Philander Chase



Download Full Text (18.4 MB)


Philander Chase writes a letter to his father detailing a fire in Albany .




Mary Chase; fire in Albany; boarders


Albany--August 5th 1797

Frond Sir,

Last night, between ten and eleven o’clock we were alarmed by a most dreadful cry of fire. On out [?] from our beds instead of darkness which a very clouded atmosphere would produce, we beheld the city illuminated as in noon Day.--The fire though at a distance [flashed] above the highest houses. The distant screaming of men, and dismal cries of women and children from every quarter seemed enough to awaken the highest pitch of amazement and horror! And especially in one who has awakened from a sound sleep. If this was the [?] when that raging element had but just [?] its work, and at such a great distance too, what must be my [?] to see 300 buildings wrapt in flames-- The most [??] falling to ruin and the whole city threatened with destruction! Never had I [?] before like this.

The most spirited exertions of people, without [?], with the help of engines of the best quality were ineffectual in stopping the progress of the merciless flames. The first was first set, it is supposed, in the midst of a large number of wooden buildings near the Dark, and before any sufficient help could be [?] it had began to [?] rapid havok, that people could barely have time to escape with their lives--The half of the buildings that were burned first had but very few of their contents saved, and the good of the other half were but partially [?] being from the [?] of the fire. Thrown out in the [?], disorder, much damage and plundered by those who are a disgrace to God’s creatures--The inhuman mob who rejoice at such misfortune.

The inhabitants of this city never knew such distress before. The great fire some years ago was nothing to this--Tis impossible to estimate the value of the property that is destroyed--But one life was lost that was [?] of a [?]mall near the place where [the] fire was first discovered.

Hard it not been for a happy [?] in the wind and just after that a copious and plentiful shower of rain [?] the whole city must have been [?] in after. The arm of the Almighty can stop the greatest destruction when the strongest efforts of man is nothing.

Amidst all this dreadful scene Ms. Chase preserved a coolness and calmness of temper that [?] me for things were packed up with the greatest care, without any damage even when our ruin seems inevitable. She is now as well as should be expected considering the [?] and sleep--[?] night we have had of it. Me for myself very well, only almost beaten out with [?] and exertion.

We now live very comfortably having hired a more convenient house and taken in some boarders which make our finances hold out better. We send you and all our friends our best compliments and love--Desiring you to send word to Bal of our [?]. Respecting my going to [?]--I wait for an answer, which I hope will come soon--I am the same as ever, only more than ever a churchman and hope a little less a naughty boy. Prey you to encourage the children to learn their [?] both at [?] and at Bornish.

I am ever your dutiful son,

Philander Chase

Dudley Chase Bigr

Letter to Dudley Chase



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States