New York, Decembr 30th, '73
A happy Christmas to my dear Sally Welles.
Next Tuesday evening I hope to see the Girl
for whom alone I would well bear to live. Yes, my dear creature,
next Tuesday evening, if my God spares my life, I hope to tell you
I am as sincerely your friend, as constantly your admirer & as
religiously your lover as when I sat by your side & vow'd
everlasting affection to you.
I well know you will call this the lover's Cant. Call it so,
my love--call it anything--I know & swear its truth and wrap myself
up in my own Integrity.
I this moment parted from our good friend Miss Nabley Bostwick;
she told me that she Imagined I was return'd to Poghkeepsie as she
had not seen me in 2 or 3 days; I told her I was not return'd to
It's whispered about among our friends here that we are like
to lose my Cousin Abbe Lloyd this winter as her acquaintance here
have a design upon her and intend to get her here if they can.
I hope their macjinations may prove in vain, for I esteem my Cousin
Miss Bostwick will give you an account of the destruction of
our Governor's house in the Fort last night; of the terror of the
Inhabitants & the great loss our worthy commander in chief has
I see Miss Suky & Sally Billy Livingstons every day. They
constantly tell me that you are sensible & are very much your friend;
their father is in Town & will write to your good parent. I hope
heaven will bless your good parent.
My sisters are dying to see and be acquainted with you; and I
dare say ardently hope their brother may be successful in his addresses
to the heighth of all.
I wish I had been prudent enough to have procured a good private
stable for the horse I shall ride up & keep in Stanford this
winter--however, I must look about when I come there. Tomorrow I
expect to send up my necessarys with Capt. Sellick.
Remember me, my dear Love, to my friends and relations at Stanford;
and remember, my Love, that of all your friends, none loves
you so sincerely as your
Sally was still living at home with her parents,
Rev. Noah Welles and Abigail Woolsey, the daughter of
Rev. Benjamin Woolsey and Abigail Taylor.
Don Foster found that the phrase "Happy Christmas" first appears in print in 1823, in
"A Visit From St. Nicholas," published in the Troy Sentinel. And here, fifty years earlier,
Henry uses it in a letter to his dear Sally.