Elizabeth Trist to Catharine Wister Bache

My Dear Friend

I take the earliest opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of your Welcome favor which was to have been forwarded by Harmer he has beheaved most shockingly to be sure, and when I see him I shall give him a good scolding I wrote to Mrs Thompson for some little things that I wanted or shou’d want particularly a pair of thick leather shoes which are not to be easily obtain’d in this Neighbourhood she went to the City on purpose to get the articles and sent her Son to enquire on Friday when he was to set out he said the next day the things were prepared and sent to his Lodgings but he was gone Sally Maria is quite outrageous and hopes he will have the stomach ache till he returns to Philad I am sorry as I dont know when another opportunity will present, he talks of being out here some time in this month but it is not certain he was in Richond when he wrote, and was going down upon James River, he seems to be much at a loss where to fix him self I received a few days since letters from Mary and Nicholas hers was dated 5th March his the 18th she has been very sick since her last wro letter wrote in Jany and very miserably anxious about Nicholas who was in very delicate health what his complaints are she knows not he has not been well for the last year and she thought his Illness was the effects of worms but the Physicians say no, she has had all the medical advise the Country afforded and where she shoud get the Money to pay them she did not know for one of them sent her a bill of 43 42 Dollars for two visits and a few powders which she threw in the fire her Mother had been to Orleans and sacrafised some of the furniture to procure necessaries for the sick, but what surpised me more than all, is that Harriet and her husband have left her she says that Mr Rapp neglected her interest and wanted to impose upon her I am certain his conduct must have been exceptionable to have changed her opinion of him I think Harriet must feel great mortification and distress tho she has a good share of Pride and obstinacy mingled in, with her amiable qualities and as is natural will no doubt side with her husband—but I cant think him an honorable character or he wou’d never give poor Mary cause to complain her Negro man Arthur carries on the Plantation for she says it wou’d never do to hire an Overseer while our political Prospects are so gloomy a Mr Fowler who lives about half a mile from her has offerd to direct and superintend Arthur his wife is one of the most sensible women she says that she ever knew and has the greatest share of merit they have six lovly children and have to struggle with every species of pecuniary distress I remember to have heard of their arrival in that country about year before I left it they were from the State of N York and I heard that he got a large fortune by her two beautiful Girls that came out with their Mother who was sister to Mr Fowler for the benefit of her health she was in a consumption and died soon after their arrival and they went up the Country with their Uncle and it was said that Henry Brown was to have been married to the youngest Miss Peters but Mary writes me that they are both dead but she does not say where they died I understood that they were to return to N York to their Father as soon as a favorable opportunity offerd of Ladies going, she mentions that Browse is as wild as the woods he inhabits he will be for whole days cutting down timber with the Negroes she observed that it was heart breaking but she1 must submit untill she cou’d exert her authority, My Darling Nicholas writes me that he is rapidly recovering heath , his Mother had bought him a Horse as the exercise of riding was absolutely necessary for him they had been in great want of milk but Mr Fowler had been so kind as to lend them a cow untill they get theres in April his Mother had sold her cotton for eight cows he also informs me that he has a small Kitchen and flower Garden that he had Planted Radishes peppers alspice Rose bushes Rosemary and intended planting Pinks and violets in proper season he said that they had a very early and warm spring the peaches were as large as the end of his finger. I am afraid that country will become more sickly since these volcanic irruptions they say nothing of them but what dreadful accounts from South America what destruction has taken place at the Caraccas and Laguira Mary says that she wou’d come on to the States if she had the funds but that was impossible in her present circumstances her Mother was going to Town again to conclude her sale of the furniture the times are dreadfully hard there now, Mr Burwell writes me that the Louisianians have framed a Constitution more congenial to republican principles than was expected by any person They have selected the best and most approved provisions from similar Institutions in the Union and if they Practise the Principles of their constitution, there is little doubt they will exibit a spectacle flattering to them selves and flattering examplary to others It is supposed Detrahan will be their Governor Poydrass and Claiborne senators their judges are to have 5000$ pr a and all their Officers in the same proportion Wilkinson has gaind a compleate triumph over his enemies and is reappointed to the command of the Southern armey and Mr B thinks there is a general acquiescence in the sentence of the court martial, he has witnessed the greatest civility from the Public in General The judges of the Supreme court with J Marshall at their head waited upon him, I think that he deserves credit for the ardor with which he has defended him self and the success with which he has stemmed the torrent it looks at last as if he was innacent the load of obloquy that he has sustaind, a man of a desponding mind wou’d never have shaken off. Mr B says he never had much confidence in him nor is it greater now than heretofore But that he is satisfied the most infamous means and the basest motives have combined against him and it is not wonderful that open and avou’d subornation of witnesses shoud fix upon him serious charges—I am glad that he has been acquitted for I think that he has been sufficiently punish’d for his indiscretions I was among the last that deserted him but I am sorry that the impressions against him have been so indelibly fixd upon my mind, not but that I believe that the greatest number of his accusers are as void of principle as him self Mr B mentions also that strange and extrordinary events were develloping in consiguence of Mr Henrys disclosure to the Goverment of Brittish Intrigue it has produced a great deel of concern and proves compleatly what was formerly suspected But he did not apprehend that it woud produce any change in parties the opposition will represent it as mere trick of the Executive to inflame and mislead the public mind. The measures of the Goverment have been very much disturbed by the active and violent intrigues for the next Presidency at the commencement of the Session those who were opposed to Mr Madison immagin’d that he was unwilling to go to war & therefore made a great noise about it at the time telling the people Mr M. was incapable of managing a war contrary to their expectations they find him disposed to war and they now take a decided stand against war the whole representation from N york and all the fedle party have united upon this ground, and will probably defeat2 every attempt to maintain the rights of the nation by war

I think it a pity that the people can not impart a little of their virtue to their representatives, alho altho I do not take the same interest in my Countries welfare I can not but feel a little of the old sperit of Seventy Six when I hear of the daring outrages of that insolent and overbearing nation and I feel humbled as an American to see so little sperit if Congress had been made up of such characters at the commencement of the Revolution we shou’d never have obtain our independence I must not forget to give you all the information I receive tho it is probable you may have heard it. Mr Henry arrived in America in December in Company with a Count Crillon a french Emigrant The Count it seems is a man of Education and fashion and of course took Lodgings with the most Gay in the City he lodged at Oneals with the vice president Madam Bonaparte Miss Spear Genl Smith Dewitt Dewit Clinton Mr Danby of Massachusetts who is remarkable for his pretty wife. Then his rank as might be expected became a subject of speculation in which the Ladies enterd with their usual Zeal some maintaining the reality of his pretentions others denying it in toto pretty much in proportion to his attentions or neglect of them—

Mr Danby who has been all over Europe saw Bte the pope of rome &c.&ca ventured to interpose his knowledge of the Genealogy of European families, gave the Count offence who threaten’d to Annihilate him; to meet this awful catastrophe D. provided himself with a brace of pistols and hired the Cook to stand centinel, some noise about 4 O clock alarmd him and he fired his pistol thro the door and alarmd the whole House Madam B rais’d the window cried out murder Miss Sp coverd her head up and begd to call louder the passage was soon filld with a group of fantastical figures in their different habiliments this ludicorus affair I was informd produced a great deel of mirth and furnish’d topics for the censorious. I cou’d not help being devirted at Mr Danbys panick panic I wonder If his pretty wife was with him I presume not tho he generally takes her as his best pass port. there must have been a great display of beauty at Washington the Belle of Richmond Ms Wickham was some time there and I am told that Mrs Monroe looks as well and as handsome as ever. I have not heard from Albemarle since I last wrote you I am anxious to hear if Mrs Divers has recoverd from her indisposition, I fancy poor Livingstone has given up his Suit for after the trial at Richmond, he can have little chance of success in the Supreme Court I can not but rejoice that Mr Jefferson has not been cast as it might reflect a discredit on his political public character If it did not injure his private one or impair his fortune at the same time I am sorry for the loss that Livingstone has sustain’d he is a good hearted man and I shall always feel grateful for his kindness in offerring to raise money to send the Boys to College Tho I am pleased that their Mother did not accept it, I am nevertheless grateful and wish him every happiness I am glad that his practise is so lucrative & am well pleased to hear that you are so well off, and that the estate will improve I have no doubt, I think it is a hard case that Benjamins children cant inherit what wou’d have been their Fathers How do you like living in Pine Street you certainly had a bad time to move in, and I wonder that it did not lay you up, the fatigue you must have undergone with the Doctor and the childrens indisposition I hope they have recoverd long ere this we have escaped the cold weather some how or other for certainly I never experienced less disagreeable or cold weather the last month has been not so pleasant some hot weather3 but generally rather too cold to be pleasant but the woods are all cloathd in their best attire and the ground coverd with the most beautiful flowers I ever saw the canal Honey Suckle grows wild the Red bud and fringe tree and Dogwood look very handsome nature has been bountiful of her favors but very little improvement will aid her and that is denied the mere chance bread and meat in Plenty and a little Tobacco by way of preparin[g] the ground for corn but it is certainly one of the healthest parts of world but through the winter and spring we have had an abundance of thunder and lightining which is not so very pleasant I am now incommoded by sharp lightening and thunder we have had one gust after a nother for these two hours, and my nervious system is not very strong. I am truly sorry to hear of Mrs Buchanans misfortunes she seems fated to have a full portion of sorrow what a sad accident happend her poor Son but I hope he has perfectly Recoverd and that she will in future enjoy greater comfort give her assurence of my best wishes for I really feel interest in her happiness and that of her promising family I hope Mr Pettit and family are well do you and the Miss McClenahan keep up your acquaintance is the old gentlemans health better than it was when I left Philad. Mary accords with you in wishing that we lived at a comeatable distance for than she might have a chance of seeing you and there is no one that she wou’d be so much pleased to see at her House as you unless it was her cousin Mary Peachey sets out early in the morning for Franklin Court desires me to present his best wishes to you and the Docter Mary unites her best regards with mine to the Doct Sarah Benjamin and the two little Girls may God bless and preserve you all is the sincere and devout wish of your affectionate friend

E. Trist

Please to present my best respects to your Brother Doctor Wister, I dont know what has got into the elements for we have had one gust after another for at least 15 hours and such torrents of rain that I fear Peachey will not be able to cross Smiths River in looking over my letter I feel almost ashamd to send it, so many interpolations but indeed at best my head is rather a confused one and being anxious to write I braved the storm tho frequently obliged to stop to recover from the shock of loud explosions caused by the the lightening I dont think I ever saw the clouds so fill’d with Electric matter I began to thi conceit that I felt it in my system, it looks gloomy this morning but I am in hopes the rain is over

RC (PPAmP: Catherine Wistar Bache Papers); addressed: “Mrs Catharine Bache Pine Street Philadelphia mail”; stamped “double”; postmarked Martinsville 8 May; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Trist May 1812.”
1Manuscript: “she she.”
2Manuscript: “defeat defeat.”
3Manuscript: “wather.”
Calzado Nike
Catharine Wistar Bache
Date Range
May 3, 1812