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B[enjamin] F[ranklin] Butler to Harriet Allen, 23 July 1816

My dear Harriet 

As I gave you fair notice of my intention of adressing you, I hope you will not be surprised at the receipt of this. I found your friends, and my friends, in good spirits, gay, pleasant & agreeable as ever. Olcott & myself spent the ^last^ evening with them at Mrs. Ten Eycks, very agreeably, I assure you. Miss Edmonds & Miss O under the protection of the man of war, Majr. Swift, left town this afternoon for Schenectady. I concluded to remain at home. Indeed I have so long been rambling about the country, without any other object in view than pleasure & amusement, that it is no small relief to me to engage in the accustomed duties of the office. I have no doubt the excursion to Sche, (the name is much too long to write, and too difficult to spell) will be a pleasant one. The admirer of beauty and fashion, and the lover of science can not fail to be gratified. But to me the post would be unattractive, and the eloquent displays of the Collegians ^would be^ devoid of interest, unless you also could participate in the pleasures of the occasion. During my late visit to NewYork I felt most forcibly, how much ^your^ presence was wanted, to give a zest to my enjoyments. I certainly passed my time very agreeably while there, but if I could have met with you, I should have been perfectly happy. I am as fond of <rational> pleasures as any one, yet they afford me but little satisfaction unless shared with those I love.

The ladies will return to Alby, on Thursday, to Hudson on Saturday. In the mean time you must be content with the society of your now "happy family." And though Miss Edmonds is a sensible and highly interesting companion, and Miss Ann Maria, all that is amiable and engaging, yet I think your own family furnishes the most agreeable party, with which I am acquainted. At any rate I should be satisfied with it. Indeed I was satisfied with it while I remained at Hudson, for you know I was a constant visitor there, and there only. I had intended, before leaving Hudson, to have spoken freely with your Brother, on the subject of my intimacy with you. I thought it my duty. As the warmest friend and the natural protection of his sisters, he can not but feel inrerested in any thing that concerns them. Particularly in matters of such nature, as may permanently affect their peace of mind, their welfare & happiness. I hope I feel all I should, and as I should, on this subject. But I had only time to remark to him that the throughout my acquaintance with you, my intentions had been correct, pure & honorable, & my conduct of such a nature, that I would willingly submit it to his scrutiny. And I assured him & begged him to believe me sincere, that for the future, my deportment towards you, should be such as I hoped would meet his approbation. This was what I intended to say to him at the River, and I believe I succeeded, though I was never more confused in my life. I feel that he ought to be made acquainted with every thing relating to my attachment for you, my present situation and any prospects in life. Dear Harriet make him your confidant. Tell him every thing about me just as it is. "Extenuate nothing" and I am sure you love me too well, "to set down ought in malice." You know that I love you, and that with no common affection, and that the hope of making you mine, is the joy and comfort of my heart. But I would sooner surrender that hope, dear & inestimable as it is, than draw upon you the opposition & disapprobation of your Brother. Have I not reason then to feel interested in his good opinion? in making him believe that my intimacy with you is worthy of his countenance & approbation? If I though it was not, I hope I love you too much, to hesitate for a moment in dissolving it. 

Tell Louisa I delivered her book, [. . .] her father, at home, to day. He was much pleased at hearing [. . .], and has written to her to come up to Albany, with [. . .] sure she will be much gratified. Give my love to Mrs Coffin, your mother & sister, & remember me to your Brother. I have no right to expect an answer, yet if you can make it convenient to devote a few minutes to me, I shall be very grateful. I am always happy to hear from you in any way, but the assurance that your are well & that you sometimes think of me ^from yourself,^ is doubly gratifying. 

With sincere affection yours

B.F. Butler

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Source: N New York State Library
Collection: Benjamin Franklin Butler Papers (N)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)