Sidney Breese
Henry Livingston

New York Public Library
Gilbert Livingston Collection

Aug. 15. 1821

My dear Grandfather. In answer to your query, Mr. Birkbeck wries as follows. "My recollection of the method of [frise] building invented by M. [Lefainteraux] will not enable me to add much in explanation I gave of it in my Journal. I shall however be obliged by your forwarding to Mr. Livingston the following answers to the query contained in your favor of the 9th July.

1. As the mould consists of detached pieces of board the size and shape of the blocks may be varied at pleasure. A cubic foot was about the size of those intended for plain building.

2. The inside of the mould is not wetted--

3. The stamper was wood about eight feet long and nine inches square, shod with iron,k drawn up by a rope over a pully, to the height of about 6 feet.

4. Two workmen were employed in making the blocks.

5. The blocks were fit for immediate use without drying.

6. They appeared to be hard enough to bear carriage; but being made on the spot where the building was erected carriage was saved. This appears to be a material point in the saving.

7. Their resisting the effects of moisture & frost would depend on the quality of the earth --

8. The same in regard to their requiring a covering. A trial of these particulars should be made in every new application of the process. The size of the blocks may require to be varied according to the material used. A large mill stone served as a rest. The mould, consisting of the four sides was placed, I think on a block of wood fitted into a large square hole in the center of the mill stone. The mode of fixing the sides has escaped my recollection is however, when placed they formed the mould which one of the men filled with a shove: the other let down the stamper: both drew it up and the blow was repeated as often as required three or four times. The sides of the mould was then let down & the earth appeared to have acquired the hardness of good stone ready to be carried immediately to its place in the wall, where it was laid in mortar."

The foregoing is all that Mr. Birkbeck has communicated on the subject. I imagine it would answer no valuable purpose in our Country - we have no earth that could be made sufficiently hard by ramming.

I yesterday attended the execution of Whorajinkah, an indian of the Morebago tribe, hanged as one of the murderers of two Soldiers at Fort. Armstrong on Rock Isla. Never was I so much convinced that capital punishment should be abolished in this one Land-- How I did deprecate the policy that required the death of the Indian to atone for a crime that he never thought he had committed! Do you suppose he was sensible of crime-- Do you think that while under the gallows he supposed that he was satisfying the Laws by his death-- It is a part of their religion to destroy the whites and while life lasts I shall entertain this sentiment that Indians should not be punished for murdering the whites -- we have wrested from them their Sands & their hunting grounds and now driving them even to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Is this not enough to enkindle within them the fires of revenge. But pause - he's dead - and the laws satisfied.

I am astonished at the silence of your daughter. Am I forgotten or if remember'd, remember'd only as one not worth affection or regard?

Persuade some of them dear G. Papa to write me. Give my best love to all the family and believe me your very affectionate G. Son.

Sidney Breese

Aug. 15. 1821

H. Livingston Esq.

Sidney Breese followed a friend, E.K. Kane, to Illinois, where he was, in 1827, appointed United States district attorney, and later postmaster of Kaskaskia, where he and Mr. Kane resided. Mr. Kane was then in the United States Senate.

Sidney's grandmother was Elizabeth Anderson, the wife of Colonel Samuel Breese. Elizabeth's father died and her mother, Jane Chevalier Anderson, married Captain Joseph Arthur, the step grandfather for whom Arthur Breese was named. Joseph and Jane's child, Arthur's half aunt and Sidney's half great aunt, was Abigail Arthur, who was married to the first Postmaster General, Ebenezer Hazard, from whom may come many of the postmaster appointments to be found among the Breese relatives.

In 1829 Mr. Breese published in octavo form a volume of Supreme Court decisions for Illinois, the first book of that form published in that State. In 1835 he was elected circuit judge and in 1843 elected United States Senator from Illinois. It was in that role that he was instrumental in the creation of the Illinois Central Railroad. Judge Breese was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, and was Speaker of the House in 1851. In 1855 Mr. Breese was again elected circuit judge, and subsequently was made Chief Justice of Illinois.

The current site of the Clinton County Historic Society Museum is located in the former home of Sidney Breese. It includes Judge Sidney Breese articles and the "Early History of Illinois" written by Judge Breese, as well as a fully furnished court room.


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