Lewis Livingston to Nicholas P. Trist

My Dear Nicholas,

You will be surprized on recognising the handwriting of one of your early friends whom time and absence have probably obliterated from your memory—I know your heart however too well not to feel convinced that you will be pleased on receiving a token of remembrance from one whose friendship you formerly valued, and who has always been desirous to cultivate yours—Your mother wrote to me a few days since entrusting me with a commission for you, which I have gladly executed; and I now embrace the opportunity offered to renew a correspondence which was always to me a source of real gratification—

A gentleman who sails today, I believe in the Ship Emma has taken charge of your Campeachy hammock and will deliver it to Mr Thorp No 36 Water Street, who is requested to forward it to West Point addressed to Mr O. G. Burton—All this according to the directions I received from your mother—I trust it will arrive in time to relieve you from the disagreeable necessity of lying on the hard and stony surface on which your summer’s encampment is to be made—It will undoubtedly lend much to your comfort and I have always thought that hammocks of that description or resembling them ought to be introduced in our armies as part of the outfit of every soldier—they are not expensive, very durable and easily carried; and would free the men from all danger of those numerous complaints caused by the cold and moisture of the earth—Your mother informs me that when you speak of the time you are to spend at West Point, you still calculate by years—Surely you do not intend to go through the regular course of a whole olympiade which will lead you after all to a third Lieutenancy—In this country I think no man that can pursue any other avocation ought to adopt a military life—Our wars are so “short and far between” that no one can calculate even with any degree of probability upon having an opportunity to display his talents. During the storms of war a military career has charms which none other possesses and every young man of spirit will be expected to embrace it—But depend upon it in these pining times of peace “Arma cedunt togæ”—I hope you will inform me of your plans for be assured I take a lively interest in all that concerns you—Browze I understand is determined to become a man of letters—He has good models before him in the neighbourood in which he now is and I trust he will equal if not surpass them—

I regretted very much when I was apprized of your having entered the Mily Acdy that your arrival in New York had not been hastened, or mine my departure delayed some few days—For you reached there shortly after I had begun my journey—Until within a few months however I was in hopes soon to return and I promised myself additional pleasure from having you so immediately in my neighbourood—But the late decisions respecting the Batture have blasted those hopes and made me a fixture to the soil of Louisi[ana] Since I have been here my time has been divided between visits to the Plantation on La F[ourc]he, and attendance on our courts—In passing the first you may imagine that I never failed to stop at your mother’s—The kind reception I have always met with both from her self and Mr Tournillon is I believe the reason why I have my visits have been so frequent—The desire of seeing them has indeed always influenced me as much as the interests of my father.—I am however shortly to be deprived of that plan to visit my Lafourche—my father has been under the necessity of selling his plantation and I am going up for the last time to deliver up possession—You will not forgive me if I pass under silence your little brother and sister—The first is a fine sprightly boy tho’ un peu gaté; the other un petit ange de beauté—Correct this last sentence if it requires it—I am too indolent to ascertain [. . .] whether it ought to be un or une petit or petite—I am the less anxious about it; as I am writing to my friend Nicholas who I am sure will be an indulgent critic—

All your former acquaintances in New Orleans are well—Messr Blash and Morphy has y have as you probably know become members of the bar—H. Davis is an industrious practitioner. He informs me he is in correspondence with you—

I send to you the assuredness of my regard, and trust that will write souvent et longuement to

your friend
Lewis Livingston
RC (NcU: NPT); endorsed by Trist: “L. L. June 6 1819.”
Lewis Livingston
Date Range
June 6, 1819