Harriet Hackley to Catharine Wistar Bache
|Farmville Novbr 25. 1812.|
I have waited a long time in vain for an answer my dear Mrs Bache to my last letter, I will not think you have forgotten me, as the idea would be productive of real unhappiness but will account for it in some other way: I live so retir’d a life & have in the general way so little to communicate which could afford you amusement even for a moment, that I have been backward in troubleing you with another letter, however the present occasion affords me a good excuse for reminding you of your friend. I know the goodness of your heart, & feel assur’d that you can enjoy no pleasure superior to that arising from rendering service to a worthy family who are strangers in our Country & without friends.
Don Felix Merino, a Spaniard, of a very good family in Madrid, lived several years as a private Secretary to Mr Erving (our Charge des Affairs in that Kingdom untill the destruction of the Government) Mr E. who is the intimate friend of my Husband, had so high a value for Don Felix that when he quitted Madrid to follow the Junto to Seville he prevail’d on him to leave his wife with two children to the care of her family untill his return, & accompany him: about the period at which the French took possession of the Capitol Mrs Merino terrified at the idea of being of being cut off from all communication with her husband, took her infants & fled to Andalusia, leaving all her property at the mercy of the enemy, she join’d her husband & lived for a few Months in Seville supported by his Salary, on Mr Ervings return to this Country he was left destitute of employ, & enter’d Mr Hackleys Office as Clerk, where he has been ever since, but having a great desire to live in America he has brought his family over to seek an honorable subsistance in this land of Liberty. he writes me that he is in Philadelphia & that his wife is expecting to be confined very soon, & as she does not understand the language of those around her, her situation is truly pitiable; with her I am not personally acquainted, tho’ I have heard her spoken of as a virtuous correct woman, her Husband I know to be a young man of good understanding, irreproachable character, & with all possess’d of acute feeling, extreme diffidence, & a heart glowing with the love of Freedom, & a Country where the privileges of Nature are allowe’d to Men of all ranks. poor fellow! his enthusiasm will lead him to expect more happiness than he will find I fear, & he will e’er long discover that he is still in a corrupt, unfeeling world, altho’ the wings of the Eagle of Liberty are expanded over his head!
Now the object of this letter you will readily see is to recommend this little family of Strangers to your attention, the voice of humanity, which never pleads in vain to you, join’d to the solicitations of your friend will I am persuaded induce you to visit Mrs M. & render her any little act of kindness in your power, particularly at her approaching trial. my feelings are very much excited, & well they may be, for was I not a few years ago in a similar situation? & I should grieve to think a Spaniard had met with less humanity in my Country than I did in theirs. I have written to Don Felix telling him that I should write to you a letter of introduction, & I if you chuse it I will send him a letter with which he will call on you. he lives in North fifth street No 117.
present my compliments to the Dr & tell Sarah my daughter joins me in love to her; remember me to the little wild Cathe[rine] & your other children & believe me my dear Mrs Bach to be with sincere