Elizabeth Trist to Catherine Wistar Bache

My Dr Friend

I have been looking for a letter from you for some time, and began to be apprehensive least some of the family were sick, or somthing had happend to draw your attention from me for so long a period, for you have always been so kind and attentive to me, that I cou’d not attribute your silence to any other cause, and I am sorry that my conjectures have not been altogether void of reason. Sally Maria Thompson mention’d in a letter to me the Death of old Mr Bache which I make no doubt has been attended with trouble and sorrow to his family to judge from appearences when I had last the pleasure of seeing him I shou’d have pronounced a much longer period for his existance here, but alas we have no right to be surprised at an event so common to all ages, I did not hear what his sickness was or any particulars only that report said he had left Mrs Harwood 6000 £ I am glad to hear that she is so handsomely provided for and hope that he had it in his power to do the same by all his children—I feel so great an interest in what concerns you that I shall feel very much mortified if the Doctor or his children have not shared equal with the rest—I presume you have heard of the Death of old Mrs Carr, she was a long time in a very weak debilitated state and was very anxious to die I have not received a line from Mrs Randolph since I have been here but Harmer Gilmer has been here and inform’d me that she had not been well that she had moved with all her family to Edge Hill to remain during the Harvest Mrs Hackly and her family were there also Mr Jefferson was to have sett out for Bedford but had an attack of Rhumatism which confined him to his chamber some time and was the means of procrastinating his trip to Bedford for some weeks, and Mr Burwell heard from a Gentleman who lives in that neighbourhood that he seem’d in bad sperits that Bankheads abandoning his plan of settling there had blighated Mr Jeffersons schemes of improving the place or finnishing the House at poplar Forest, I fear that he has a great deel to tease and embarras him I am glad to hear that he has got rid of his Tenants at the Mill Mr Randolph has taken it in Partnership with a Man of good character bred to the business and I am in hopes that it will be attended with more success

I received about a month since letters from Mary and her sons they were dated 20th July she had been very Ill with a violent cold which was attended with a so severe cough and pain in her breast as to threaten her dissolution Nicholas had been sick with a fever and her anxiety on his acct made her in attentive to her self and in three weeks she was so alterd as hardly to know her self Doct Watkins advised bleeding and she thinks it saved her life tho she was extremely Ill for four hours after but began to mend the next day—The Doctor advised a change of air for Nicholas and her intention was to go with all the family to Batton Rouge but the inundation renderd the roads impassible, in many places the country was many feet under water Mr Habine Euphemias Father in law gave them a pressing invitation to go to their Plantation and brought his carriage and took Nicholas who had a return of his fever after he got there but was then quite recoverd but the Doctor thinks that he will be subject to coughs and fevers while he continues to grow so fast. Mary followd with the rest of the family as soon as she was able and they had been there a month they entertain a great deel of Company and enjoy life more than any people she ever saw, William is living there with his wife who is pregnant again and treated with the greatest kindness he sees all the company that frequents the House and is particularly mention’d in all the invitations that the family receive but he accepts of none of none unless [. . .] those of the family, Madame Habine is one of the best Mothers in the world she finds all her children married and single in their cloathing and the same was made up for william as was for her own sons, who have all handsome Plantations of their own and the revenue of the plantation on which she lives is 36,000$ a year Euphemia has applied for a devision of property and her Mother intends to place William in a situation to provide for his family when she is convinced the property cannot be touched for his debts tis his wish to go to Europe but his wife opposes it indeed Mary says that Mr Habine is the only one of the family who approves of it, but she did not know how they wou’d detirmine. My advise wou’d be to stay where she is what part of the world can he go to; that his infamy will not be known and what respectability of standing can she hold in society with such a character for her husband, in the bosom of her family she may find comfort beside her affection may cease with her respect for his character for William had not the qualification to captivate the heart neither had he the advantage of personal attractions his merit and situation was all he had to recommend him and that he has forfited I pity him because I believe him to be a miserable man and I think I cou’d part with my right hand to restore him to honor and I am not sorry to hear that he is noticed by some people but I am sorry that my Grand Sons shou’d witness it, Indulgence for such conduct has an immoral tendency. Nicholas writes me that his little Cousin Hermogene Brown is a fine Boy and also that his Grand Mother had just received a letter from his Uncle Rapp informing her that his Aunt Harriot had a fine Son that she had been Ill for six days but was better. Browse has improved in his writing very much he writes much such a hand as Mr Jeffersons and nearly as good as soon as he can draw a head without assistance he is to send me one, poor fellows I feel some inquietude on theirs and there Mothers Acct I wish they may not experience much greater sickness when the waters retire to lose either of those Boys wou’d I fear render me miserable indeed; tho I endeavour to be prepared for the event poor Mary has many difficulties to encounter which she never before had an Idea of,1 her Mother has received another letter from her Aunt urging her to come to Dublin and to draw upon her for Money to defray her expences as in case any thing happens to her she has no one to whom she cou’d intrust her property to but she says that she cou’d not suffer her Mother to undertake such a voyage without having Money with her and it was impossible for her to raise any, as there was the greatest distress there, for every one there almost, had faild and a person that ow’d Phil Money cou’d not pay her at that time, she says nothing of her affairs so that I presume they are not yet settled—perhaps you may have recd a letter from Mary containing all I have detaild, if not I am sure you will not be displeased at my want of brevity in my epistles; If you shou’d hear from her I will thank you to let me know. Peachy saw a Gentleman at the Springs from that Country who says that Governor Claiborne has no chance of being elected Governor under their new Constitution some influential french Men are making great exertions to get him displaced and he had no doubt but they will succeed It will be a sad stroke to the Governor for he was under the impression that he had become very popular with those people old Poidras made him believe so. I wish they may get as honest a Man, they mean to elect a french Man I fear they will become more devided than ever they propose to make the Governors salary 1500$ a year instead of five which will enable them to live much better and more to their Ideas of proprity, but if our Government appoint him an ambassador to some of the first courts of Europe it will compensate him for the mortification

I expect this will be handed you by my sister who talks of leaving us in a few days which is a source of regret to us, she is so truly amiable that her society promotes my happiness. but I wish her to take her son from this Country for he is not a Boy of any great talents and he is at too loose an end and will never profit by the society he associates with, he is not addicted to any vices but from too great indulgence and having his own will too much, tis difficult to controul him my desire is to have him put to some trade and for that purpose she leaves us, she expected that Peachy wou’d have had a command over him and kept him at his studies but he is so much from home that was not easily carried into effect—how many heart rending moments a poor Mother has; and with every disposition to do right how few there are who have a proper method of managing their children and they who have, so many things intervene to counteract their plans that is not to be wonderd at—that so small a portion of mankind act with propriety—

Do let me hear from you as often as you can, to know that yr well and happy will at all times give me sincere pleasure I hope the Doctor and children are well My love to them Peachy and Polly desire me to present their best regards and assure you of the high respect they entertain of your merits Remember me to the amiable Mrs Buchanan Miss McClanahim and her good Father if you are on terms with her

God bless you and yours prays your sincere friend
E. Trist

19th not having seald my letter I can not omit informing2 you that I have just recd a letter from Mary and Nicholas date 10 Sept High Land, near Batton Rouge they were the only persons in the family that had strength to hold a pen such a dreadful season was never known my Dear Browse had an attack of fever so bad that his life was dispaird of3 but Nicholas says that he was then much better that his Grand Mother Brown had an attack the day before but that day had it not his Aunt Harriot sufferd very much from her breasts and that child was Ill with a fever, and he is very much pleased with the place. Mary observes that even in affluence sickness was dreadful but Oh how much more so when your situation will not admit of procuring every thing you wish her suit with the Goverment has not been brought on yet but they have orderd another suit against the estate of H. B. T. for 6000ƒ for what was due in the Natchez to the Publick Bonds for the amount of 8000ƒ she says were put into the hands of Mr Poindexter for recovery his character is so bad that she is afraid that she shall be compeled to sue him and perhaps be kept out of it a long time, I think William and Henry Brown must have been very negligent as Administrators to my Sons estate to let those bonds remain so long unsettled, I heard them once say that they shoud have to go up there on Mr T business but it was never done Good Heavens what a Multitude of difficulties surround my poor Mary I wish it may not be the means of destroying her and I expect that every thing will be wrested from her that she has on earth

once more Adieu
RC (PPAmP: Catherine Wistar Bache Papers); addressed: “Mrs Cathrine Bache Franklin Court Philadelphia”; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Trist.”
1Manuscript: “off.”
2Manuscript: “inforing.”
3Manuscript: “off.”
Catharine Wistar Bache
Date Range
October 18, 1811 to October 19, 1811