George Chase



Download Full Text (4.0 MB)


George writes a long letter over four days in which he discusses his health, the weather, his writing, a dream he had while suffering from a fever, a disagreeable visit with his distant family in which a fight over inheritance occurred, when he will leave for Yale, and a fire at a nearby barn.




Cheshire, Philander, St. Lawrence River, New York, Cornish, Bethel, Yale



Good Friday evening, March 24th, 1815

Our correspondence my dear Friend has been so long interrupted by my sickness that I intend to make up for lost time, and plague you with one [supernumerary]. Or to use a Byronic expression inflict upon you one more than usual. Since I just wrote to you I have had two relapses of the fever, the last however was very slight. I am not permitted as yet to leave the house and did not therefore attend Church on this very solemn day. Where was you? I hope the day after tomorrow we shall both be present at the same table and partake of the same feast. You shall be remembered in my prayers, do not forget me! I shall certainly venture out if the [?] a horse and carriage to be procured. Today has been very disagreeable, a very thick fog loaded the atmosphere almost equal to the great fog in London, however the beauty of this evening amply compensates for the day. The moon, which every moonstruck bard hauls [?] and fuels into his poetry, now shines very bright and then for a moment is clouded by the mists of the heavens. All our family [headed right] to rest, and at this hour of night I felt [audaciously] alive to the remembrance of my friends; I recall to mind the hours of youthful pleasure passed at Cheshire, and the many following tokens of your esteem viz. long and well-filled epistles the best tokens you could possibly give. By the bye our correspondence grows quite voluminous. I have a large bundle of letters from you. Let not our friendship flag after beginning so well like the friendships of the world, which after promising and using tropes and figures to convince you of its attachment will calmly tell you they had not time during the last six months or years to consider your letters. Coldhearted friendship & selfish, selfish. [Welton] was 99/100ths right when he said friendship was founded on selfishness. Where are you, what are you about Intrepid, do you take any more preambulatory excursions, do you meet with any more ghosts and goblins and witches? Pray inform your friend. I know of nothing that would give me greater pleasure than a long, a very long, letter - from you. Gratify me in this particular as soon as possible. I intend to cram this letter so turn and read across.

You will recollect, that is if you have not forgotten, that I mentioned in former letter something concerning a famous tragedy forthcoming from my quill. I am constrained to address said quill in the words of Lord Byron of whom by the bye I have grown very fond.

“Oh nature’s greatest gift, my gray goose quill!

Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will

Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,

That mighty instrument of little men!

What wits! What poets dost thou daily raise!

How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise!

Condemned at length to be forgotten quite

With all the pages it was thine to write.”

Verily how frequent is thy use! Besides this tragedy, which I had progressed considerably, I have begun another. Oh monstrous and mood besides! Out upon you for laughing. To write my fingers longed and write I must. Why don’t you? Are all the [?] of your heart frozen? Oh for a love adventure to spur it forward. Tis love that creates our poets, immortal love! Could you but find some princess in disguise, how eloquent thy [fun]! As it used to be. Talk not to me of fixing eyes upon vacancy, it is impossible. [Gare] on that lovely face and write!

My watch says eleven, so goodnight!

Hartford, Saturday afternoon, March 25th

This afternoon I am left alone, the boys, Philander and Orin have gone to see the new ship of about 500 tons launched, owned by Caldwell and Scarborough. Commerce begins again to look upon, business is increasing in the blessings of peace. Don’t you think it is very cold for church? I had just finished the word of Peace when I was startled by a gust of wind from the North that rattl’d the shutters, and oh the pity! dispersed what few thoughts I had and was about to write upon the subject of peace. The weather has alter’d materially from what it was last night. You can not conceive how long to get sally forth and preambulate. In the height of fever when my tongue was let loose and delirium approaching, they say I described in the most glowing colors, “the forest’s shade on the north side of a high mountain where the thick foliage almost excluded daylight, a fountain rush’d from the rocks of water pure and transparent, I could see every pebble at the bottom of the basin. Oh might I step in down but drink of it, alas it flies from me! Help, help & etc. And more since health is restored I have the same longing. When spring returns, indeed, and all things resume their wanted [alliance], I will, positively, I will walk for amusement as well as health. Excuse me dear friend if I have been too egotistical, which alas is too often everywhere else, the case to you I am not careful enough what I write, I know it. But you must forgive. The Re[?] fortunately has had an offer, through my father’s hands, of a parish at Ogdenburgh on the river Rt. Lawrence. He was [driven] there a short time since and from what he has observed I imagine he will accept of it. So you see the New Yorkers are getting away all our best people. What an immense population has New York state already and daily increasing! Looking back I felt some inclination to laugh at the motley mixture displayed on this page, be content I cannot help it.

Four of the girls I had as scholars at the Point are now in town, one more expected on Monday, and a young man of seventeen who also attended my school is going into a store in this place. How proud I shall feel when I see them all together. Poh! I was going to say something about one of them but believe I won’t as I shall talk confoundedly foolish.

Monday 27th

Yesterday I attended Church. Easter being one of our greatest festivals, the audience was numerous and attentive. Communion was administered and about seventy [serviced] the alter of our blessed Lord and Saviour. You are a churchman and know the devotionary, the holy feeling, the solemnity this holy site inspires. Yes, I am seriously repentant of my former sins and determined to lead a new life in fear of God and to his glory. Alavech Abarble from Cornish was here yesterday, he left from all in excellent health enjoying the benefits of blessings of affluence and [?] to date that with these they could be content! Alas no, I blush at the name and race to which I belong when I tell you that our “tender feeling” relations of Bethel and Cornish dispute like brutes, they quarrelled over the dead body of our grandfather for the miserable pittance of property. They left hours [?]. Rather would I [?] [?] for such means & to [?] my [bread]. Thank God while Dudley had no share in it, though [?] by the malicious [?] entacting Cornish “dear ones.” He has been influenced to take an ungenerous part. This happened sometime since. From this hateful and disagreeable subject I turn to others, would that as easily I could banish it from my mind, there is something so disagreeable so shocking and disgusting! I am busily employed in fitting for College, I shall enter about the first of June

Saturday, April the first

Last night when the shutters were closed, and the fire burnt bright, and the family drawn close around it were alarmed by the cry of “Fire!” I never witnessed a building in flames and regardless of my convalescent state, I hurried away with “all vengeance” as you may say “over bush over brier, through the mud to the fire.” It proved to be a barn only and fortunately a very old one, so that the owners have lost but little. The cry of the crowd, the light as it [shone] upon the neighboring buildings and steeples, the flames of the building and frame, formed altogether a spectacle novel & grand. It appears to have been the work of some incendiary as one man lost $700, another $450 by some rascally pickpocket. I am in something of a haste to go downtown, a horse and chair are waiting . Excuse me as I want to put this letter in this afternoon. In my next I intend to dose you with some of my [quandrife] meditations and write a longer epistle than ever.

Goodbye in very great haste, your affectionate friend,

Geo. Chase

Abr. Intrepid Morse

Direct your next to Hartford, as I do not go to New Haven till the first of June

Farewell, our family desire to be remembered

Letter to Intrepid Morse



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States