Henry Livingston, Jr.
Sidney Breese

Transcription - Illinois State Archives
Chief Justice Sidney Breese Collection
Listen to Byron Nilsson Read This Letter!

Poughkeepsie July 2 1820

Dear grandson Sidney Breese!

The chain of correspondence between yourself & this household must soon become rusty -- By our fault it never shall. You are yet I suppose at Brownsville & of course I will direct there. You have mentioned a removal to Vandalia - perhaps you are there now. You journey over the promis'd land like Abraham of old -- Like him you will fix at last. & like him may you become a mighty man & head of a numerous & dignified race. When you have chosen a Sarah, in due time bring her with you & create a holliday in this country of the rising sun.

Say 5 days ago I recd a line from your father, drop'd from the steam boat in his way to Albany. About a month since & your mamma went to NYork: They intended calling here on their return but the boat got to the Poughkeepsie wharf in the dead of the night & it was inconvenient at that unreasonable hour to leave the ship.

It appears the 4th of July is to be celebrated in a novel stile in the land of your nativity. All the boats of the canal are to move in divisions from Utica, Whitesboro, Rome &ct finally, assembling at Salina, then display the Ensigns of festivity & Keep it up.

The re-election of Geo. Clinton is an event auspicious to the great canal-- It now will go thro without the least doubt. I very much wish your people would do something in a similar way & meet us either at Sandusky or Chicago -- Sooner or later it will come to pass -- The day will come when you yourself, Madam at your side, with a blooming little Isaac in her lap, seated in an elegant gondola will in one fortnight glide along from Illinois to Dutchess. My old eyes I think will not -- but other eyes will behold & bless them. Marry my dear child -- Marry in early life -- Marry a respectable amiable young woman: You thereon give a pledge to society that you will never Give Up the political ship. With some experience I announce "That celibacy is good but marriage is better.

Your papa mentions that Sam sailed in the Hornet, say a week since, I believe to the coast of Africa to aid the xx in suppressing the slave trade: Consistent America! send armed vessels 3000 miles to shut the door against slaves & open a portal for their admission at home!

On Tuesday the 20th ult one third of the best part of the city of Troy was conflagrated -- loss, say 200,000 dollars. Within a twelvemonth past the losses by fire in the U.States has been immense: & they will continue until a safer mode of constructing buildings shall become general. A modern American house is none other than a tinder box: post, beams, braces & rafters of white pin - sided with white pine & roofed with white pine or whole cedar shingles & the whole smeared over with linseed oil. In a July drought what more inflamable can be conceived? In the city of Paris a fire is scarcely heard of, because in Paris it is almost impossible to set a house on fire. Every door & window frame & every flight of stairs are of cut stone -- the roofing of slate or tiles & much of the flooring of marble or tiles. Governor Jay has a home in Broadway, formed on the European model. I saw it while building, & is in my opinion one of the strongest & safest edifices in the U.States.

Whenever you build my son, crowd in as much brick or stone as you can & roof with slate tiles or sheet tin if you can get the materials; but if you must shingle, cover it once a year with lime, made into wash, by strongly salted water.

You & Charles I trust will ever embrace when you meet. I exclaim with the Evangelist John "Little children love one another." Persuade Charles to marry some estimable occidental Lady. If she has a few acres of priare the better. His profession even is pointing to matrimony. I shall write to him soon / by the by, he owes me this moment 2 letters /. That same oldest boy of mine I think will do very well, & I anticipate that he will be one of my sturdiest props in my old age. He has a spirit & perserverance that can dash down obstacles. Your Grandmamma & aunts & uncles all all love you & in their turns will write to you. I once mentioned a wish that you would obtain from Mr. Birkbeck a memoir of forming artificial stone of rammed earth, for the use of our agricultural society. Perhaps however you do not often see that gentleman.

Adieu my excellent boy! I leave you in the safe keeping of that POWER whose goodness is as extensive as his might. Again Farewell.

Henry Livingston

S. Breese Esq.


Writing,     Documents,     Letters,     Poetry,     Prose

All Henry Livingston's Poetry,     All Clement Moore's Poetry     Historical Articles About Authorship

Many Ways to Read Henry Livingston's Poetry

Arguments,   Smoking Gun?,   Reindeer Names,   First Publication,   Early Variants  
Timeline Summary,   Witness Letters,   Quest to Prove Authorship,   Scholars,   Fiction  

   Book,   Slideshow,   Xmas,   Writing,   The Man,   Work,   Illos,   Music,   Genealogy,   Bios,   History,   Games  

Henry's Home

Mary's Home

IME logo Copyright © 2003, InterMedia Enterprises