Henry Livingston, Jr.
Sidney Breese

Transcription - Illinois State Archives
Chief Justice Sidney Breese Collection

Poughkeepsie Nov: 22 1819

Excellent Youth!

Your favor of 20th inst. came safe to my hands just one month after it was written-- Your letters always please me. Continue, my dear child thus to solace & cheer your aged grandsire. Go on my beloved descendant to improve your mind-- confirm your morals & increase in Religious aspirations. My fond wishes look forward to a day, not far distant when you will conspicously appear in the front rank of the first & best citizens of Illinois. My beloved Charles & you start almost at xx in the xx of fame & independence-- Your courses a little dissimilar, but your object the same. On my bended knees I pray for happiest success to you both.

I am solicited by one and another to beseech either you or Charles to write me a long, plain & diffusive emigrant letter. The eyes of many are turned to the far-famed Illinois. I will indulge in a prospectus.

The expose of a simple gentleman from NYork to Kaskaskia via Philadelphia Pittsburgh-- then Ohio & Shawnee.

The expense of a 2 horse waggon xx his wife & 5 chubbed children, from Pitsburg to Kaskaskia: Whether near the Ohio to Cincinnati & so a southern route to Kaskaskia? or from Pitsburg to Vincennes & so on to you? Which of these 2 routes the best-- or -- are either feasible. In 4 years from this day, the Erie canal will unquestably solve all these difficulties. But in the interim please to inform us.

xx of Illinois almost at a point on the Mississippi say 6 miles north of the mouth of the Kaskaskia. Missouri then 6 miles east. Again 6 miles north, & then 6 miles west to the banks of the said Mississippi river & along the shore southerly to the place of beginning containing say 21 thousand acres. What porportion of this trail would be prairie ground & free from timber & how much uneven or highland-- How much in timber? Is there a border of land next your rivers which might be termed inter vale but still not of the prairie form? What is the price of 200 acres of land within the limits I have here mentioned? Say in the unimproved state? What facilities in the payments. What houses do the midling class of settlers erect & of what materials? Do small fountain brooks abound as in Dutchess & Putnam counties? When wells are dug at what depth is water found? When procured is it cold & pure, brackish or otherwise. Are field enclosures of wood, hedge, stone, or earth. Is winter wheat & rye grown-- if so, how many bushels to the acre. The month & day of the month when Indian corn ought to be planted. The number of bushels (shelled) to the acre? Can the stock swine get their livings in Winter without being fed from the grainery? Are cows & horses cheaply wintered?

I go on to torment you. Suppose this 6 miles square of land carried 20 miles east of the Mississippi. Then what would the proportion of prairie be to the upland. & & & Is your prairie in fact more estimable than the higher grounds? We make ourselves believe here that every inch of your territory is paradisaical-- that your loaf has no crust. You on the spot doubtless know & think otherwise. It may be good but all cannot be best. I groan with my emigantical query. What is bar iron worth per lb at Kaskaskia? Can a good common farming waggen be fabricated in your place & at what price? Plows & made reasonably. Ought a new settler at all to depend on his gun, his xx, or his need for a supply of provisions in any part of your region? Can salted beef or pork be purchased all the year round? Is the winter severe there or not so? Do your people so much expect snow as to provide themselves with sleighs? Is the Mississippi where you are, or even the Kaskaskia ever frozen over? What was the highest show of the thermometer? Do your farmers at all plough in March?

You are fatigued with the endless string of interrogations & so am I-- I fear you or Charles will not reply to half of them. Tell Charles that Stephen Mitchel is one of those who [wants] information. S.M. has 7 sons & 2 daughters.

Charles in his acceptable letter to his mother of the 7th inst, among other things mentioned a half formed determination to purchase 2 1/2 sections of land. How many acres are there in a section of land? How far from your door does this parcel lye? What price xx & periods of payment? My advice to my son is -- ponder-- do not be in a hurry to be in debt-- Lands may slumber long before they give xx-- not so know all men. Interest there immediately follows signature. Before he dreams of land he must first think of a Wife. I fear your country is unhealthy. I judge so from the extensive practice of Miss Bettx Livingston. I never will xx xx in any, but I beg of Mr. Kane, Mr. xx & the two physicians to be careful. Next to Eternal concerns, a sound body is the one thing needful. Charles has told his mother that his books, boxes & xx will not be with him till next spring on account of the xx of water in Ohio: Pityful stream that for 6 months in succession cannot float an xx full of baggage! The Belle-Rivierre I believe has been much xx. Your Grand-mamma, Jane, Susan & Sidney are on a visit to Paterson: We expect them back tomorrow. Helen, Eliza & Edwin have twined a wreath of love for you & Charles & begged me to cast it in your laps. I throw in my own boquet with theirs. Our autumn is fine - dry, but healthy.

Adieu my dear Sidney-- Tell Charles I love him

Henry Livingston

Sidney Breese Esq.


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