Philander Chase



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Financial issues of the church and possible retirement from it; Brother Baruch and his daughters; yellow fever




New Orleans, LA


Baruch Chase, church, slave


New Orleans April 8, 1809

My dear Brother,

Your good letter of the 16th of Jan. has lain by me unanswered for nearly three weeks: which is longer than ever happened before to any you have ever had the goodness to send me. The cause of delay was care distress and trouble. So much was I oppressed that I had made up my mind to retire to the states. This opinion and determination of mine being expressed - the vestry of the Church and Congregation, though suffering under great difficulties on acct. of commercial embarrassment came forward in great earnest. All agreed to patronize a school for the present and to allow me $10 per month for day scholars and $100 per quarter for boarders; number limited to 15. This is now in operation and wants only 200 [?] of being full. This earnestness on the part of my flock caused me to delay if not to alter my plan. The vestry meets today at which meeting I present to open the same to tell them my mind and to retire. What they will do I know not but from all appearances they seem determined to do everything in their power to pay up [?] and to go on “[?]” in the future. What is due me on the year present amount, with the old balance, to above 3,000. The embarrassment which this Deficit must have [?]ioned to me, who owe a great part of it in small sums must be obvious to you. Thus in giving you annex - use for my great neglect of your I have given a history of my affairs; which to you who love me may not, cannot, but be interesting. I tried to submit unto my losses and after that to my disappointments with that Resignation which is peculiar by the fruit of our Common Faith. Whether I [?] or not in any shape God has been pledged to pity me perhaps for the sake of my dear wife and innocent babes.

Your letter gave me great satisfaction. The style in which you mention “the Lads” our darling boys is peculiarly flattering to a Parent. Their solicitude to please and entertain their aged GrandFather affected us with an indescribable emotion. My eyes were filled with tears before that touching paragraph was half finished. Our dear Mother you say is better! God be praised. Often have I blamed myself for leaving them in their declining years and depriving myself of the pleasing duty of contributing among their numerous offspring, to [?] their path to the grave with the cheering hope of a future Resurrection.

As to the matrimonial connexions of our dear nieces I believe we must be content with their choice. If they are suited we have little reason to be otherwise. They have my prayers for their prosperity and happiness.

Brother Baruch’s kind mention of me which you revert to demands my warmest acknowledgments. If to be remembered by friends has ever been deemed the source of the tenderest of pleasures - what must be mine to be beloved by Brothers who are so dear to me? Brother B. has several times written me as if persuading me to come and settle at Portsmouth: and had that Congregation behaved with the frankness which i always loved - and applied to me directly without seeming [?] so much behind the curtain I think there has been a time when I would have gone and taken my life with them: but the time has now passed forever.

What you mention in reply to my account of the member that died in this City last summer of the yellow fever is quite natural - but when you are told that but very few in [?] of death occurred but in persons [addicted] to ext[?] intemperance you will see no reason to suppose our dear Boys would have been of this number. My dear Wife with myself is quite well: she mentions you and your dear wife with tenderness almost every hour of the day. Pray remember her and me to our darling Boys those dear subjects of our nightly dreams. That the blessing of Heaven may be upon you and them in our ardent and constant prayer.

Since writing the above, a member of the Vestry has called on me warm from their meeting which it seems was quite numerous and very anim[ated]. His words are “that now he gave me to under[stand] that now I may consider myself quite at ease for those measures were taken to secure a future permanency. The known character of this gentleman for correcting in judgement gives me great reason to hope well. Our Congregations are quite large and our Communion well attended - and should Communal trouble cease a Church will soon be built - Should this last be realized I am fixt for life.

Pray excuse my incoherent loquacity - Such a letter I have not written this many a day - By way Variety I hope it will please you.

May God bless you

Your affectionate

Philander Chase

Letter to Dudley Chase



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