WS Thomas
Witness Letters



Miss Cornelia Goodrich
160 Grand Street
Newburgh, N.Y.

Dear Cousin Nellie:

Your letter has reached me and I am sorry that your visit to New York has brought this upset and I want to do all I can to help you regain your peace of mind about publishing the story of Henry Livingston's authorship of the "Visit from St. Nicholas."

I am sure that some of your distress and dread of publicity are founded on mistaken impressions, and I assure you that your name or genealogy would not be mentioned in the story. The inquires were made solely so as to straighten out the facts in my mind and in Mr. Tryon's as to who were the Major's descendants by his first wife. No names of present day descendants would be given except to mention that I have collected the facts presented.

Your sister and others of our family have already published this matter in the newspapers and no trouble has come to us or to anyone. I plead with you not to be apprehensive of persona obloquy -- there won't be any except possibly to me, and I am ready.

Your estimate of Mr. Tryon is unfortunately a different one from what it will be when you know him better and perceive his literary attainments, his judgement, breeding and tact. He is not a Christian Scientist, but an Episcopalian, "even as you and I". The only reason that he did not tell you the plan of his story is because he thought I had already done so. In the article he carefully avoids any adverse criticism of Mr. Moore but speaks of his attainments and character only in praise.

I too, realize the disadvantage of publishing the story in a sectarian paper, but in this case I believe that the advantages outweight the disadvantages. After reading the Christian Science Monitor for some weeks I find it to be a high class paper. Non-Christian Science friends telll me that it is read for its literary matter, by intellectual persons of all sects and goes all over the world. I am sending you a copy so that you may get an idea of its character.

Would you please read again the copy of my letter to Helen which gives some of my reasons for publishing the story? Your interest and urgings have, up to now, been one of my chief inspirations. We have our convictions; for the Truth's sake let us stick to them, I beg of you. Have not the fatigue of your journey and its excitement, something to do with your fears? Remember the toil I have put into this thing and your former encouragement, and lend a helping hand, wont you, dear Cousin? I am sending back your article today with many thanks.

Your affectionate cousin,

SOURCE: New York Historical Society, WS Thomas Papers


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