Benjamin Franklin Butler to Harriet Allen, 5 November 1816

[Benjamin Franklin] Butler to Harriet Allen, 5 November 1816


My dear Girl

You was right in supposing that I would have been much disappointed if Mrs Van Buren had not brought me a letter. And I assure you I was much better pleased with your short note (I believe you will permit me to call it a note) than I should have been with a full sheet from any other person. No matter in how great a hurry you tell me the delightful tale, I am always happy to receive the assurance from yourself that I am yet dear to you, that I am not forgotten, and that you take pleasure in assuring me of the continuance of your regard. A line from you subscribed "your Harriet" is worth a dozen letters from the best of my correspondents. Rather than lose so great a satisfaction I would forgo them all. I intended to have told you in my last letter, that I thought you might afford to write me today. I closed my letter, however, in too great a hurry, for fear of being too late for the mail. As it was, the postage could not be paid. Mr. Hoyt who took it to the P.O. was at a great stand whether to send it without paying the postage, or to leave it till the next mail. After considerable deliberation, he concluded to dispatch the letter, supposing as he said that you would approve his conduct. I told him he did right, though I was rather inclined to doubt whether your money would be very advantageously disposed of. Mr & Mrs. Van Buren were received with great joy by all of us. Their visit was the more pleasant as it was unexpected. They will not leave here till Friday or Satuday, if then. They appear to be well enough pleased with their situation, and we are in no haste to get rid of them. I have seen them but little since they have been with us. All the time I could spare from my business & my studies, I have devoted to my mother, who is yet here. She returns tomorrow. She has found a great many old acquaintances here at Albany, with whom she has spent the time very agreeably. I too have become quite a visitor, that is of the married ladies of my mothers age, or thereabouts. And I do think they are the finest families with which I have become acquainted since my residence at Albany. They are not much incumbered with wealth, though they are in flourishing & some in affluent circumstances, but they are hospitable, generous, lively, and sociable. So different from the native Albanians that I am ^shall^ now ^be^ happy that to accept the invitations they have given me a thousand times since my residence among them, to visit them often. And if ^in^ the "course of human events" my beloved Harriet should become a resident of Albany, I think, they would induce ^even^ her to lay down a few of her prejudices against it. You say you are delighted with the sketch I have given you of Miss [intentionally blank]. Isn't she a fine girl? She is the finest girl in the world, the best, the loveliest, the only one who shall ever possess my <heart>, or share my fortunes. There again. Don't you see that it is impossible for me to touch upon the subject, without blundering even before you into an expression of my attachment. I don't wonder that you are jealous. Still, since it must be so, I am glad that my choice has been so good a one, that Harriet Allen herself is obliged to say that its object is worthy of my regard and entitled to my admiration. Shall I tell you some of the news of the day? I have nothing else to fill up my letter, with so you must take a small quantity. You are to know that the Legislature met to day at the Capitol and that the Governor delivered a short, elegant & appropriate speech. All which I have signified to my excellent friend Capt. Coffin, for the edification of the good Citizens of Hudson. And if you are desirous of reading the speech of his Excellency, you have only to walk down to Capt. Coffins, where you and Aunt Patty & Judge Dayton may peruse, criticise, and comend commend it at your pleasure. My I have heard to day a story said to have been told by a gentleman from Hudson, that R. Folger & son had failed. Can this be possible? I do assure you the idea that it may be true has given me great uneasiness. Capt. Folger with all his eccentricities in politics & business, is a fine worthy old gentleman, and for his old age to be embittered by poverty & embarrassment, would be unfortunate in the extreme. I am much attached to the old gentleman & would be glad to have you tell me in your next, that there isnt a word of truth in the report. About visiting Hudson. I can't say a word on the subject. My better part (as yet) is with you & always shall remain there, my heart. I think of you by day, and dream of you by night. Last night I dreamed that we had some little misunderstanding between us and that I was anxious to see you to make it up, which I thought I <illegible> should be able to do to your satisfaction. But I am sure there can be no truth in this dream. What is there to create difficulty between us? Nothing that I can recollect, except my visits to Miss Cropsey, who by the bye, has not yet left Albany. But stay. I have forgotten my favorite Miss [intentionally blank]. In all probability the dream referred to her. I hope you have read the reply of Julius to the furious bullyings of Stone and the vapid frothy declamations of James Bill, alias Pericles. It does, in my judgment, great credit to Mr. A. I think the citizens of Hudson will become satisfied before long that he is a gentleman of first rate ability, superior to every other young man they ever reared. I am prouder of that fellows friendship, than I should be of the admiration of thousands. Stones paper of to day is the most whining and contemptible thing I have ever seen. He writhes under the lash, as well he may, and attempts to creep out by a most pitiful evasion. He doesn't get away so easily, or I am mistaken. He is in good hands & will undoubtedly be attended to. I am happy to hear that you have concluded a treaty of amity and commerce with Miss Dakin. When I come to Hudson, I hope to witness the ^its^ ratification. I am happy to hear from the other ladies mentioned in your last. To all of whom to wit, Miss Olcott, Miss <Cat> Tal., Miss Edmons, Cousin Mary, & Mrs. Webb, you will please to give my compliments, whenever you find a fit & convenient opportunity. I am happy to hear that Mary is so well. The next time I see her I have no doubt I shall be willing to agree with you that "she is a fine, healthy, plump, looking girl," tho' you know I dispute the assertion that she has all the beauty of the family. But she is in fact a very handsome girl, almost as handsome as [intentionally blank]. Don't accuse me of flattery, I am tired of it. I have not said "as her sister." You will present my love to her and Lydia. Tell Mrs. Coffin I most cordially reciprocate her good wishes, and would give it to her in black & white, if this villianous busy world would permit it. But it is just as true, as though it was conveyed to her in a full sheet. My dear girl. Let me bid you good night with the wish that this letter may find you in the enjoyment of health & happiness, and pleasure, and in the possession of as much love for me as now fills my bosom towards you. If it does, you will overlook the wide spaces, & the uninteresting matters and set down directly to writing the very long letter you have promised me. Recollect that I have noted your promise, and shall expect its faithful discharge. It shall be answered according to its length either on Saturday or by Mrs. Van Buren. In the mean time once more let me say yours in the bonds of affection & fidelity


P.S. I forgot to tell you some time ago, that I have lost all my aversion to Pink. Do pray if you can't find any other paper write on that. It is good very good. And if you should write me a full letter on Pink, I have no doubt that I should think it the best. Good night. 


Received Novr 6th 1816

Editorial Process Complete