Poughkeepsie July 2 1820
Dear grandson Sidney Breese!
The chain of correspondence between yourself & this household must
soon become rusty -- By our fault it never shall. You are yet I
suppose at Brownsville & of course I will direct there. You have
mentioned a removal to Vandalia - perhaps you are there now. You
journey over the promis'd land like Abraham of old -- Like him you
will fix at last. & like him may you become a mighty man & head of
a numerous & dignified race. When you have chosen a Sarah, in due
time bring her with you & create a holliday in this country of
the rising sun.
Say 5 days ago I recd a line from your father, drop'd from the
steam boat in his way to Albany. About a month since & your mamma
went to NYork: They intended calling here on their return but the boat got
to the Poughkeepsie wharf in the dead of the night & it was inconvenient
at that unreasonable hour to leave the ship.
It appears the 4th of July is to be celebrated in a novel stile in the
land of your nativity. All the boats of the canal are to move in
divisions from Utica, Whitesboro, Rome &ct finally, assembling at
Salina, then display the Ensigns of festivity & Keep it up.
The re-election of Geo. Clinton is an event auspicious to the great canal--
It now will go thro without the least doubt. I very much wish your
people would do something in a similar way & meet us either at Sandusky
or Chicago -- Sooner or later it will come to pass -- The day will come
when you yourself, Madam at your side, with a blooming little Isaac in her
lap, seated in an elegant gondola will in one fortnight glide along from
Illinois to Dutchess. My old eyes I think will not -- but other eyes
will behold & bless them. Marry my dear child -- Marry in early life --
Marry a respectable amiable young woman: You thereon give a
pledge to society that you will never Give Up the political ship.
With some experience I announce "That celibacy is good but marriage
Your papa mentions that Sam sailed in the Hornet, say a week since,
I believe to the coast of Africa to aid the xx in suppressing the slave
trade: Consistent America! send armed vessels 3000 miles to shut
the door against slaves & open a portal for their admission at home!
On Tuesday the 20th ult one third of the best part of the city of
Troy was conflagrated -- loss, say 200,000 dollars. Within a twelvemonth
past the losses by fire in the U.States has been immense: & they will
continue until a safer mode of constructing buildings shall become
general. A modern American house is none other than a tinder box:
post, beams, braces & rafters of white pin - sided with white pine
& roofed with white pine or whole cedar shingles & the whole smeared
over with linseed oil. In a July drought what more inflamable can be
conceived? In the city of Paris a fire is scarcely heard of, because
in Paris it is almost impossible to set a house on fire. Every door
& window frame & every flight of stairs are of cut stone -- the
roofing of slate or tiles & much of the flooring of marble or tiles.
Governor Jay has a home in Broadway, formed on the European model. I saw
it while building, & is in my opinion one of the strongest & safest
edifices in the U.States.
Whenever you build my son, crowd in as much brick or stone as you
can & roof with slate tiles or sheet tin if you can get the materials;
but if you must shingle, cover it once a year with lime, made into wash,
by strongly salted water.
You & Charles I trust will ever embrace when you meet. I exclaim with
the Evangelist John "Little children love one another." Persuade
Charles to marry some estimable occidental Lady. If she has a few acres of
priare the better. His profession even is pointing to matrimony. I shall
write to him soon / by the by, he owes me this moment 2 letters /. That
same oldest boy of mine I think will do very well, & I anticipate that
he will be one of my sturdiest props in my old age. He has a spirit &
perserverance that can dash down obstacles. Your Grandmamma & aunts &
uncles all all love you & in their turns will write to you. I once
mentioned a wish that you would obtain from Mr. Birkbeck a memoir of
forming artificial stone of rammed earth, for the use of our agricultural
society. Perhaps however you do not often see that gentleman.
Adieu my excellent boy! I leave you in the safe keeping of that POWER
whose goodness is as extensive as his might. Again Farewell.
S. Breese Esq.