Henry Livingston, Jr.
Sidney Breese


Poughkeepsie Jany 28th 1819

To my very dear grandson Sidney Breese!

In your last letter to my Jane from Utica you announced that you were on the point of selling out for Illinois. We hardly know what to make of the intelligence-- We even sometimes imagined there might be some romance at the bottom; Judge Platt however soon after was with us & gave us the history of your emigration. I think well of it -- Carrying with you an unblemished fame, an excellent disposition, a stock of sound erudition, laudable ambition, genius of the first grade, and I think I may add Industry, if Heaven preserves your health you must eventually succeed.

In all new countries (especially such a new country as yours), all is HOPE. I have been told, & books say, that your region is delightful: Too warm to suffer materially from winter & too cool to emasculate. I hope it is healthy.

When the great Erie Canal unites that lake to the Hudson & your people will expend a little labor in uniting the Illinois to Michigan, a party on pleasure may leave the city of NYork in a well equip't vessel & never leave it until they find themselves floating on the bosom of the father of rivers. You are a young man & will live to behold wonders: I, who am an old man can behold but little more, but on retrospect many great events rise to view, of some of which I heard & in some of which I was.

Your friend & uncle has left the Highlands & has been at home say 2 months -- He, like thousands besides sets his medical face to the west. What do you think of the state of Illinois, or of the very place of your residence? Are there now there as many physicians as the wants of the people require, & are they eminent? Can well assorted medicines be had short of New Orleans? Reflect if you please a moment upon this subject & inform me upon it pretty soon. Of Mr. Kanes & your kindness I think I might count -- But such I know to be his talents, his experience & his skill -- that to be fairly launched on any civilized ocean I should dread no wreck. The day may come when the Breeses & the Livingstons would throw in no inconsiderable mite into the treasury of Occidental population.

My girls are enraged at your terrible silence. Have you xx away your habits, your affections & your sympathies? It cannot be -- Rouse then my dear boy -- seize a sheet & fill it. To please your Grandpapa, give a little statistical account of your newly adopted region. Tell me how far Kaskaskias is from the Ohio & the usual mode of getting there from Pitsburg.


Your Grandmama, myself & all the maidens & swaines are in perfect health. Sidney is at home & Edwin boards at Judge Brooks & pursues his law studies at Mr. Streets. Every body that you know & that you esteem in this place I believe are well. There has been no recent marriages or deaths. Until this time the winter has been uncommonly mild. 5 or 6 days ago the mercury out of doors was up at 60 degrees-- Our vessels ply to NYork as in summer, & there has been no sleigh riding. In short it is winter only in name.

In the spirit of unalienated love I sincerely wish you my much beloved child every comfort, which Religion & health can confer on soul & body.

Henry Livingston

Mr Sidney Breese


Illinois State Archives
Chief Justice Sidney Breese Collection


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