Henry Livingston, Jr.
Sidney Breese

Transcription - Illinois State Archives
Chief Justice Sidney Breese Collection

May 27th 1821

Dear! very dear Grandson!

Why my excellent child, why dream of emigrating to Florida? Certainly I am by no means apprehensive that you will be swallowed alive by an alligator or scalped by a Seminiole savage but I really think a removal to that region will neither better your fortune or open a wider field to expectation or future usefulness: The climate of East Florida, altho more salubrious than that of west, is still worse than is found in Illinois: The present population I take it is abominable; a mixture of Spanish, negro & Indian -- Terrible morals! -- The soil is generally sterile & of course the population can never be very dense. St. Augustine may in time be a considerable village: Pensicola has a good harbor & a population of say 2000 black, yellow & whitish souls. 2n. Wm. Thomas assures me that for 20 miles around this place yams will barely seem to grow & hardly a thorny bush to be seen -- Trees are out of the question. A compleat echo of the great desert of Sahara.

St. Marks I take it is but little better.

As for Mobile, or any part of West Florida -- your love of existence will keep you wide from it -- It is the grave of the north. After all my dear boy Illinois is the spot for you -- You have thrivin? very well -- you know and are known -- you are every day ripening into more & more notice & usefulness & one day or other you will assuredly be the Governor of the state: You will be in Congress even before you wish it. Remember Esops fable of the goose which laid one golden egg a day.

Charles's picture arrived safe & is now framing in NYork -- The likeness is striking & pleases every body -- Even professional artists admire it. The person who affected it would make a fortune in Philadelphia or NYork.

I am rejoiced to hear my son declare that he is fixed in Kashkaskia & does not mean hastily to quite a place where he has been most happily successful.

Your cousin H.A.L. [Henry A. Livingston] has been on his bed a fortnight with a fearful gout! We think his life to be in no imminent hazard, but his anguish must be severe.

We are sorry to hear that Cornelia Platt is quite ill with biblious fever in Albany. The general health of this vicinity is good & this family are all in good health.

Our spring has been rather backward but verdure, bloom and aerial song now pervade every thing. The severity of the past winter has destroyed most of our large peach trees.

Other fruits will probably abound & wheat, rye & grass promise well.

I repeat what I mentioned in a former letter.

Mr. Birkbeck several years since published an account of an agricultural tour he made in France. He therein observed that when at a district near Paris he saw the process of forming common soil into a kind of artifical stone by being pounded within a small frame xx) on a firm smooth stone. I took a copy of the passage from his book, but I wish for a more detailed account -- namely -- the size of the frame in which the earth was rammed -- Was the inside of the mould wetted or not at each operation? The weight or size of the stampers made use of by the workmen. Were 1 or 2 men employed at a time? Were the blocks of earth after being formed dried in the sun or shade? Under cover or not? Were these blocks of earth so hard as to bear loading in a waggon & carried say 2 or 3 miles? Would they not be affected by the severity of our severe winters? Suppose a fence was constructed of them would the top require a covering different from its original condition. Please to mention this thing to Mr. Dodge the secretary of the Illinois agricultural society & ask him if it is possible that the president will be pleased to say something more on this interesting subject. His remarks, if he will have the goodness to make any, will be gratifying to the societies in this county. I will forward them in every direction.

Every district has soil, but not every one stone or timber proper for enclosures.

Perhaps your Illinois is the very country likely to be benefitted by this practice.

I perceive from my last papers that the navigation on the Erie canal from Monterume to Utica is in vivid operation. In 18 months from this day it is probable a loaded boat may freely pass from the light house at Sandy Hook tot he part of Chicago at the bottom of Michigan & there deposit a bale of merchandise of 1 ton weight for $10.

I find that with you a gallon of molasses will cost 110 cents which here can be had for 30. You pay at present rather too dear for your whisxx. Your people probably will first open a communication between the river Illinois & Lake Michigan -- & lastly between the Wabash & the Miami of Lake Erie. Charles has mentioned the rapidity etc. of the Wabash: Our Engineers would smile at this -- give them only water enough & a few locks would remove every difficulty.

My wife & my sons & my daughters all, all xx you. We drank Charles's health with cheers on the instant, his birthday. Give our best loves to that old boy. Receive my heartiest shake.


On the 23d of last week died the consort of Dr. Samuel Bark & the next day the doctor himself -- Their funeral took place at Hyde Park on Fryday last. The Doctr was abt. 76 & Mrs. B perhaps not much younger.

Edwin has just returned from NYork whither he went on a-- He is to be examined in August next.

Sidney Breese Esq.
Dy Postmaster at
Kaskaskia Illinois

From H. Livingston dated
Po'kepsi May 27, 1821
answd. July 10 1821


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