Philander Chase



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Chase in low spirits: the post office has failed to send his letters to Dudley, Church affairs look gloomy because the prospect of war, the house of Poughkeepsie is still unsold.




New Orleans


Reign of Terror, war, slave


N. Orleans 12th of Sept.

My dear dear Brother,

I was this afternoon, in town, and learnt, there is a Vessel to sail tomorrow morning for Boston. This was at so late an hour, and having so many things to do, that you must not think hard of it if I am not so verbose as normal.

Though I am well - very well - yet I am somewhat low-spirited. I have not heard from our folks or from my dear Boys, these many days - and from you in particular, I have had but one solitary letter since my arrival in this place. At first, I attributed this to the Reign of Terror, and the general and unblushing practice of pillaging the Post Office, then in vogue; but as those gloomy days have passed away, and still nothing from you I am chagrined - I am vexed. Truly I have misfortunes enough, in this naughty world, without adding to them the mortifying the distressing one of loving the kind affections - the tender sympathies of a Beloved Brother! What can I do? I have not the heart to resent, by a sullen silence, and I feel too keenly to write, without [?]. Pray make me some excuse - I don’t don’t care how slight a one, so that my honest pride in the fond belief that I was beloved by you, may be gratified.

Our Church affairs look rater gloomy: the prospect of a war with England puts a stop to everything. The Americans, who are here, on whose liberal donations the Church was supported, finding the source of their wealth fail. Begin to fail themselves, at least in matters wherein legal process is out of the question. Here again perhaps I might ask myself another of the same old woman’s questions What shall I do? - Shall I [??]. Or shall I return with my fingers in my mouth and have those of others pointed at me in scorn? As to the former - I could say necessity has no law - and, under the intention of continuing such only a few years until the storm should blow over or that I had obtained sufficient property to keep me from this unpleasant Dependence, the [?] would be justifiable; perhaps laudable in the eye of Duty. But I have not the means to commence [?] favorable [?]. The Loss of my property by Sea and that of a Servant (who was artful beyond measure having connived, as is strongly [?] with a [?] master to rot me of his price $550) and the leaving of my house and lot in Poughkeepsie unsold, [?] is out of my power to help myself. Think now I must have been mortified, this day when a Bargain, which I consider to be such in the highest sense of the word was broken off for the want of - the Needful! Yes my dear Brother two thousand Dollars in sixty days and one thousand more in six months and rest 4,100 on a credit of 5 y[ears] would have put me in possession of an estate on which if I should move with moderate force and have no more than ordinary people, it would be worth in ten years from 15 to 20,000 Dollars and should sugar works be excited would be increased above twice that sum. It is on the Mississippi 18 acres [?] in front and forty acres deep with cattle, horses, hogs, farming utensils, and a family of hardy German Redemptioners consisting of Man, wife, grown boy, and Girls who have yet above 2 years to serve [...] what their [?] sold them for.

But all this is superfluous - and I write it because I can’t find anything more amusing at present which by [?] you’ll say is conposing my Fate barren enough. I repeat it I do not know what to do - Already do the Church (if such a body of heterogeneous [?] can be called) owe me $1,000 and nothing going on that looks like stability!! But my Brother, I almost blush for my infidelity! May God pardon the weak form of seeing man! May God forgive the shameful distrust in his goodness and protection which this letter discovers. Do you forgive it also dear Dudley!

Mary is now as she has been for several weeks past but indifferent in her health; she joins in kindness love to your Mrs. C. and our darling boy. When you will see me again God only knows.


Letter to Dudley Chase



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