Henry Livingston, Jr.
Sidney Breese

Transcription - Illinois State Archives
Chief Justice Sidney Breese Collection

January 13th 1822

My own dear Grandson will please to accept my seasonable xx-- Three score and thirteen has carried me far on my voyage & I plainly see as ought to see the xx of that region to which xx. It is certainly quite the reverse of wisdom for a moment to forget that we are only sojourners here & that we are bound to a state of existence on which ETERNAL is inscribed: Glory & happiness on one hand-- Shame & Misery on the other: May it be our happy lot to choose & realize the former.

Arthur Breese the younger is now with you. I wish to know how he is employed -- at school -- At law with you or at the xx & mortar with Charles? (Dear boy! I have never yet seen him & I think it highly probable I never shall: By the time he is in active life & manhood it is more than probable the sepuleral? stone will simply say that his grandsire WAS.

You are very dear to me Sidney, & I beseech that neither you or my boys & girls will ever suffer the chain of amity that now binds you together to become rusty. Our winter thus far is quite severe-- 5 days ago Col. Sxx thermometer pointed 14 degrees below zero. There has been 5 weeks past the best of sleighing from Peekskill to Sackets Harbor on a snow not more than 6 inches deep-- Rain & thawing seem to be out of the question. xx last letter of 31st of Dec. announced that Lt Brooks & Miss xx were to be married at your father's on the 10th xx & that the new married couple, herself, with Commodore Woolsey & Lady would be in Poughkeepsie on the 14th. You may readily conceive that we are pretty much on the tip-toe. It is pretty well understood that the military xx at the harbor will at the ensuing sesion be removed to the strait of St. Mary at the confluence of the Superior with Lake Huron-- A situation I believe xx dreary. The late Lt. Griswold, now the sutler, of course will journey with his regiment. I saw this gentleman at Judge Platts say the 24th of Octr last & was much pleased with him: I told him that I regretted that he contemplated a resignation of his commission; but he assured me that the soberest prudence dictated the measure. As a military merchant his situation at St. Mary will be far preferable to the harbor post-- At the former he can have no rivals & a fur trade may be entered on that will prove not a little advantageous. If your people succeed in completing a communication with Michigan you may set out from your door in a boat, ascend the Mississipi & Illinois, navigate the Michigan, Spend an hour at Mackinaw, take a pup at St. Mary/ a little out of the shortest water path) Halt a minute at Detroit -- shake hands with J. Platt at Buffaloe-- Hail your Father at Utica & finally land in your Grandfathers cove a short half mile from the old stone mansion every inmate of which sincerely loves you. In 24 months probably all this may be effected. I see at your father's a map of the state of Illinois with the counties distinguished by colored lines: I should be pleased to have a similar map if your postmastership can cover the postage. I believe I have already thanked you for the interesting information obtained from Mr. Birkbeck. How do you & Charles live in your new home? Have you a housekeeper & xx at Bachelor hall; or do you board out? Is there a place for a commodious garden? If there is I beg you will have the best horticultural spot in the village: The doctor will crowd in a mass of medicinal vegetables of course: Rhubarb & licorice in your climate will flourish-- Senna also would do well-- It grows even here wild, & of good quality. The castor bean would grow well with you.

[From Jane Patterson Livingston]

Let me bring to your remembrance my dear Sidney that you are indebted to me for two letters, one I wrote in July the other in September. I am quite at a loss to account for your silence. Query. Can it be possible that you have not received my letters? Or is it owing to diminution of affection? I fear the latter is the cause of your not writing. But although your neglect gives me great reason to think you have forgotten us, still I will not indulge the idea, I believe your heart is too brave and true to forget so soon, those, by whom you know you are most tenderly beloved. And I hope that a long letter from you e'er long will silence every query, and show you again as we have ever believed you, the warm hearted affectionate Sidney Breese. Four years ago this winter you spent the holydays with us. how little did I then think that so long a period would elapse without seeing you. It is a kind provision of providence that we should be ignorant of the future, else many a present pleasure would be imbittered with the prospect of after xx. When and How we shall meet again God only knows. but we look forward with a bright hope through the mercy of Heaven to the time when we shall again bestow the warm gratulations of Welcome Home, to those we love.

We expect a great deal of pleasure this week from the company of our Western relations. I am inclined to love without seeing your Cousin Fanny from the favourable account I have heard of her. David Brooks will do well to get so fine a wife. Papa, Edwin and Helen are delighted with Utica and its inhabitants. Helen quite regrets leaving Utica so soon, but the opportunity is so fine of coming with the wedding party that she thinks it most prudent to embrace it.

I have so often regretted that I was disappointed in my visit to Utica the last summer that you were there. I know I should have enjoyed it with so much pleasure, but when the Canal is completed it will be a very easy thing to go to Utica and I imagine then we shall all be more sociable than we have heretofore been.

Tell Charles that Helen Billings was married to Weeks, the 3d of this month. I was at the wedding. It was very pleasant indeed, a small but very agreeable company. The evening but one after, had them all here and had a pleasant time.

Our young Lawyers have opened a public xx which is very xx attended, they discuss miscellaneous as well as Law questions. I was present at the last one, and was never more gratified in my life. The Orators were James Brooks, young Van Renselaer, John Davis and Theodore Allen, all excepting Davis, students. The subject was, "Whether Climate has an effect on genius? It was decided in the affirmative, by the President, but in the negative by the society. The speakers acquitted themselves admirably. J Brooks was in the affirmative his speech shewed a great deal of learning as well as original sentiment, and he was by good judges prnounced the first of the speakers. He is a young man of uncommon bright mind, and pleasing manners. He very frequently enquires about you and always requests me when I write you to remember him to you in the terms of warmest friendship.

I hope I shall receive a letter from you, before you receive this, but if you have not written when you get this, I hope you will sit down and write 3 sheets full to compensate for your long silence tell every little minute circumstance anything is interesting when it comes from one in whom you feel an interest. And should the time arrive when we might expect an answer to this and none arrives, I shall then indeed think that you have forgotten us. And now farewell my dear Cousin, if you will give me an opportunity I will write you a longer and a better letter. Accept the warmest love of us all. Your sincerely affectionate Jane P. Livingston


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