Dabney C. Terrell to Martha J. Terrell

My Dear Sister

I received your most affectionate letter a few day before I left Baltimore and should have answered it immediately, but as I had writen to Aunt Carr a few days before I thought it would be better to write to you from the Capes. We left Baltimore 5 days ago and [. . .] on account of adverse winds have been obliged to lay by several days in the mouth of the Patuxent r. If the wind is fair we shall get to sea tomorrow. I mentioned to Aunt Carr that I could not get a passage to Havre, and likewise that the Rolla was bound to Amsterdam. My going to Amsterdam is attended with some additional expence and loss of time but it will give me an opportunity of seing some of the finest parts of Europe, for instance, Amsterdam Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and finally the immortal field of Waterloo, that field “at once so glorious and so fatal,” to Europe’s last hope.

I have writen to Mr Miller. Mr Stevenson gave me letters of credit to a house in Amsterdam and another to a house in Bordeaux. He has indeed received and treated me like a brother. I cannot tell the half of what he has done for me. I am sorry to say that I have received no letters from Mr Gallatin. I think it most probable that Mr Jeffersons letter to him miscarried.

The letter you enclosed to me was from my friend Govern. I stayed a day or two with Washington after I left Winchester, and never was I treated with more genuine hospitality not only by him but by every member of the family. The old gentleman (his father) was particularly kind and attentive to me. Washington had had received letters of a very late date from Carlisle assuring him that the persecution would not be carried on. I heard more of it in Baltimore. My considerations had before been strictly selfish; but with what indignation did I learn that the remains of the noble generous, and truly incomparable Corbin had bean been refused the right of burial and that his memory had been most vilainously calumniated by those who once would have cowd before the glance of his eye. This was indeed the leenest cut of all. His remains were buried after some few days. Afterwards they were taken up and carried home. All this has been done to throw the blame on the one who least of all deserves it—on Washington. It was reported that we wished to accommodate the matter, and when we came to the ground that Corbin did not act with firmness, but W. refused to listen to it. Why do I repeat such abominable lies? Corbin acted with the most unshaken firmness. W. as a mutual friend made every exertion to prevent it, but when we came to on the field he could not insult us by such a proposition. The distance was chosen by myself, and I stead fastly adhered to it. Corbin would have scorned to lessen it. Before I answered his challenge W. urged it me to shorten it. I write you these things that if necessary w you should confute infamous calumny and vile lies.

I have some books on board and among others Salmagundi. It is a most admirable work. If you can find a novel called ‘Dicipline,[’] read it. Its maxims are good, its moral unexceptionable and its stiyle elegant.

Give my love to the all my friends. the Dr. Sisters V. and M. Cousin Boucher Cousin Nancy, Aunt Carr &C. &C. You shall hear from me as soon as I reach Amsterdam. In the mean time believe me your

most affectionate brother
D C Terrell.

P.S. I enquired respecting the female academy at Chambersburg (P—a) and have learned from most unquestionable authority that it is an excellent institution. French is taught at it. This you may depend on

yours &C
D. C. T.
RC (ViU: Carr and Terrell Family Papers, Mss 4757 thru 4757-f, 5670); addressed: “Miss Martha. J. Terrell Charlottesville Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Baltimore, 14 Mar.

By persecution Terrell referred to the proceedings following a duel in which he fatally wounded his fellow Dickinson College student John Taylor Corbin on 7 Dec. 1815. Read Washington stood as Terrell’s second.

salmagundi; or The Whim-whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq. & Others, by Washington Irving, with James Kirke Paulding and William Irving, Jr. (1807).

Discipline: A Novel [dicipline], by Mary Balfour Brunton (1814).

Dabney C. Terrell
Martha J. Terrell
Date Range
March 1, 1816