Dudley Chase



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D. Chase, working with George, discusses the course of action to procure money from business they have conducted with Smith and Dana. He deplores the conditions of the penitentiary at Newgate but discusses the better circumstances at Windsor. He apologizes for the delay in writing George back, and he wishes his parents and brother well.




Dudley Chase, George Chase; Newgate; Windsor; Penitentiary; Vermont; Boston; Prisoners; Confinement


Washington February 9th 1816

Dear George

I fully [aprobate] all you have done in the [?] business as well as the modus operandi of it. I feel very [averse] to [putting] [?] Smith out of his usual course to get the money, but he ought to pay or procure the security demanded. I can see no use, however, in [commencing] a suit immediately, especially if the [?] of Court, at which the [writ] shall be [returnable], is [remote], as there is no danger that Smith will [abscond]. Yet it is better not to suffer too long a delay, which is always dangerous you know; and [?] was [particular] in his orders, and therefore, a [duration], which should occasion a loss, might involve a responsibility that would not be pleasant--John [?] is the name of [Dana’s] Partner. Should any money be paid, drop a line of notice of the sum and [?] of the money, and [wait] his orders. Early in [April] I shall see you, and if [Dana] [shall] not have given you [direction] to send the money to him, I can take it on to Vermont myself. You will [please] to require in payment such money as is [current] in Boston.

I [then], [be] your most heartily for the pleasure your last letter gave me. I was prepared, by what your Father last wrote me, to [expect], in the next letter I should receive from you, much about [Specimens] and [Mineralogy]--but the elegant and interesting account of your [excursion] to [Simbsbury], and [visit] to the [dark] sub[terranean] abode of human misery, was wholly [unexpected], tho not the less pleasing on that account.

When you [described] the wretched condition of those miserable beings whose terrible punishment their crimes had made [necessary], I would not [but] [recollect] the sensations I experienced when I first [beheld] my fellow [creatures] in a like state of degradation. It is fortunate for us, that our natures are not susceptible [of reiterated] feeling in the same exquisite degree. I was led to infer from your [penitence] that the wisdom of the [?] [?] in Connecticut has not deployed itself to the way great advantage in the establishment of the state Penitentiary. Indeed it has been often [remembered], that the system of punishment in New Gate and the management of the convicts confined there, were very inferior to those of [similar] establishments in the [States]. Did you [call] at the State’s Prison in [Windsor]? There you would [see] nothing but neatness and industry in [using] features of the whole establishment. The convicts in good health and [fine] flesh, all apparently [contented]. The walls of the prison and the [particular] clothes of the [prisoners] are almost the only [evidences] of confinement. When I [?] [this] Philadelphia I visited the hospital and penitentiary of that city, and was delighted with the order, neatness, and humanity everywhere apparent. The Angel of Mercy and Compassion seemed to have set her [seal] on those institutions and to have [diffused] her spirit thus, the whole government thereof. Even the Lunatic and Maniac seemed blessed in their [condition]. “God had [tempered] the wind to the shorn lamb.”

There is something in those young convicts who turned their faces from you, that might, under proper management, be improved even unto complete reformation. What a pity, then, must it be, that those in whom the public confidence is placed, do not bestow more attention to so important subject. It is a duty [engrained] by humanity, by Religion, that the lost and [estray] should be found and redeemed if possible. In these as well as other distinguished [characters] this happy [quarter] of the world is already [elevated] above all others, and no section of the Republic should be disgraced with such a [blot] upon its surface as the Newgate you have [described].

Yesterday I received a letter from your Aunt who never fails to express love for you and her anxiety for your welfare--She mentioned the reception day of the date of her letter, of two letters, from the two [dearest] objects on Earth. You will readily [?] that yours was one. I hope you [?] and [favor] her with your happiness [?] [?] often as your [studies] and [avocation] will permit. I have been dreadfully occupied in business of a [private] nature from [?] in [Vermont] and elsewhere, which so much [intrenched] upon my time that I have not been able to [write] you as I wished to do. I hope to have more [business] in future. Please [to] [remember] me to your [?] [Parents] and Dear Brother in all your letters to them. Continue to write me often.

In great haste and hurry - I am Dear George, your ever affectionate friend and Uncle,

D. Chase

Letter to George Chase



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