married Josiah Salisbury, a Boston merchant, and they had had
two children of their own, Edward Elbridge Salisbury
and Elizabeth Martha Salisbury. Since Edward was born in 1814,
it's not unreasonable to imagine that Elizabeth Martha might have been named
for her first cousin, Elizabeth Breese.
Edward ended up as a
famous Yale Oriental scholar. Elizabeth married her cousin,
Theodore Dwight Woolsey, another famous Yale scholar, who was also
President of Yale Oct. 21, 1846, to Oct. 11, 1871. Woolsey was
a grandson of Reverend Benjamin Woolsey, who was also the grandfather
of Major Henry Livingston's first wife, Sarah Welles.
But the reunion to which young Henry looked forward was not to be. On Oct 13, 1813, on his way back home through Hartford, Henry Welles Livingston died. His sister Helen
wrote these words of her brother.
[NYPL Livingston Microfilm]
Helen Platt Livingston
Daughter of Henry Livingston, Jr. of Po'keepsie
Oh happy youth thy virtues shine
But I am left still to repine
To sigh again, and say thy name
But I a mourner still remain.
Oh that I was a little dove
I'd sing the tender song of love
To yonder vallies I'd repair
And sing my lonely sorrows there.
I'd eat the fruit and drink the stream
While he was walking on the green
And sing soft notes of melody
While he still walk'd in reveri.
Oh were His thoughtful sighs for me
My mournful tunes would change to see
I'd tell him I was not a dove
And only chang'd my form for love.
Perhaps with anger he would say
Go foolish dove go fly away
For I have sorrows yet unknown.
Oh leave me here to mourn alone.
While he stood wondering in surprize
I'd change my form before his eyes.
Alas he'd say are you the dove?
Well! you alone are she I love.
Ah then contentment I would find
And happiness within my mind
In yonder valley we would walk
And of our former sorrow talk
Poetry of [the accomplished]
Miss Helen P. Livingston