Download Full Text (3.4 MB)


George Chase has returned home after an illness in Cheshire. He shares poetry written by Philander Chase, his family, and himself.




Cheshire, Dudley Chase, Emily Phillips, Poetry


Hartford April 30th 1814. Saturday forenoon. ~ Dear Cousin Intrepid.

Last monday I was gratified and pleased at the reception of a letter from you at Gibbons Ville. Another I also received about a fortnight since dated March the 8th. It lay in the Cheshire Post Office a month through the negligence of my friends to forward it although I wrote to them repeatedly. ~ In the latter part of it you mentioned a design of leaving Gibbons Ville at the end of March; and therefore I could not write until I should hear further from you. [Thus] much for excuses! ~ Do not be frightened at the enormous length of this epistle, for I give you good warning I shall spin it out so as to repay the interest if nothing more of your kind and unreserved communications. The reason why I returned from Cheshire, so long before vacation I shall endeavor to give you in as few words as possible. ~ An alarming pain in my breast accompanied with a cough afflicted me. ~ The sense of having done wrong a fired my friend and flung me into a raging fever. It came like the judgment of Heaven upon me for my misconduct ([read] last paragraph in my other letter.) For three weeks I was a prey to disease and repentance. Miss Wetmore where I then lived treated me in so disgraceful a manner as I was obliged to change my quarters for Mr. Dool[ed]. I remained there but a short time till I could write to my Father. ~ Of course he sent for me [home]. Farewell Cheshire. ~ Farewell forever. ~ May your inhabitants return from their evil ways and [become] honest: - may you no longer prowl upon people - unacquainted with you characters. ~ & though you [?] the family of Chases- I do not but pity you.” ~ You can scarce conceive of the [?] I felt when I beheld the tall spires of Hartford and the cloud of smoke that rose in [curls] from [?] buildings. ~ “Away with care and melancholy!” -was the expression I made as I jumped from the stage before our door. -Our family were all well and very glad to see me. Grandmother has gone to Vermont to see aunt Batchelor who is dangerously ill. OUr respected ancestor Grandpa died on the 13th of this month. ~ Thus we dropp off one after the other, till the whole with whom we are not enjoying life, (or rather during her miseries) shall be forgotten, beneath the turf. ~ “Our [fathers] where are they? And the prophets do they live forever!” ~ Your state of mind I can easily conceive, for I also have had my troubles and disappointments. These unfortunate circumstances concerning Carolin vexes me, and I shall never forgive myself for the share I had in that transaction. ~In fine~ I conducted very foolish from beginning to end. ~Owing to your friendly advice, and the sentiments of [premature] love, Father expressed to me, Same to the resolution of bidding adieu to my love for her forever. ~Accordingly I replied to her dwelling, - with these reasons prepared for her. “That it betrayed a weak mind to suppose the days of chivalry and romance, would return for us.” “We are both young and inexperienced. &c.” - “Six or seven years would lapse before we could mary” (hoh!) “I should consider her as my friend and hoped she would look upon me in the same light towards her.” &c. &c. &c. Over the tears, sighs & groans be there exhibited I shall draw a veil. ----- she resigned me and my letters forever. ~ To tell you the truth Intrepid I wished very much to recal what I had [said] but it was too late. ~ “Your reasoning” said she “is the reasoning of one unprejudiced by passion, and this example of ----- has taught me experience.” ~ Thus it is, - and thus let it remain. - “Love is like the morning shadows which diminish as the day increases; but friendship is like the shadow of the evening which increase even till the setting of the sun”. ----- Uncle Dudley returned this way from Congress and we spent two days very agreeably together. As to politics he is very much altered ~ instead of hitching that into conversation every where, he is modest & silent. -Disgusted with the slaveholders - and company of the South, he spoke with raptures on beholding the streets crowded with white people and nosy healthy children issuing from school. ~No slaves [are] here forced to live the heavy burden ~to feel the lash of the negro drivers or know that they are bound to sweat for another, untill their labors and their life shall be finished by death. ~Never did Uncle Dudley appear so great or so noble as at present. His ingenuous confessions have endeared him to me more than ever----- The Church here still increases and it affords us sincere delight to observe people once so violently opposed to her ordinances returning like the prodigal son to their duty. You see by the Directory for nonconformist Churches that they our dissatisfied among themselves. The greater part of them either take the right hand on the left; that is return to the Church or fall into Socinianism. ~ Mr. Root and Huntington, two young men, the p[upils] [to] Parson Flint in the languages, came to Church one Sunday out of mere motives of [?]ity. ~ They were astonished at the beauty of [holiness] there displayed, as they afterward told a returned to the Synagogue no more ([?] for this word Cheshire meeting house [steeple].) ~ W[?]ington I am particularly pleased with, for he is one of our brother bards. “Birds of a feather will flock together.”. ~ Boot was a young buck who engaged in all manner of dissipation at New Haven College; so much so, -that they dismissed him. But by his conduct since he retrieved his character, and become a respectable member of society. ~ Would that all who once thus deceived by the hopes that pleasure alone is found in the company of ruined women or in midnight revels would go and do likewise. On Sunday evenings we used to have meetings of our house, composed principally of Church people. To these Father gave such advice as was proper or read one Jones Lectures or some other good book.- One evening unfortunately I fell asleep owing to my infirm state of health. ~ Father pointed to me before the whole company; - in which [?] the long [lov’d] C. ~ I was mortified, (in the usual way of expressing it) to death: ~ but my dear mother came up with her reserve of excuses and secured my retreat into the other room…

They have since changed the Church, whose Father preaches a sermon of his own. The exertion in delivering and writing three a week almost overcomes him. ~I have been to the holy Communion three times since my return. I find it of great and inestimable use to turn my thoughts and affections toward Heaven and spirit me to do good. ~ I have many passions many temptations to overcome. “The prayer of a righteous man awaiteth much.” Let us therefore remember each other always in our morning and evening devotions. Taylors Holy Living is of great use to me and furnishes many fervent prayers. To be sure it is not clothed in the glittering tinsel of modern schools, but it contains what is above all the devotion that springs from the heart and most likely when offered up with unfeigned repentance, to find their way to the mercy seat.

May 3rd. The celebrated and the charming Mrs. Emily Phillips has favoured us with her company, two or three weeks, since I have been home. ~ She displayed his books [?]ntings and various collections for our amusements, but the greatest was the display of [?] own lively talents- The first impressions I had of her was unfavorable, but the more [?] aqcuainted with her the more I admire her extraordinary talents & taste. ~ The [Nine] seem [?] [?] fun, for one evening when the fire bl[?] cheerful around, -when every face was illuminated with smiles, the whole family strums their harps, ~ and such [sweet] music. [?] was heard since the days of Orpheus and Euripides. In short we all turned poets. ~ The method of writing was this, ~ each one wrote a verse upon some subject, & doubling the paper down, passed it to the rest. ~ Therefor, with your kind permission, I will translate a few. ~My own I shall carefully conceal for conscience sake. ~ Prefaratory Note. ~ Philanders was considered as [passionably] fond of Alby Painter, now gone home to Middlebury Vt. (although he has since changed his mind) and Orin always bowd very low to Miss Harriet Norton nicknamed Canedagne, as she comes from that place. Mine they have never discovered! ~ that’s lucky!

Philanders { “How desert like the world appears to me,

How Abby’s gone and left me far behind,

Yet dear that place where once she us’d to be

And lov’d her image form’d upon my mind”

Mothers. { While making rhymes and mending breaks

Which do I best my rhymes or stiches.

I’m sure no mortal [wright] can tell

I do them both so very well. ---

Orins 👉{ Of all the beasts that range the wood,

Some bad, some evil and some good;

I’m sure a [Pounter] is the worst,

Abhorr’d by beasts by man accurst.

Orins { Oh moon fair planet of the night

Shed o’er the world they splendid light

Thou type of Canedagne fair

Accept this tribute of a prayer

Mrs. Philanders { Sappho ‘tis true a [?] [?],

But sure you’ll all agree

That she was naught but fortunes child,

Compared to Mrs. P!!

Mrs. P. { On the moons brilliant face methinks I can see

Little spots that like hillocks appear [me

They’re compos’d of the wits of poor mortals like

Who are left without half an [idea]

Mrs. O { The chill [blasts] of winter sure never will cease

How it pelts us with snow & with hail!

The hens & the chicks and morover the geese

Do loudly, most loudly bewail!

&c &c. Did my limits permit I could supply you with verses at wholesale but the stingy paper already grumble for the space I have already taken up in transcribing these. -----


Philander [?] [?] requested me to assist him in writing some poesy which he intends to send to Miss E.R accompanied with a beautiful rose. (Alas Miss Painter!) I proposed an acrostic. And putting our heads together we composed the following.-

[?] carried it himself & when he delivered it, he mistook the [lass] for the rose, & to give it a parting smell. He actually advanced his nose so near as to make her retreat with all speed!

Eliza dear, this blushing rose,

Like Heavens fair tints at evening close,

I send to you in manner plain,

Zealous your smiles esteem’d to gain,

And when dear girl, this use you see

Remember, oh remember me!

Of this fair rose though short the stay

Yet let remembrance longers sway,

Still as the fading flower you view

Eliza, pleasing thoughts renew. -

You dear Intrepid, who like us, have “gnawed your pen & dashed it to the ground”, when writing acrostic, can fancy perhaps how difficult it was to make those plaguy letters initials come in just right. ~ We went on smoothly till we came to the letter Z. There was a full stop, in vain “we tortur’d one poor word a thousand ways.” The thought of zig-zag, zana, zephyrs, but all would not do, - till [luckily] I popped upon the word zealous (by looking in the dictionary) and we succeeded. ~ [Pray] give us joy!

Nobody knows that I had any hand in it but ourselves.

Thus far dear cousin I have written a great deal concerning myself. ~ I now reverse with [enduring] pleasure to you and yours. I have reserved this page to give you freely mind uncaring [?] subjects. ~ I have asked Father what would he think if I should enter into the society of Moravians. “If you had any real designs of going there I would tell you, but it is not possible you should have got any such whim in your own head” “Well suppose I had what would you say”. - “All I should say would be this. You would one day bitterly repent it.” ~From my Fathers opinion, since given more fully to me upon the subject, forgive me Intrepid if I say, I can not much regret your disappointments. ~ The Moravians are apostolic and indefatigable people, - but they entirely seclude themselves from those innocent pleasures, sent by kind Heaven, to [cheer] us in this vale of misery. Your motives are good in endeavoring to christianize the savages, but are there not among people of our blood country and habits, who although the christian light faintly gleams like day break, are grossly ignorant of the sublime truth of our holy Religion. Would it not be more useful to endeavor to lead these in the right path, than the very uncertain prospect of bringing but a few natives to christianity~ Their minds [?] fired, and their prejudices against what, [?] [?] the proud & treachery, is unsurmountable. At the present time too it is particularly dangerous. These few thoughts dear coz I have flung together, hoping you will excuse their [boldness] and imperfection, and view only the heart and feelings with which they are delivered. ~ I have very frequently retired to the garret where I am, now scribbling, to reperuse your kind letter. Allow me to differ from you, who I think you excel in description, and the tameness you mention is ideal. By your description of the [?] and your dangerous state on the [?], I feel ashamed to consider of the contrast between us. - I once thought I was a pretty good hand at it, but I declare, you have spoiled it all. ~ at your request I send you the following [?] of H.K. Whites.-

1. O Lord, another day is flown,

And we a lonely band

Are met once more before thy throne

To bless thy fostering hand.

2. And wilt thou lend a listening ear

To praises low as ours?

Thou wilt for thou dost love to hear

The song that meekness pours.

3. And Jesus thou thy smiles will deign,

As we before thee pray.

For those didst bless the infant train

And we are less than they.

4. Oh let thy grace perform its part,

And let contention cease;

And shed abroad in every heart

Thine everlasting peace!

5. Thus chastn’d [?] entirely thine

A flock by Jesus led;

The sun of Holiness shall shine

In glory on our head.

6. And thou wilt turn our wandering feet

And thou wilt bless our way;

Till worlds shall fade and faith shall [quiet]

The dawn of everlasting day.

All the family desire to be kindly remembered.

I think dear cousin, I have treated you long enough with other peoples poetry. How should you like it if I take the liberty of filling up the rest of this paper with my own. - Well whether you like it or not, you must patiently [?] it for I am the stubbornness fellow in [?] I am [?]ed upon anything. So [?] [?] [?] The first verse I gave to [Burkly] a great while ago but was forced to use it about this, as I was in [?] of something to begin with. ~ Thus much for Preface.

Written to a friend at Midnight.

Dear friend, mankind grown weary are at rest,

The rich man proud & pining poor deprest.

Pale Cynthia in her wane lights up the scene

And all below is quiet and serene,.

Not e’en a breath of air flies o’er the plain

Save where at intervals the watch-dogs bay

And fright sly Reynard from his destin’d prey;

Or when the tenant of the forest shade

The owl perch’d on an elm near yon deep glade,

Screams loud and with a voice so shrill drear

It fills the throbbing breast with causeless feer.

How oft dear fiend at midnights silent hours,

Together, sway’d by Friendships magic power,

[?] [?] [?] the hill [?] [?] [?] [?]

What frowning o’er the stream their shadows flung

Or when again shall we these scenes retain,

And we behold each other face to face.

Long,- long,- dear friend e’r these again be vivid

Yet in remembrance oft shall be renew’d.

But see the East faint glows with beams of light

That slow unfold upon the rear of night.

Grows wan and pale at the approach of day.

And glittering stars that deck’d the evening sky

A fainter twinkling give when morn is nigh.

From those green mends where fern & brake

Grow around the borders of some glassy lake,

The mists rising on the mounts ascend,

And to the scene a soft enchantment lends.

In such a scene at such an hour as this,

Sweet the remembrance of departed bliss.

Enough- alas enough of poetry! ~the faults are many, - Why look upon them with a friendly eye. -. This letter I have written at different times, and therefore excuse the want of regularity, - tho mistakes- egotisms &c with which it is crowd up. ~ What has become of Cleveland? You have mentioned him but once to me. I hope he [?] & happy. Write soon, I am your affec. George Chase

Oh! Had we some bright little isle of our own,

In a blue summer ocean, far off and alone;

Where a leaf never dies in the still-blooming bowers,

& the bee banquets on through a whole year of flowers;

Where the sun loves to pause with so fond a delay,

That the night only draws a thin veil on the day;

Where simply to feel that we breathe, that we live,

So worth the best joy that life elsewhere can give!

There with souls ever ardent & pure as the chime

We should love as they loved in the first golden time;

The glow of the sunshine, the balm of the air,

Should steal to our hearts & make all summer there.

With affection, as free from decline as the bowers;

Avid with hope are the bee, [sipping] always on flowers;

Our life should resemble a long day of light.

And our death come on slowly & calm as the night.

Letter to Intrepid Morse



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States