Elizabeth Trist to Catharine Wistar Bache

My Dear Friend

I am at a loss to account for your long Silence, I am unwilling to ascribe it to design, for I have had too many proofs of your goodness to allow that Idea to take hold on my mind, for my pride wou’d then take the alarm and oblige me to relinquish what I have not the power to retain and altho I can never forget you I woud cease troubleing you with any more of my scribble and depend on chance to hear of your self and family; in whoes welfare I shall ever feel interested; as it appears that I am the only vehicle by which Mary and yourself are inform’d of each other I can not omit giving you the following extract from a letter she wrote me after a long silence date 20th Nov The extract you gave me from Mrs Baches letter afforded me the most sincere satisfaction as it is a proof that her mind is at least in a State of resignation, I will not attempt to excuse my silence as it regards her, although I certainly wrote to her last, however believe me when in the sincerity of my heart I declare that except my family she holds the most tender and sincere place in my affections1—She excuses her self to me by having nothing to communicate but what wou’d give me pain to hear for the last two years they have had nothing but sickness on the Plantation in consiquence of the low ground being under water Browse was prevented going to school by fevers that hung upon him for a long time Mrs Brown also Mr Tournillon was attack’d but got better and exposed him self too soon was Seized with a puking of Blood which continued for 6 hours, she applied blisters before the Doctor arrived which had a salutary effect but he continued So weak that she cou’d not till Novbr pronounce him out of danger and then he had a chill and fever every other day Browse observed in his letter to me that it was inconcieveable the fatigue his Mother went through in nursing his Father Grand Mother and self weighing out medecine for the Negroes &ca that his Father was so grateful for her attention that he thought he cou’d never repay her kindness she never slept day or night during the period they thought him near his dessolution and is very thankful for having such a wife and shews his gratitude by being one of the kindest Fathers and son to Mrs Brown and Browse says that he wou’d be the same to me if I were there, The Doctors bills and other expences attending so much sickness had determined them to leave that spot the disease too in the cotton which almost destroyd the whole crop Mr T— set out to see some sugar estates that were offerd for sale but except one that Henry Brown had begun to improve he did not like their situation and Mr Livingstone had purchased that a few days before he got there Browse in his letter of the 25 Dec said that his Father had been disappointed two or three times in moving from that sickly place which wou’d be their deaths at last. for his part he was very glad that he wou’d not be there to see the same scenes over again, wonderd his Father was not disgusted with planting cotton and seeing it rot, and it was not very agreeable to have putrid water up to their noses and fevers all the year—he was the next month to go to Orleans to join his Brother My getting no letters from that time made me very uneasy, but last mail brought me a letter from Mary at La Fourche 3d March they had moved to a Plantation that Mr T. had purchased, it is six miles from the River and thought to be a healthy situation he is to give thirty thousand Dollars for a 1000 acres of land and eight Negroe men there is a saw mill on it which yeilded $4,000 annually to the last propriator. there she hoped they woud enjoy their health and Mr Tournillon be repaid for his exertions they have ten years to pay for it. if cotton does not succeed sugar will as their are several plantations in the Neighbourhood where they cultivate the cane with success. I had ask’d of Mary in one of my letters what had become of William she informd me that he was living with his wife she had not seen him for two years but heard that his wife had lately had a little daughter and that she and her two Brothers made last year 400 hogsheads of sugar, but Riches will never make that unfortunate man happy I pity him for I cannot forget his amiable qualities, and kindness to me Mary says that If cotton succeds this year that Mr Tournillon intends sending the Boys to France or the United States to finish their Education the next, they would have gone this Spring could he have collected Money for their expences for tho their expences are as great in Orleans as they will be any where else yet they can be paid quarterly or when he receives money I must confess I wou’d rather they were educated in America or Scotland for France is in too unsettled a state, beside I dont wish them to intirely lose their Mother [. . .] tongue, the french language seems the most familier to them and If they were to go to france I expect that they wou’d become altogether frenchmen I have the greatest respect for their Father in law and consider the connection with him as a most fortunate event. If God spares his life I have not a doubt but that his energy and industry will be crownd with success, their little son Julian enjoys good health Mary had just heard from the Boys they were both well She never expects to visit Virginia and God knows if we shall ever meet again I find every year greater inability for travillng atho my health is no worse I am satisfied that the retirement in which we live is not altogether suited to my disposition active life and some society is best calculated to banish from the mind the remembrance of our misfortunes, and recurrence to those events which have mortified and distressd me I cou’d not on many accounts be more happily situated Mr Gilmer and my neice are in every respect worthy of my most sincere regard my own children cou’d not be more kind to me: we had a visit from my Nephew Saml House last summer I had never seen him and as soon as he became2 his own master I received that proof of his respect, he is a very amiable young man and has talents that will make him respectable he pass’d two months with us and gaind the afffections of all the family not having heard from him for some time Emma observed that her cousin Sam had so many ways of making people love him that she thought he shou’d not forget them so soon; he was Savanah when we last heard from him and I expect soon to sail to the west Indies as a super cargo and on his return to go to Europe in that capasity after that to settle in Augusta he has an Uncle living there and sister he is Rich and has no children and shows every disposition to befriend Saml his Brother William whom you may Remember to have seen at your House was among the unfortunate crew under Blakely who tis supposed founderd at sea poor fellow he partook of the Glory of some gallant achievements in the cause of his country he was better calculated for for that kind of life than being a coach maker his Brother says that he never knew what fear was—I must not forget to inform you that my sister is married again to a rich and worthy and worthy man the connections on both sides are pleased with the match, his Name is Fitch and lives in connecticut—I hope My Dear friend that you enjoy good health and also your children. Remember me to them most affectionately Mary Gilmer desires me to assure you of her attachment Peachey is performing his Professional term The supreme courts are now in session my daughter made enquiry in her last letter when I heard from you pray indulge me with a few lines occasionally for I cant be reconciled to your forgeting me. Adieu

and believe me ever your friend
E. Trist
RC (PPAmP: Catharine Wistar Bache Papers); addressed: “Mrs Catharine Bache Princeto N—Jersey Mail”; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Trist April 1816”; stamped; postmarked Martinsville, Virginia, 27 Apr.
1Omitted closing quotation marks editorially supplied.
2Manuscript: “beame.”
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Catharine Wistar Bache
Date Range
April 24, 1816