Authors

Dudley Chase

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Dudley praises George's patriotism. He disagrees with George's argument to legalize sin as has been done in New England. Dudley dined with General Mason and his family and praises his estate. Dudley makes predictions about the upcoming Presidential election and predicts that Monroe will succeed.

Date

3-4-1816

City

Washington D.C.

Keywords

Dudle Chase, George Chase, James Monroe, Connecticut, General Mason, Major Merigs, Philander Chase, New England, Washington DC, William H Crawford

Transcript

Wash—March 4th 1816

Dear George,

As I have not rec’d any letters of a very recent date from you, I have been pouring over again those from Hartford of 3rd & 17th of Jan’y thereby reviving such tender recollection in aid of a full indulgence of those social affectations, the medium of the most cordial felicity that poor humanity can enjoy. In this state of things yours of 26th Feb’y arrived; and I am sure I need not describe to you the pleasure it afforded me, as your imagination & heart will do my feelings on that occasion more justice than can my pen.

The fervor of your attachment to the honorable character of your Country, affords a very flattering presence of your future usefulness, should you pursue the patriotic cause you have chose. It is not small consolation to the feelings of those who are rapidly passing off the stage of active life, to be assured that they will be succeeded by others who will ably and zealously promote & [advance] the honor & prosperity of their Country.

I have heard the sentiment advanced, “that Patriotism was but a name—a mere mark, assumed by rogues & knaves to impose on the weak & credulous”!! Cold and insensible must be the heart that could dictate such a sentiment. A consciousness of having violated the obligations of that noblest principle of human action could alone have prompted any man to make the expression. Yet the same person who suggested such an opinion acknowledged that Patriotism or the love of liberty was excusable in very young men, but he tho’t any pretensions to such notions in persons of mature age were extremely [ridiculous]!! Such are the dogmas of most of the cavalier or malignant party in this Country. But enough of this—I can [never] touch on these subjects with moderation.

I had rec’d From your hon’d Father an intimation of his intended visit to New Haven, & the object of it—the consecration of the Church in that place. His observations on the letters which I have written him, it seems, have exerted a curiously in you to learn their contents. Now, my Dear George, I can say is that your father wrote me a letter in, “very allegorical style, which produced an answer in which I made such blundering [pushes] at this meaning & intentions, that I suppose it raised his his visibility to that pitch as to justify his observation to you. But as he has yet furnished me with no key to unlock the mystery of his allegory, I should only lengthen the comedy of errors were I to attempt to explain it to you; so I must e’en be excused, & beg leave to refer you to him who will with pleasure explain, or submit to your inspection the letter itself.

I was much gratified with your discription [sic] of the Church & the ceremonies of consecration—But I also laughed heartily, I assure you, at the speedy digression on the beauty of the young ladies in which you entirely lost sight of your subject—The logic with which you fortified the position taken while engaged on that topic, was of a character peculiarly energetic. To say nothing of the ingenious argument in regard to the theatrical Solemnity which you say pervades public worship in N. England I must be allowed to quarrel most vehemently with your conclusion, viz, “that it is good policy to legalise vice & sin, rather than they should assume a decent garb and “enter into the congregation of the Lord”.—However your apology that the tho’t was a sudden one, & that you did not mean to stand accountable for its correctness, may possibly save you the reprimand you would otherwise have richly merited. Are you not sensible that legalising those improprieties and sins which Hypocrisy veils would render the aid and friendship of that old & faithful Ally of the blue-light policy of Connect[icut] wholly useless and unnecessary? That you thereby deprive them of the use & benefit of all those tricks & notioins, little and great, which they bring into the moral & religious market, and for which they are so famous thro’ the Land? No, no, let Theatres be still supposed in Connect[icut] and let all their intrigues both amourous [sic] & political be carried on, as usual, under the garb of religion—Change not the steady [habits] and solemn usage of that exemplary state.

Thursday last I dined with Gen’l Mason on the beautiful island (Analaston) in the Potomac. The Gen’l is of the first character & standing, and his Lady one of the most elegant & accomplished women in the country. There were 8 or 10 children who were all at home. The girls, healthy & beautiful, the sons robust and manly. The oldest son, about 20 years of age had just returned from France was a fine interesting young man as you will see in an age. Of the children there were a pair of twin boys about seven years of age, so exactly resembling each other, that a difference in their dress was the only mean, by which they could be distinguished, by those who were not of the family. The island is extremely fertile, well cultivated, and contains about 100 acres of Land. It is [over] against Georgetown. The mansion house stands on an eminence in the midst of the island and commands on all sides an extensive view. The order regularity & neatness to be seen everywhere, the [judicious] arrangement of the plats waths and shrubbery, the fashion taste and [ornaments] of the garden, were all calculated, not withstanding the unfavorable season of the year, to excite in the mind a love for rural beauty and the pleaures of retirement. One of the company at dinner was an old gentleman who was introduced to me by the name of Meigs, a Col. in revolutionary war. I took an oportunity [sic] to converse with him and found that he was the same man, who when a Maj. marched with Arnold up the Kennebeck [sic] and down the river Chaudier [sic], was at the storming of Luebeck, was one of the brave men who entered the Town, and, on the failure of that part of the assailing force under Mongomery [sic], was taken prisoner. This is the same Maj. Merigs, of whom we have heard our neighbor Morris so often speak, and with whom, in the [awful] times on the Kennebeck [sic], he shared his last biscuit.

It is out of my power to answer your question relative to the next President Monro [sic] and Crawford are the only persons at present talked of—The Virginians are not “everbearing”. The representatives from that State are the most indifferent of any who speak on the subject. Of the two candidates, I have a choice to be sure, and the comfort is, there is no making a bad one. Monro [sic] is well known throughout the political world, and Crawford is among the first statesmen of his age, for honesty, talents & patriotism. It is generally supposed that Monro [sic] will succeed, but I think it is uncertain. When more [assured], I will inform you.

Uncle Dudley March 4, 1816 Wash.

Letter to George Chase

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