Skip to main content
View PDF

B[enjamin] F[ranklin] B[utler] to Harriet Allen, 12 August 1816

My dear Harriett.

I received your note by Bingham and intended to have written you by him. I told him so and he engaged to be the bearer of my letter. Olcott also wrote, but he disappointed us both. I was not much pleased with him before, for having taken it into his head for the first time in his life, to be in a prodigious hurry, just as the best girl in the world was writing a few lines to her truest and most faithful friend. For I had been calculating upon the pleasure of receiving a good long letter ^and^ I need not tell you I was a little disappointed as to length. And my vexation was increased, because Mr. Abm. Van Buren offered very politely to take charge of my letter, & to see that it was immediately delivered. But I declined committing it to his care, as I supposed that Mr. Bingham wished to be the bearer of an answer, in return for the patience with which he waited for yours. I will forgive the gentleman upon this condition & no other, that is, that you write me a long letter without delay, to make up for the one I expected to have received by him. That will reduce me to good humor. It is no great loss to you that the letter was not received, as there was nothing in it worth reading. But I am sorry you did not receive ^it^ because it would have convinced you that nothing affords me so much pleasure as to hear from you. And that I was never tired of telling you how dear you are to me. Our correspondence, tho' short, has been to me the source of exquisite satisfaction. The moment I perceive the well known hand of my beloved Harriett, I feel satisfied and happy. I hope we may continue frequently to remind each other of our mutual attachment, and that your letters may not be curtailed by the ill timed haste of another Bingham, nor mine committed in fragments to the winds of Heaven, through his inattention to his promises. 

The wedding of Mr. Ostrander, they tell us here, has been followed by several splendid entertainments. What will become of friend Natty? His head is too weak for balls & roasts & suppers & tea parties. And if his brain should become disordered, and the loss to the community of Hudson would be irreparable. For who like him ^can descant^ upon the quality of a diamond, or the worth of a carnelian, or point out to admiring beauties, the value of his trinkett?

I wished much to have been of the party at Mrs Van Burens. I though my am glad that you are beocming considerably acquainted with her for she is really an excellent woman. She is considerably attached to you and makes some calculations upon having you as a frequent visitant at Albany. Not perhaps as Miss H.A. but in the character of Mrs Harriett Butler. How will that still sound? I think remarably well. But I have so often been charged with the want of good taste, that I am ^rather^ inclined to doubt my own judgment on some occasions. This however is not such a subject. It is impossible for me to be mistaken. Let me have your ideas about it. 

I wish most ardently to see you. But I am at present unable to say when I shall visit Hudson. My visit to New York ir was so long that the affairs of the office became considerably deranged, and I have been compelled to be pretty busily engaged since my return. I expect to have the pleasure of meeting you about the 8th of Sept, if not before. Harriett, you must not think my visits to Hudson are less frequent than they might be. The distance to be sure is but small and the facilities afforded to travelling, by the steam boats, render it easy to go down & to return. But the business in which I have been engaged for the last year, requires the constant attendance of some one, and it is ^of^ importance to me to convince Mr. Van Buren that in the management of his concerns I am attentive from choice as well as necessity. 

I always wish you to remember me to your friends & mine. You know who they are. Your mother, sister Mrs C. Miss Edmonds, Miss Talman &c &c.

Have you got the story for Ann Marian from Mrs Storrs? If you have not, I will tell you in a few words, that in the passage to Alby on board the Steam boat, she conquered the heart of a young gentleman of character & fortune from Georgia. He staid a whole week at the springs, for no other purpose than to see her, as he supposed she would visit them. Ask her if she recollects him. Storrs says he had the finest black eyes he ever saw. Some of your Hudson girls would feel quite proud, if they had made a conquest of that kind. But Miss O. has too much modesty & good sense to suffer her <illegible> be vain of her beauty or accomplishments. Tho she has reason to be proud of both. Her brother showed me a part of one of her letters in which she mentioned you in terms of warm admiration & genuine friendship, & says she wishes you ^& her brother^ were acquainted. I wish so too, for I esteem him as one of my worthiest friends. He possesses a generous soul, & is capable of friendship of the most exalted kind. If your brother returns before I visit Hudson do tell him to take a trip to Alby. Caroline says she awlasy wishes to be remembered by you. And so does your faithful & affectionate 


P. S. Give my compliments to Mary Pepoon if you see her & to <Delia> Coffin, and write me a good long letter. Dont forget, A long one.

Images for this document are currently unavailable.
Source: N New York State Library
Collection: Benjamin Franklin Butler Papers (N)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)