George Chase



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George is upset that his aunt/uncle have not responded yet and threatens to not write again. He describes meeting all the eminent lawyers in Ohio and Henry Clay. He critiques Clay for the price he charges and ultimately says that his high expectations were not met. George wishes to go back to New England and does not want to become a pedagogue. Philander Chase Jr. is feeling better.




Henry Clay, Philander Chase Jr., Vermont, New England, Congress


Worthington, Ohio. Sept. 16. 1820

My Dear Uncle and Aunt

Again have I returned disappointed from the Post Office. Not one line have I received from my friends in Vermont; although sufficient and more than sufficient time, has elapsed for an answer to have been returned to my first letter dated at this place. Did you know half the anxiety I feel on your account, you would not hesitate a moment in writing. Perhaps some kind consolatory letter is on the way, and therefore I will wait with patience until the return of the Post Boy. In the meantime I will endeavour to give you a short account of the events which have taken place since I wrote to you last, premising, that if I do not hear from someone of you very soon, my pen will be laid aside indefinitely; no great threat to be sure. In my last letter, I believe, it was mentioned that I purposed to attend the United States Court, at Columbus. Last Monday [and week] I fortunately obtained a seat in Mr. [Wright’s] carriage, and rode with him to the seat of Govt This Mr. W is an eminent attorney, a worthy and sensible man. He will probably be a member of Congress for the [coming] session. This acquaintance was fortunate, as by his means I had the pleasure of being introduced to some of the most celebrated attorneys in this state. At Columbus were assembled [Messrs] Beecher, Brush Dodridge, Scott, Esty, Swan [etc] [etc] Gov. Worthington and Gov. Brown, also Henry Clay from Kentucky who was counsel for the U.S. Bank, [in their gov’t] in the State of Ohio. You, no doubt, have heard of this [cause], as its merits have been made the matter of much newspaper discussion. Mr Clay’s fees are said to be five thousand dollars, but where such a sum can be raised in this country, except in depreciated paper, Heaven only knows. I attended very regularly during the session from motives of curiosity, and for information. Mr Clay is an excellent advocate, and speaks with ease and fluency, but his style is too diffuse, and he often travels out of the subject. Mr Dodridge as a mere lawyer is much his superior. To tell the truth I was somewhat disappointed. My high expectations were not fulfilled. Vermont lawyers never need dread a comparison with those of Ohio. Bye the bye, is Titus Hutchinson your Governor elect?

I expect to receive much amusement during the [coming] election. Many no doubt eloquent, [stump] orations will be delivered. I shall give you a history of the proceedings in due time. They tell me here that I am prepossessed in favour of the New England States and can therefore admire nothing in Ohio. This may partially be the case; but viewing this country as favorably as I can, and making all due allowances for prejudice on my part, it is my sincere opinion that there are not sufficient inducements for any young man to emigrate from New England to the Western States, provided he can obtain a decent [subsistence] in his present situation. Those, who [audit] the fine stories told of this country by those interested, whenever they arrive here, will find themselves miserably disappointed. To be sure I have seen cornstalk,15 feet in height and the ears so high, that I could not hang my hat on them, which I say without exaggeration [etc]; but the fertility of the soil will never compensate them for the disadvantages under which they labour. The climate is unhealthy, particularly to those who emigrate from the North. Mr C Griswold a Capt. in the late U.S. Army told me that he ascended the Sandusky river to the rapids in company with 26 others, 23 of whom died almost immediately, in consequence of the fever which they no doubt caught in that stream. Eleven of these unfortunate creatures composed a [hardy] family emigrating from the Green Mountains. The north western parts of the state will never, I fear be habitable. But in this part of the country the waters are not so stagnant, and the climate is much more salubrious. I will not [protract] this subject further, but only mention that I saw super fine flour offered for sale at Gardiner and Fay store in Columbus at $2 per [lb] and they refused to purchase on the plea that it was too high even for payment to be made in goods! Let no man therefore in [?] who can raise even 10 [bushels?] of wheat per acre think he may benefit himself by emigrating to raise 40 here. Last Wednesday, I passed from Columbus over to Franklinton to witness a Review of Regiment of which by the laws of this state I was compelled to form a part. Few exempts are allowed. Clergymen, Physicians, Officers who have resigned or have received an honourable discharge (excepting those only who have served 5 years in the militia of this state) are all obliged to do military duty. We composed a ridiculous assembly I assure you--dressed in clothes of all colours and fashions--some with sticks, some with old guns, and some with no guns at all. In performing, some of the most simple evolutions we were involved in such an inexplicable mare, that the most experienced officers could not regulate us. I believe that you will approve of my going into the ranks and doing my duty in preference to paying my fine, the expense of which I can [illy] bear. While in Columbus I witnessed one of those terrible tornadoes to which this country is subject. It blew a perfect hurricane and raised so much dust that actually, I could not see the houses on the opposite side of the street. Immediately afterwards the rain flowed down in torrents, and where an hour previous, you might have waded through dust over shoe, you could now scarcely proceed without sinking up to the knee in mud. This is the character of the soil in this country, it is clouds of dust or seas of mud, alternatively [as] sunshine or rain may prevail. Philander I am happy to inform you, can almost be said to be restored to his [wanted] help. But he dreads the severity of the approaching winter. There has been some [convenation] reflecting my taking charge of the school, while he proceeds to a warmer climate, perhaps to one of the West India Islands. But this event I consider will not take place, although I would do anything within the [compass] of my means [to ensure] him health. Whenever I can obtain the necessary means, I shall return at least as far as the State of New York--would that I had a decent excuse to [?] and my journey to Vermont. But I will never repine at a lot like this, of my own choosing. Pride would be souly [sic] wounded if I thought that those friends whose [?] I am most anxious to preserve, considered me changeable and childish. I had rather turn pedagogue, or delve all my days, than suffer in this way in their good opinion. My imagination is at [present] so fruitful that I could conjure up many strong arguments to justify me in my determination not to remain in this country. The plain truth of it after all, is, I believe, that I am homesick. Laugh away at me as much as you please--but in sober sadness it is true, and anyone who has been in my situation without employment, with no cheering prospect before him, will remember that he thought of home with regret--and he will not laugh. I was never formed to live among strangers, without friends who were connected with the remembrance of my [earliest] enjoyments, but to live with those whom I love. Perhaps I had better get married. But enough of this [trifling], I will close with merrily singing “Oh hard is my fate.”

These three pages are written down before I was scarcely aware of it; the edges of the outside will, therefore, be reserved for family news. My Father has not yet returned for his circuit, but he is expected this evening. He speaks of taking [Lucia] to live with him.

Give my warmest love to all your family and to all the neighbors particularly to my worthy teacher Ms Nutting. To my Bethel friends say--I never can forget them.

I remain ever young,



Sept. 18 1820. My father has not yet returned although he was expected last evening. I am now in the [Academy] school room, having turned pedagogue today while Philander visits a sick man down the river. You cannot conceive how much I was disappointed by not receiving a letter from you this morning--Are you alive? Or are you angry with me?

Mrs Chase is well but will not be so probably long. Mr Russell and daughter are also well and send love to all their friends. We have lately heard from [Addison].

Letter to Dudley Chase



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