Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Letters

Transcription - New York Historical Society

Kaskaskia, Ills. September 4th [1819]

Dear Papa:

I arrived here on the 1st instant, tired and fatigued in consequence of walking from Shawanee Town a distance of 114 miles. Although the road was generally good, the accomodations were miserably bad. We walked it in 4 1/2 days. This town was first settled by the French in 1685 & soon became a place of consequence; it is said to have contained 8 or 10,000 inhabitants, however it has been on the decline till within a few years. The town covers considerable ground, but is laid out irregularly. Many of the old French houses are standing with their pickets around them. Most of the houses are built of wood; brick and stone are but little used on account of the frequent occurrence of earthquakes. A severe shock was felt here on the 1st instant at night. The Town is situated on one of those delightful Prairies, that enliven the western country, on the bank of the Kaskaskia river and about a mile & a half from the Mississippi, the Father of Rivers. I have seen very little of the adjacent country. The country here and about, at present is very unhealthy, owing, I suppose to the extreme heat by day and the heavy dews at night.

Sidney, I found in good health, and very glad to see me. Mr. Kane I find a fine, cleve fellow (not as old as myself) in whose family I board. I have been introduced to the principal men in the place. His excellency, the Governor, is a plain, sensible man, polite and attentive. My prospects here are highly flattering, although there are three practioners; with one of them it is possible I may form a partnership. He is considered the most eminent, and whose practice is worth about $3,000 a year (cash). Mr. Kane advises the Partnershipk but thinks I should obtain the most respectable practice in Town, were I to commence business alone - he appears very much my friend.

This is certainly the finest country in the world. The people live easy and grow rich. For the farmer and mechanic, no country exceeds it. As for myself, nothing would tempt me to return & attempt making a fortune at home; it can be done here in half the time and half the labour.

This country abounds in cattle, hogs and horses. Hundreds and hundreds of the latter are in a state of nature & as wild as deer. At night hundreds of them come up to lick the salt in the streets of our village. Fruit is not by any means plenty. Game we have in the greatest abundance, such as deer, raccoon, wild turkies, heath hens - they are almost as large as a dunghill fowl - quails in the greatest profusion, squirrels, foxes &c.

Tell Judge paterson this is the country for him. I know he'll like it - as also Dr. Schenck, tell him he must come out - delay no longer than next spring. He will get rich; its the best business that's followed here - mercantile and other business may fail, but the people will get sick. Remember me to all my friends & particularly to Uncle Mitchell and family & at the river.

Yours affect'ly

Chas. P. Livingston.

P.S. I wish you would send me one of the Po'keepsie papers weekly, and the Spectator after you have read it, If you please.


C. P. L.

Henry Livingston, Esq.,
Po'keepsie, N. Y.


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