Elizabeth Trist to Catharine Wistar Bache

I shou’d have written to you My beloved friend ere this but I had nothing satisfactory to communicate Our passage down the Deleware was tedious not having, some part of the time a breath of wind but we had good entertainment and respectable company to the number of thirty including Servants we arrived at New Castle after night and was jolted over 18 miles of rough roads to french Town where we again took shipping one Oclock after midnight but when we got into the Bay the wind blue fresh but against us which occasion’d us to tack often the Sea rough and almost the whole passage the Gunwale under water and the spray like rain dashing into the cabbin Mrs Hous[e] was very sea sick declared that she wou’d never recommend to any one going that way, but I think it saves a great deel of fatigue we got to Baltimore about one OClock the next day a kind Gentleman that Sister pick’d an acquaintance with being a yankey procured us a Hack and waited on us to Gadsbys Hotel and offerd us every assistance in his power gave us an invitation to his House which we declined, the next morning at 6 Oclock we took Stage for Washington and arrived there in time for dinner and met with a friendly reception from my relations Mrs Easton had prepared beds for us but I had promised my cousins to take up my abode with them on my return.

The next day we waited on Mrs Madison as he happen’d to be more than usually engaged I requested that he might not be disturbed she was polite but appeard I thought (so did Mrs Easton)1 some what constrain’d in her manners as her carriage was at the door we made our visit short in the evening we recd a card to dine, the next day, which I answerd that I was sorry we cou’d not accept being engaged to pass the day with Mrs Easton the next morning we went in a carriage to the Navey yard and saw the inside of the capital which was rather in disabi a confused state we then proceeded to Mr Gallatins neither him self or Lady were at home I then proceeded to the Hotel in quest of William Brown but he had left Washington on Wednesday morning for Baltimore to take his Passage in the first Vessel for N Orleans I make no doubt we were at the same Inn as most of the Stages put up at Gadsbys I made two visits to Mr Duval but was disappointed in not seeing him he being Ill while I was out, the President and his Lady call’d to return my visit which it seems is a great mark of respect on his part, as he returns no visits the morning after we returnd the visit and had the honor of an interview with the President he took me by the hand but his manner appeard rather Stiff I got no information from him respecting William Brown s he had not seen him, nor had had any communication with either Mr Gallatin or Mr Duval on the subject but that he fancy’d that he knew more than he had discoverd when I spoke about Mary and the difficulties she had to encounter and read a part of her last letter he did not seem to feel much on the subject excuse’d Grimes or endeavourd to do it, on the plea of his attention to the public interest, I observed2 that his conduct had been universally reprobated and that I presumed from the State of inebriety that he was prone to, he was led to do more than his duty exacted. he Said Mr Grimes had lived in his Neighbourhoud and that he had never heard of his doing any thing improper except being a little wild I told him that in Albemarle his character was considerd very exceptionable and that on my arrival I was asked how Mr Jefferson came to appoint such a man to that Office that he was both a Gamester and a Drunkard, he seem’d or effected Surprise however I found that I was not likely to get information from that quarter and I took my leave Mrs Madison had left the room he went to call her from the adjoining apartment but she was not there left compliments and retired as dignified as I cou’d my Sister said he offerd me his hand but I did not observe the intended honor till I had pass’d him, the best information I cou’d obtain was from Governor CCC he told me that he had sent for Wm and that he acknowledged the purchase of the plantation was what had caused his ruin and when speaking of his manuvers to make his escape from his persuers, he laugh’d nor did he app[ear] as much cast down as he expected, tho at first he was confu[sed] he told the Governor that Phil was to pay him 25,000 $ that he had paid him 18,000 he had bought it subject to the mortgages So that Mary I presume will have Seven thousand Dollars to pay more than she knew off Mrs Duval told me that he had confess’d to more than 130,000 $ he told the Governor his plan which was to go to his sister and send for his wife and if she wou’d go with him to go and settle in the west Indias that he presumed his wifes family wou’d not receive him, but he had reason to believe his wife wou’d, his expences in consiquen[ce] of his elopement has been upwards of eight thousand pounds, beside the purchase of the vessel the fellow that carried him off made him pay him two thousand pounds as he had left that much property in N Orleans and he knew it wou’d be seized by the Government and unless he paid the Money he wou’d deliver him up, and in that manner has he been imposed on in England Mr Pinkney gave him a 120 Guineas to bear his expen[ces] which is all he had to bring him here and to take him to Louissianna, I am excessively hurt at his going to his family and had I had another interview with him I shou’d have endeavourd to induce hi[m] to change his plan for it must add to their unhappiness to see him and to their discredit if they countenanced hi[m] when I observed to Governor Claiborne that ow’d him [g]ratitude, he answerd no Mrs Trist he owes you gratitude and every body here seems to be of that opinion and what is surprising the public sympathy is excited towards me more than to his own family tho they are not without it and every body regrets Charles in this Neighbourhood I am inform’d that a Son of Hunter the coach maker saw him at the Havanah and was there when he saild for Jamaica so that I have some hope of his being in existance since he has not been with his unworthy Brother I think it probable that Charles will endeavour to make his way in that country as Wm pass’d under another name he may not be known as his Brother and of course escape mortification. it is well Known here that Brown is not their3 real name Mr Brown told Mr Wolcutt that he had changed his name but it was not for any disgraceful action and there are two Men that are Clerks in the Offices who knew him in Ireland he was never in the customs but the accusation is for frau’d under the Bankrupt law and I presume that must be the case for I heard Mrs Brown say that her Husband brought a thousand Pounds to this country Mrs Easton Says that William Brown told her some years ago that Brown was not [their] name but beg’d her not to mention it, that Cos Cotgrove was the name, you may be assured I have been greatly mortified as these things are very disgraceful to the family I am connected with and to whom I am tenderly attached Governor Claiborne says no one cou’d have conducted themselves with greater honor than Mrs Brown nor acted with greater propriety he seems to think that William has been led into many errors by his intimacy with Livingstone and Prevost that after I left there he got into expensive habits that the Ball he gave must have cost 1200 $ and that was brough[t] about by Prevost and some others; Lord Lord what may not be effected in a short period If kindness affection and attention can soothe a lacerated bosom mine will undergo a change for the better for, no one cou’d be more graciously received by their friends than I have been and every one that I ever knew has come to see me and seem to take a greater interest in me than ever the assurences of friendship is grateful and I am not insensible to the many kindnesses I have experienced both from you and the Doctr as also from others, the only return I can ever make will be to pray for your happiness and cherish the remembrance of all your manifold proofs of friendship and goodness towards me and mine I am affraid we shall be detain’d here some days in consiquence of the Stage going from Fredricksburg to Albemarle only once a week Mrs Madison told my Sister that she heard from either Mrs Monroe or Mrs Randolph that Mary Gilmer was quite lusty I was speaking with the President at the time and did not attend to what she was talking about or I shou’d have ask’d her some questions upon the subject There is a report in circulation that Mr Jefferson is agoing to live at on his Estate at Bedford and Monticello is to be given up to Mr Randolp[h] however I doubt that, Mr Jefferson may go there every year till he settles it to his mind but I cant think it will be his permanant residence, I have been call’d off half a Dozan times to visitors since I commenced writing and my health is some what impaired by taking a bad cold, the young folks of this family do every thing to make my time with them pass agreeably we have musicial partys every evening Nancy Simms plays and sings most devinely and a young Gentleman accompanies her on the violin which makes the melody delightful I thought of the Docter and how he wou’d enjoy it. you wou’d be pleased with the family they are intelligent cheerful and agreeable notwithstanding the old gentleman is a Strong federalist I must really now quit or occasion you a heavy postage which I am certain will not be worth Mrs House desires me to assure you of her sincere regard, and begs if any of Mr Barkers family calls upon you for information respect in her to tell them she will write to Miss Lewis on our arriva[l] in Albemarle If you shou’d see Mrs Freeman my love to her

also a kind remembrance to Mrs Buchanan Mrs Pettit and a thousand affectionate good wishes to the children who I shall love dearly if they conduct themselves to please you and their Father and believe me my Dr friend ever yours

E. Trist
RC (PPAmP: Catherine Wistar Bache Papers); partially dated; mutilated at seal; addressed: “Mrs Catharine Bache Franklin Court Philadelphia”; stamped; postmarked Alexandria, 26 Oct.; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Trist.”
1Omitted opening parenthesis editorially supplied.
2Manuscript: “obseved.”
3Manuscript: “there.”
Catharine Wistar Bache
Date Range
October 24, 1810