Benjamin Franklin Butler to Harriet Allen, 3 June 1817

B[enjamin] F[ranklin] Butler to Harriet Allen, 3 June 1817


My dear Harriet

I presume that by this time you are safely restored to your own home, and by tomorrow I calculate to receive a letter written at the office, a place which in days of yore was the seat of legal information, but has now become the court of the <muses> & the retirement of love. The complaints of the client are exchanged for those of a "fond believing, love sick maid" and instead of declarations pleadings & demurrers nothing meets your eye but scraps of poetry & tokens of affections mixed with ^among^ bushels of love letters. How I envy you the possession of so fine a retreat, you ought to have company, and I should admire to be a fellow student. Have you had a good pleasant visit at Claverack? Do you like Ann as well now as when you went out there? Tho' I dont think there was any need of my asking you this question, for I am sure you will say that she improves upon acquaintance & that her heart is the residence of ^all the^ virtues. I have been very busily employed since I last wrote to you which was on Friday evening. The concerns of the office & my studies have taken up every moment of my time. You will see our advertisement in the Hudson papers by which you will discover that our partnership is announced to the world. Yes dear H. I have commenced life, at last, for myself, or rather for ourselves; henceforth my exertions are for the benefit & the happiness of both. I hope they may be successful. They have begun with more favorable auspices than we had any right to expect, and if they continue as well, I can make bold to assure you that we shall never suffer for the necessaries tho' I believe we may generally calculate on dispensing with the luxuries of life. Both of us however have so little fondness for dashing & are endued with such moderate desires that we will suffer but little on that account. All our folks are gone from home. Mrs Van Buren & her children (except Abraham who is at K Hook with Mrs. Hoose) are at Catskill. The Atty Gen & myself board out. He at Mr. Rockwells & I at Mrs. Pepoons. The house is as still & as solitary as a hermits cell. And there's nothing to interrupt it but the gnawing of the Rats of which we have a sufficient quantity as most of my friends at Albany think me peculiarly fortunate in forming a connexion with the Atty. Gen, and so I am, though the profits for the present will be but small. In the course of a few years our business must be excellent, perhaps lucrative, ^but^ never so much I hope as to induce to set my heart upon riches. Of all dominions potentates & powers, Man now is the most hateful. His vassalage I ^shall^ always pray to be delivered from. I have made the following contract with Mr. Van Buren. Our partnership is to extend to all private business (by that I mean all business except his Attorney Genl's business) in Chancery, in the Supreme & the Common Plea Courts. I am to have half of the <costs> in the Supreme Court & Common Pleas Courts, & the one third in Chancery, and to pay half the expences. Till fall I have made a bargain to board with him in his family and then I shall go somewhere else. I wish I could say "and then I shall certainly get married & of course will be obliged to go elsewhere." For really dear I begin to be afraid that we shall be compelled to postpone our wedding till the first of May 1818, a long long period. Eleven months, I shall die if I have to wait so long, and yet I don't see but what we will be obliged to. It will depend altogether on our business. If it will warrant the measure I'll not wait a moment after the 1st of January, but it it will not, why then we must wait, and wait patiently. Tell me Harriet whether you think you can bear with the talk of the public for eleven months longer, and whether you can wait for the completion of our happiness for so long a period. It grieves me to the soul to reflect upon the pain of remaining so long disunited & torn from my Harriet. If you only lived in town where I could "see and hear thee all the while softly speak & sweetly smile, then the time would glide off happily. Oh I wish you had some Aunts cousins or acquaintances who could keep you all the time at Albany. I should then be happy and wouldn't mind waiting another year before I pronounced you mine "before the holy man." I should feel much worse than I now do when reflecting on this subject if I did not know that you had good sense enough to perceive the folly of our enterting into the bonds of Hymen before we were enabled to offer the little god an appropriate douceur. For you know that even his smiles will last but for a moment unless you are able to buy their continuance. Money is as necessary to make him a pleasant companion as it is to keep one alive. We must be assured of a livelihood or else it would be criminal to marry. Will my love believe me when I promise that every thing which diligence and industry in my calling can perform will be done by me, as long as life lasts & health is given ^me^. It's all I can depend on, and though in these times the most industrious are embarrassed yet I look forward with confidence to better days. I wonder where you are & what you are about at this moment. I suspect you are writing to me, or perhaps thinking of me, for you spend a great deal of your time in both of these employments. I love you so much ^myself^ that I don't want you to love me less, and yet I wish you would try to think of me less frequently. This is perhaps a strange request for a lover. But dear Harriet you know that I am satisfied of your affection, and have been for months I had almost said years, I want no further evidence on that head. I am fearful that your thinking of me so much makes you melancholy & dissatisfied with your situation. You feel more ^and^  sensibly the cruelty of our seperation & wish too constantly for seeing me again. At least it's so with me. If I had not business enough to keep my mind always occupied during business hours I should be wretched. I would be always thinking of you and <beging> for the days of happiness we have passed together. Happy days we have enjoyed, and more I hope for. <Face> & face we shall meet with shortly, for four short weeks will bring us to each other. Give my love to your ma & sisters & tell your brother that I intended to have written him all about the ladies at Schenectady, but I was called to Schoharie immediately & since my return I have abjured all correspondence except with a few very particular persons, viz Harriet Allen & sheriffs defendants & Lawyers, who are all of them persons that I dare not neglect, for if I should the artillery of Cupid & of the Law, would be pointed at my head. I presented his compliments to all & each of them & they received them graciously. The poor creatures would be glad to escape from their confinement & would think thank any gentleman who had chivalry enough to do it. Tell your brother he had better set about it, as he has nothing else to do, and to mind & take Alby in his way so that I can have the pleasure of meeting him. I have recd. a letter form Jacob Barker in which he expressed his & Mrs. Barkers thanks for the politeness with which Robert was treated by your ma & his other friends at Hudson. Bu the bye Robert likes you very very much, at least he says. But whether he does or not I do, and ever shall while life is left me. Dearest dearest Harriet adieu.

Do you not know that I am "B. F. Butler Esquire," since my admission. 

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