Dudley Chase



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Dudley Chase discourages George Chase from pursuing his N.W. project.




Philander Chase, Hospital Surgeon, N.W. Project


Dear George,

At the same time yours of 30, ult. was, there came one also from your hon’d Father, in which he gave me more promising accounts of the health of his family, there, judging from the extract you sent me, I could have expected. I rejoice very much that they have all recovered; and sincerely hope, that their yet [remaining] fears, as to the nature of 6 years complaint, may prove to be without foundation. I understand also that Philander is at home, having anticipated his vacation a few days. You will probably soon see him, and I am sure you will [fail] to remind him of me and of the great affection I have for him.

As your letter did not get to my hand till this moment 5 ½ P.M., and as the mail will be closed this evening at 6, it is not probable you will receive this ‘till you are in Hartford. Indeed, I believe, I will address it to you at that place.

I am really embarrassed, how or in what manner to answer your letter, as to its main point--your N.W. project. Really, George, judging by the zeal and enthusiasm you express, if I was to set off their moment with an intention to intercept our course at any given point, I should aim at least as far West as Detroit. Why, you [are] already on your journey! Armed, equipped and [commissioner]!! No impediment in the way! Every obitude overcome! And the chances are 50 to one in your favor!!

Now George, in coolness consider, and understand the affair, or ease as it really is-And, I beseech you do not purchase for yourself a disappointment. It is not probable that any plan of the kind will be adopted at all. It is not probable that the plan alluded to in a former letter, which was not devised for the purchase, but only suggested in, edge ways, for consideration merely, will finally be [approved] of. Nor is it probable that any beith in the scope of that plan, would be suitable for you. And finally, it is not probable that you could obtain the approbation of your parents, to go at all. So I should advise you to dismiss all your anxiety and zeal on the [?], and demolish all your air-built [castles]. Then should any arrangement be made that would suit all around, why then indeed you might be ready to go if you pleased, and do what good you can for your family, and acquire what honor you can for yourself.

Rest assured that I feel every possible desire and anxiety to promote your real interest and further your wishes, as to their favorite object of yours. But, I must confess, I feel some reluctance to the modus operandi. Had the President been [bothered] by law to have appointed some learned and [?] man, with a suit of well informed gentlemen, to proceed in company of [commissioners], for the purpose of exploring the Natural History of those regions of our Country, hereto unknown. I should have requested to have you of the number, that you might thereby have [gratified] your laudable desire to contribute to the success of the expedition. But such is not the case; and moreover there seems to be an unwillingness in Congress to go to that expense, in several with whom I have conversed, think that an arrangement calculated to effect the [?] , would only be dogg’d and embarrassed by the commissioner and not in the least advanced by it. However, Genl Porter and the various persons that will accompany him, will probably employ two boats or [?] with suitable crews to work them, and the whole will much use such a number as to acquire a Surgeon to [?] on them. Now there are several Hospital Surgeons in our military establishments who can “in the [?] of peace” be spared with [propriety], and without any education or experience, on that business. Two Persons of Steward and Ward-Master drawing pay as I have before mentioned, and constituting part of the Hospital Surgeons family, might be [company]. Their duty will be little or nothing and they can have time and opportunity to make such observations and pursue such research as they please. I have conversed with the surgeon who will undertake the business, and who is very much taken up with the project, and promises all those facilities at command. Whether their plan will be carried into effect or not, I do not know. It certainly does not suit my fancy; yet should it go into [?], it may be tho’t advisable that you should avail yourself of it, rather than not to embark at all. You can think of it and consult with your parents, saying nothing to others on the subject. I hope you will forget the thing altogether, and make yourself easy and contented with your old scheme of going to [Randolph] and dipping into the study of the law. I repeat again, you must not rely your N.W. scheme 一 I have rec[eive]d letters from home, in which your Aunt Olive apologized for not having answered your letter, and promises to reform. She desires to be most kindly remembered to you.

Write to me George, and tell me all about it.

Most affectionately, yours forever,

Dudley Chase

Letter to George Chase



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