Elizabeth Trist to Catherine Wistar Bache

It is a long time My ever dear friend since I have had the satisfaction of hearing from you; hope indisposition has not caused your long silence not a day passes without thinking of you and shou’d write to you more frequently, but the fear of being too obtrusive, deters me, I want to hear if this winter has been more kind to your health than the last and if your happiness has met no greater interruption than usual, I dont calculate on hearing that any of my friends are happy but if they are not miserable, a gleam of pleasure will occasionally shoot its rays across the mind to make our existance desireable and if I cou’d be certain of that, shou’d be content, hoping for something better

Some times I fear that I am too sanguine in the expectations I have form’d of my Grand Sons they write such charming letters to me that I can not, but look forword to their being more than common characters, certain it is I am much more anxious that my existance may be prolonged to witness their establishment in life tho my hopes may never be realized Browse mentiond in his last letter dated the 3d Decber that he had been Ill in consiquince of too violent exercise which brought on a spitting of blood attended with a fever but that he was then perfectly recovered he says that his Mother will not have a sufficient quantity of Provisions to last her Slaves two months but intended to hire them out if Possible he mentions also two attempts of insurrection in Orleans headed by White Men their plans were discoverd by the fidelity of some slaves to their Masters and a great many executions had taken place in consiquence I have since received one from Nicholas as late as the 17th Dec he says that it is reported that a fleet and four thousand troops were coming from Jamaica to take that Country, certain it is that the situation of that Country is very critical they had not in Non regular troops sufficient for its defence and I heard that great discontent prevaild in Orleans in consiquence of General Wilkinsons removing all the regular troops from the city over the Lake and the Militia have very hard Dates to perform however I am not without hope that the Patriotism of the Carolinas Georgia and Tennessee will afford them seasonable relief I observed in the papers that a number of men had March’d from those States to take possession of east Florida the Floridas and I have not a doubt but they will be reinforced so as to quiet the apprehensions of the Louisiana as to her internal foes what a dreadful State to be placed in, how much I deplore the unprotected State of my poor children but Mary is not very timed timid Nicholas mentions that she was very busily ingaged in making up cloathes for him that they expected to be in Orleans on the first of January he was afraid that it wou’d be a dreadful trip for her that the Ice was an inch and a half thick that her Rhumatism continued to attack her at dusk and the agony that she is in for two or three hours is inconceiveable that she thinks it incumbent on her to go, as she has no friend to whoes care she can commit Nicholas to place him at college I only wonder that she has firmness to seperate from him at this period, These are dreadful times but our sufferings are only a small speciman of what the rest of the world have had to encounter my feelings have been wounded by the disasters of our Army they commenced with Hull and ended in the foolish vaporing of Smyth the Trechery of the one and the folly of the other will cost the United States many valuable lives But there are at length hopes the changes that have taken place in the Departments and the plan for raising a large Army and the inducements held out for inlisting that I hope it will be an Army in fact and not on paper and that the honor of our Country may be retrieved The increase of Republican members will give the Administration sufficient strength to prosecute the war with rigour and terminate the contest speedily, The conduct of our brave Sons of the Ocean have surpass’d every thing expected of them and in every contest at all equal have triumph’d and exibited a superiority in Gunnery difficult to account for, Our Privateers have humbled England, by their bravery and success, it appears that they have captured 305 Vessels, and brought in seamen to exchange for all those taken by the British Oh if our Countrymen were only firmly United and1 detirmind to carry on the conflict like bretheren England wou’d soon feel the importance of our enmity if she is insensible to the value of our friendship. What do you think of our friend T. M. Randolph enroling his name as a private soldier? a man capable of being a commander in Chief I do suppose he has felt some chagrine at the Citizens of Albemarle not exibiting more public sperit for I never heard of any volunteer Corps being raised there a Mr Lewis of Campbell is raising a Regiment and sent on written Articles to Captn Hudson for him to produce on the Court days for those to sign who were willing to shoulder their musket T Randolph whas the first to subscribe his name I have received no letters from Mrs Randolph when Peachey was in Albemarle in Nov she promised to write by him but was very soon laid up with the Influenza I believe I mention’d to you that Mr Randolph had taken the Mill in Partnership with a man by the Name of Finney Originally from our state they gave 500$ to Shoemaker to give up his term of the Lease and great expectations were form’d of his skill and management he being highly recommended by Stroud in whoes employ he had been several years, but alas, he has proved as worthless as the former Occupants and Mr R has lost a great sum by the connection they have got rid of him but there the Credit of the Mill has sufferd as well as the building and works and I fear it will increase Mr R embarrassments which I am very sorry for a Man of his industry and goodness of heart deserves better fortune I suppose you heard that Peter Carr was appointed to a Professorship in the College of William and Mary, he at first declined but I understand he has accepted It will certainly be a situation more [. . .] conformable to his turn of mind than keeping a Grammar school and will certainly be of great advantage to his children the objection to Williamsburg not being healthy three month in the year can be obviated by their removal to Albemarle in that season, Dabney is appointed a District Judge and has Removed his family to Winchester Mrs Divers has very indifferent health Mr Jefferson makes frequent trips to Bedford and enjoys excellent health for his period of life which is certainly a great blessing next to a good conscience the first that Heaven can bestow I have been wonderfully favord this Winter we have had very cold weather but dry till about 2 weeks since which enabled me to take exercise but now the earth is cover’d with two feet of snow and I expect we shall suffer for the long spell of dry weather Remember me affectionately to the children assure them that I shall always love them if they act conformable to your wishes tell the Docter we often talk over old times and the many pleasant hours we have pass’d in his society I hope the buildings in Franklin Court are compleated and that fortune will again smile upon you Mary and Peachey desire me to present their warmest wishes for your happiness and if you will Please to present mine to Mrs Buckannan I will thank you, and to Doctor Wister God bless you My Dear friend and be assured I feel greatly interested in all that concerns you, I heard with much pleasure of Mr T B Robertsons appointment to Represent Louisiana in Congress and James Brown to the Senate I wish much to see them Mrs Brown is one of my greatest favorites a very worthy amiable woman the pleasantest time I pass’d in that Country was pass’d with them at their Plantation I never can forget their polite and friendly attention if they shou’d visit Philad I wou’d be glad if convenient, if you wou’d call upon her as I like my friends to be known to each other, The Reverses of fortune that has taken place in Orleans since I left there is very great poor Mrs Ross is not happily situated her Daughter in law is not kind to hir she mentions the Death of Doctor Watkins his willingness to leave a world that he had been long weary of2 he observed to Doct Daw that he had no regrets but that of leaving his Wife and son It seems that he has never been a happy man since Burrs affair Flood is still living and Governor Claiborne has married a young Girl of 16 descent Spanish not remarkable for her beauty or accomplishments dont speak a word of English not Known in the fashionable circles his friends are surprised and mortified and Mrs Flood who is perfectly acquainted with her Pedegree looks significantly and shrugs her shoulders but I presume she is rich for they are goin[g] to reside in a large House which her Mother resigns to them

E. Trist
RC (PPAmP: Catherine Wistar Bache Papers); addressed: “Mrs Catherine Bache Pine Street Philadelphia”; stamped; postmarked Martinsville 13 Feb.; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Trist Feb 1813”; in an unknown hand: “Returned for pay JJ.”
1Manuscript: “and and.”
2Manuscript: “off.”
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Catharine Wistar Bache
Date Range
February 1, 1813