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
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
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
Perhaps your Illinois is the very country likely to be benefitted by
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
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
From H. Livingston dated
Po'kepsi May 27, 1821
answd. July 10 1821