Henry Livingston, Jr.
Sidney Breese

Transcription - Illinois State Archives
Chief Justice Sidney Breese Collection

Poughkeepsie January 27th 1820

To my very dear Grandson S.B. peace & health!

Puntuality is at length my order of the day. Yesterday I had put in my hands your favor of the 25th ultimo & today I am seated in reply. I felicitate you on your legal diploma. That you will soon be an HONEST lawyer I am confident. I hope & believe you will be a great one. Study hard my son, but think more. To be a compleat Jurist is a sublime character. Our celebrated Chancellor Kent began under auspices not superior to yours. In examining xx xx xx them thoroughly, but ever treat them with politeness-- xx xx with humanity. No wise no great advocate will shock the feelings of an audience by treating testimony indecorously. It is not probable that many bystanders will become pleaders, but every one may be a witness. Never let me hear that you are only a mere collector of debts. At your first xx speak, if you are even frightened of the cadence of your own voice still speak xx-- If you blush & stammer, no matter, go on. Hearers always will xxxx a beginner. It is a compliment to them if nothing disrespectable to him. The 2 sesson it will all be over. Do you covet land agencies? Beg of your father to xx as for the state of Illinois in a New York & Albany paper xx. That you as a competant map man there is no doubt-- I go a step further & say that every lawyer ought to be a theoretical surveyor. I have heard many gentleman of the bar mention this. The late General learned it of his father-in-law General Schuyler.

Charles in the last letter I received from him wished to know something as a young man xxxxxxxxxx. A survey xx xx. In my letter to him written xx a xx & xx I gave him xx the information in my power. In case xx xx the miscarriage of that letter I will repeat here what was said . The xx xx is xx xx. He was a lawyer. Mr. xx was a small man & might be 25 years old. I believe he was at Utica-- Had a fracas with a stage driver & eventually settled in the practice of law at Schohomie?. Where he is now I know not.

The N York Spectator of last xx announced the marriage of your sister Catherine with Mr. Sam. Griswold a Lt. in the army. If it is a good match I wish her & you Joy.

In one of my former letters I requested some xx xx from you -- The letter perhaps you have not received: the notices I certainly have not. How many grain mills is there within a radius of 6 miles around Kaskaskia. Are they wrought by wind, water or fire? What is bar iron worth per pound? Have you iron ore near & have you castings, such as carriage boxes, struck yet? What is a xx xx 2 horse waggon, completely xx xx? What a new plough with steel pointing?

Is your village incorporated? Promote its prosperity all in your power -- It may one day be the seat of the general government.

To Doctr C.P.L.

I hope my beloved physician is well. We are all in health at the old stone jug. I mention to you the case of a girl bitten by a mad dog. She has taken the decoction of xx or scull-cap & is now nearly, or quite recovered. If this plant is to be found in your vicinity, lay up store of it next summer gather it when in bloom & dry it in the shade, an average xx plant ought to be -- even garden seeds ought not be be dried in the sun. If you are not acquainted with xx, if you wish it I will send you Dr. xx's botanical description.

xx S.S. Fxx the main xx was buried this day. He bruised his elbow on the ice 11 days ago -- His arm became xx inflamed -- A mortification took place & yesterday he expired.

Our pony Pinkey is almost entirely blind. Should she become totally so we must hold her for colts. The Kentucky tongue distemper is extending fast in this county-- Butler & Riley stables are infected & Mr. Iagnes has 2 horses laid up with it -- Some cows also have it. It appears however in a mild form. H. Riley says the most efficacious remedy is to put in 8 quarts of vinegar 4 tablespoonfuls of xx salt & spoonfeed xx xx of xx & xx the xx 1'2 on xx -- since the mouth 2 or 3 times a day -- physics xx with xx castor oil. An xx xx xx perpetuated


I then happened not to be an inhabitant of this planet. I can say but little abt. it. The winter of 1780 I will remember was savage in the extreme. This of 1820 is not very dissimilar. For 5 weeks past the cold has been steady (but no so intense as that of 1780) & the snow now in the woods is 2 feet: sleighing superb from Hudsons bay to the city of New york. Snowing began between Christmas & New year. Notwithstanding the snow, the ground is quite dry: Many wells fail in water & the lesser mills are shut up -- The Hudson is frozen down to the bay. Thousands of small fish are taken by gilling in small square nets: Charlie knows how.

The Missouri slave question agitates every body here. Happy Illinois! Thine is exclusively the land of the FREE.

If you ever see Morris Birkbeck Esq. give my complements to him & thank him in my name for the pleasure I received on perusing his tour in France. He mentions that he saw, near Paris, the operation of forming artificial stone by ramming earth in moulds. I wish he would reconsider what he there saw & write a detailed account of the process -- Could he be induced to do this I would present it to our Dutchess agricultural society who would print it & xx it far and wide. I think highly of its utility.

You are tired & so is your xx grandfather HL

My very dear Sidney,

Altho Papa thinks you are tired, I am determined you shall have a little more. In a very short time I hope to receive a letter from you well stocked. Your two epistles of the 25th ult gave us great pleasure. I am happy that your Christmas was spent so happily, and what gives me great pleasure is, that notwithstanding your day had been spent in great hilarity, you could still think of those relations so far distant, and devote a part of your evening in writing to them. I see by the paper, your Sister Catharine is married. Imperfections are imperfections in this scrawl. never mind -- my intention is good -- Adieu I expect a great deal of pleasure from your next letter -- Yours JP Livingston

The few lines above were written in perfect confusion, the girls were all laughing around and declaring I should leave off, so as to leave room for them to write, but as they have changed their minds, I will finish the sheet. Susan was delighted with the letter you addressed to her, and joy was felt in every heart on perusing our dear brother's letters for Sidney you appear like a brother. You look back in your last, to the Christmas you spent with us. How often I think of that delightful visit we received from you, Oh how long a time. I can't help even now regretting that you could not stop and bid us good bye for the last. Oh! the joy when we shall see you & Charles returning. Today is the 27th of Jany, in about a fortnight, then I hope to get a good long letter from you my dear Cousin. Helen says she did intend to write a few lines to you, but upon further consideration, she thinks it will be xx as want of Decorim for the Lady to write first. I am not so particular. You know very well how to take Helen's fun. You will again dear Cousin, and accept on running over this little morsel I see xx, more to congratulate you thereon, and I hope we shall have the pleasure of seeing the bride & groom here.


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