Elizabeth Trist to Catharine Wistar Bache
|My very dear friend||Henry Cty August 22d 1814|
Your very acceptable favor of the 9th of July did not reach me till last week its detention I presume has been occasiond by the great freshes which have impeded the transportation of the mails, we have had a very wet and I think a very unpleasant summer at least it has proved so to me, without being Ill I have never felt well and am as debilitated and Lazy a being as any that deserved existance, we have had almost a deluge, after a succession of heavy rains almost without intermission from April till the 28th of last month, when the Flood Gates of heaven opend upon us, all the day and night it pour’d down in torrents sweept all before it every Mill in the Neighbourhood has been destroy’d ours has escaped with the loss of the dam and some damage done to the mill but one of our neighbours had every thing carried a way and on the rivers the water was so high that every thing on the low grounds was destroy’d Houses cattle sheep and Nags Horses and men were seen floating down the current, the calamity has not been confined to this County alon, all the Counties surrounding us have been equal sufferers and I observe in the paper that on James river it has done great damage part of Mayos Bridge has been carried a way, but what I lament the most is the loss of those articles essential to existance the poor will suffer for want of bread alas! how much we have to lament in this world of woe. the hopes of a better is all that we can have to console us, virtue is indeed the only happiness below, they who have the least to reproach themselves with, are certainly exempted from the misery which the guilty depraved mind suffers but we have often to bear a proportion of the evils of which we have not been an accessory, the misconduct of our dear connections inflicts a wound that wrankles in the soul and can never be obliterated from our memory for instance can a Mother whoes son has acted the base part that W. B. has, ever feel happiness, let the rectitude of her own heart be ever so pure, no it is impossible Mrs Ross writes me that Madame Habine and her spouse are seperated, that the report is that W. Brown has been the cause; I cant conceive how he coud have been the cause, unless Mr Habine disapprobated his living’ with them, My last letter from Mary was dated 26th May I find that not half of my letters reach her she observes that after a silence of five months she received two letters by the same mail the out side of one was so defaced as to render the greater part uninteligible, she says that she rejoices most sincerely that I have at last heard from you, [. . .] time when you write [. . .] and begs that I will send your direction as she is Sure she you has have not received any of her letters desires me to assure you of her unalterable attachment and that she desires most ardently to hear from you and to write to you, I received a letter from Browse dated 7th June he had been in delicate health all winter it finally terminated in a severe attack of fever Mrs Livingstone took him to her house and paid him every kind attention his Mother was not inform’d of it till he was better at the time he wrote he was quite well, and Nicholas enjoy’d perfect health he is continually Receiving honors for his latin compositions and Browse is so emolous that his Brother shou’d not excell him that he is too Studious for his health, they are now restricted to going out but once in three months they are learning to fence and to draw and to use their own swords their masters are contented with the progress they make Nicholas mentiond that his Aunt Harriet had just returnd from Baton Rouge that his Dear Mother had postponed her visit till the examination Mrs Ross is so kind to visit the Boys occasionally, I have many anxious moments for the fate of that Country. they are threatend with invasion and the inhabitants of Orleans are very disunited but what I dread most is an insurrection the people of colour are vastly superior in numbers to the whites and I have no doubt arms will be furnish’d them by the English or Spanish Goverment I have very little hope that the Olive Branch will be extended to us verry Soon, the Boys seem perfectly happy and appear ignorent of the dangers that surround them continue to have the most sincere affection for their Father whoes kindness and liberallity cou’d not be surpass’d by any Father—I had the pleasure to receive a letter from Mr Jefferson 10th June from poplar Forest inclosing Percivals Book in defence of the Princess of Wales, he observed that it will confirm the Moral truth that independently of another world the wicked have their torments here also. Mrs Randol[ph] was well and happier that Mr Randolph had resignd his Military commission—Francis Gilmer has just left us his account of the cause of Mr R resignation is this, he had written to the secretary of war to have Charlottesville included in the district for his Recruiting they never answerd his letter but wrote to him to go to Norfolk to take a command when he got there there was no command for him, he felt hurt wrote to them that if he was not allow’d to include Charlottesville in the district for recruiting he must resign his commission Armstrong wrote for answer that his commission wou’d be accepted, what do you think of such treatment, I heard too with great concern that Bankhead has turn’d out a great sot always frolicking and Carousing at the Taverns in the Neighbourhood poor Ann I feel for her and Mr R is so much involved that tis thought he can never be extricated from ruin, but this is between our selves Peachey heard that Monroe and Armstrong did not accord every body has their troubles I heard no mention of Mrs Randolphs turning religious she promised to write to me by Francis but somthing prevented her, the fact is that I believe she writes to no one she has a great deel to attend to Ellen is perhaps one of the best Educated Girls in America a perfect Mistress of the french Italian and Spanish languages Francis Gilmer has gone to reside for a few years in Winchester where he means to practise law when he has made Money sufficient in intends to visit Europe he is spoken of as a young man of superior talents to most of his age in every Branch of Science and will if he lives be an honor to his Country, I dont know how to boast of the victory we have obtaind over the British in Canada it has cost us dear the loss of so many of our brave countrymen chills my blood tho it is a triumph to my heart pray is General Brown a pennsylvanian? General Scott is from Virginia, Mary and Peachey unite with me in wishing your self and family health and happiness, I shou’d be truly glad if I cou’d be a few hours in your society have so much to say to you upon various subjects that I can not find it convenient to commit to paper or perhaps prudent. God bless you
percivals book, sent by Thomas Jefferson to Trist, was [Spencer Perceval], “The Book!” or, The Proceedings and Correspondence upon the subject of the Inquiry into the Conduct of Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, under a commission appointed by The King, in the Year 1806, 1st American ed. (New York and Boston, 1813; Sowerby, no. 410; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 4 [no. 111]).