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H[arriet Allen] Butler to MVB, 25 January 1826

My dear Sir

I was happy to be remembered by you and can assure you I was not less pleased with your letter than I was amused with the lines enclosed. I shall take great pleasure in delivering your message to Mrs. Dunn & Mrs. Gardinier the latter has been spending some time in Kington and I believe is still there.

The story goes that a certain Senator’s attention last summer to a certain lady in Market Street were serious, and seriously received, and that the affair will terminate in a wedding. I have generally contradicted these rumors when they have reached my ears, but believe for the future I shall only wonder with the wonderer whether you were really serious in your visits to that lady and if so-

I bid Elvira the fair

of the North to beware,

For if Martin Van

“The dear little man”

Will only prove true

To the lady in blue,

I may safely declare

To Elvira the fair

There is no chance for you.

I have heard it positively affirmed that you spent more than half your time with Mrs. G- while you lived in her neighborhood.

The doubt expressed in your letter as to the propriety of my husbands permitting me to answer it, did not increase my desire to write you, and I very much fear that before you have read the one half of my letter you will doubt, more and still more the propriety of my husbands permitting me etc etc etc for I feel in a very sociable mood, and the commencement of my letter is a fair sample of what you may expect from beginning to end. Now I know your eversion to all kinds of scandal, I move therefore if you do not wish to hear anymore, that this letter be laid on the table, for did you ever know a female in talkative humour but occasionally a sentence or so would fall from her lips.

I have not seen Mrs. B since I hear from you, but I shall make your letter the subject of a special call, and shall have a good laugh with her about the poetry, and we will discourse at large upon the propriety of your flirting with the ladies at Washington, when there is a lady here who all last summer wore the emblematic colour for you. By and by, you say that Mrs. B promised to write you. I do not know the reason she has not written, but presume her husband has not thought it proper for her so to do, and you know that she and my self always do precisely as our husbands think best.

I presume by this time the voice of Senator Sanford is heard in “thundering accents loud” on the floor of your house. His levees are very mush missed this winter, and tis thought the ladies will petition Congress in the course of a few days for his return to Albany.

A week or so before our new Mayor was elected Mrs. Bloodgood issued invitations for levees at her house once a fortnight. tis maliciously whispered that Mr. B had become ambitious to fill the high office of Lord Mayor of the city of Albany, but Mrs. B’s proclamations, did not have the desired effect, and the fates or rather the votes were against him, and tis now thought they would like to recall the cards of invitation.

Mrs. Clinton gave a very large party a fortnight ago, the house was overflowed, indeed, some of the good people had to adjourn to neighboring houses, and tis a known fact (that at least seven ladies who were not there will affirm to) that many of the ladies could not and did not get any thing to eat or to drink for the evening. (altho’ it was all they went for) the reason of which was, that, the Honorable the members of the Legislature, stood in the halls, pass ways, gang ways and highways and manfully attacked, destroyed and eat up, all that came near them that came near them that was eatable, even the “stacks of frozen milk” so called by some, and “frozen pudding” by others, did not escape, and altho they would not suffer anything to pass, yet everything was carried, by both the houses, and that by large majorities. You will please to remember the Legislature is republican, this winter. Gen. Marcy and Mr. Butler had invitations to this aforesaid party. do you not think Mrs. Clinton exercised an excess of politeness towards them, they neither attended, for they thought it rather an insult to their better halves, neither of us being invited.

I still continue to be a firm friend of Mr. Clinton, and (this is confidential) I have great hopes that my good husband is not so strongly opposed to his administration as he was a few year ago the only evidence I have of this is his total loss of memory as it regards his former strenuous opposition to Mr. C, and a kind of yielding assent to my opinions of Mr. C etc etc. This I knew you would be delighted to hear, and I have taken particular pains throughout my letter to give you as much pleasure as possible.

John I presume you have heard has been spending the vacation in Albany or rather at Green Bush, as he makes it his home at Mr. Duers he spent a night with us three or four days since, and I made him promise to return, and indeed Mr. Butler and myself both urged him to stay with us, but he thought he would keep at Mr. Duer, We have not seen anything of him for some days, and begin to think he must have returned to New Haven.

Mr. Butler intends writing you soon and from him you will probably learn all you wish to on the grave subjects of law and politics, but I would just mention that the revision goes on finely, mortality, if not immortality will be the result of Mr. B I fear. He works very hard I do assure you, Did you ever know a better man? I am sure you never did. The children are all well excepting little Mary, she has the mumps. Margaret sends her love to you with a promise of writing you as sson as she has answered two or three letters that she has had long on hand, she has improved very much in her writing, and continues to be a dutiful and loving child.

I am sorry to see by the papers that you are still indisposed, I hope that you indisposition is nothing alarming and that you will soon let the Senate hear from you that NY is not without a voice in the house.

My letter has been swelled to a most immoderate length I hope however it will not discourage you from writing me again for I do assure you my husband will have no more objections to my receiving another letter than he had to my answering the first, and for my own part I shall be always happy to hear from you. and will always endeavor to reply even tho I be not in quite so loquacious a humour as now I remain dear sir

very cordially your friend

H Butler

This transcription was part of the PMVB microfilm edition archives. The microfilm image of the original document is faded and has not yet been consulted for verification.

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Source: N New York State Library
Collection: Benjamin Franklin Butler Papers (N)
Series: Series 5 (1 January 1825-3 March 1829)