Henry Livingston, Jr.
Witness Letters



The Ridge,
Dover Plains, Duchess Co., N.Y.
Nov. 25, 1886.

My dear Miss Goodrich:

I thank you very much for your extremely interesting letter with its enclosures. The circumstantial evidence that your G. G. Grandfather wrote "The Visit of St. Nicholas" seems as conclusive as that which has taken innocent men to the gallows.

On the day when I received your letter, the December No. of Harper's Magazine came to hand. Turning to Curtis's "Easy Chair" essays, I found he had opened his budget by quoting a line from the Poem in question and saying:

"The man who wrote these (tinkling verses) is not counted among our poets, and while everybody knows 'The Visit from St. Nicholas', nobody can recall any other poem by the author". Mag. page 151. The italics are mine.

Mr. Curtis trips a little. Dr. Allibone, Dictionary of Authors, Vol. ii, page 1351 says, Moore published a small volume of poems in 1844. It is aluded to as "a pure volume of refined and classic poetry".

Moore was for many years Professor of Hebrew and Greek Literature in the "General Theological Seminary" in New York and died in 1863 at the age of 84 years.

I am greatly interested in this matter. I should be highly gratified by finding positive proof that the Poem was the product of a son of my native county of Duchess. I would like to possess all positive knowledge concerning it. Will you pardon me for troubling you to reply to the following queries:

1. Will one or more of Henry Livingston's grandchildren who heard him red the poem, after he had written it, give me, in writing, an account of the circumstances?

2. Were the copies of Mr. Livingston's poems which you have kindly sent me, taken from the original manuscript?

3. Have you a drawing or a photograph of the venerable stone house at "Locust Grove" where it is alleged it was written?

4. At about what date, and in what Poughkeepsie paper did the poem appear?

I remember "Nanny Crooke", Mrs. Broom, the mother of Mrs. Judge Ruggles. Also her brother, Major Crook, who lived in Mill Street, Poughkeepsie, Mrs. Judge Emott, and Mrs. LeGrand Dodge, her grandchildren.

Having a clue in the question of authorship, I should like to pursue it to a logical conclusion.

Again thanking you for your precious contribution to my collections for a history of Duchess County, I will say that Mrs. Lossing joins me in kindest saluatations for your mother, your sister and yourself and remain,

Sincerely your friend,
Benson J. Lossing.

Miss Cornelia G. Goodrich


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