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B[enjamin] Franklin B[utler] to Harriet Allen, 19 January 1818

My dearest Harriet, 

The hour is somewhat late, and I am heartily tired of writing, yet I have a few moments to devote to you which I very gladly embrace, because tomorrow my time may be otherwise employed. I have been all the afternoon & evening employed in preparing papers for the morrow to be used in the Court of Chancery, and as you are something of a Chancery Lawyeress you may have some idea of the length & dullness of such proceedings. I have two letters to thank you for, both of them interesting & acceptable. The first I did not receive till yesterday. There was no regular southern mail on Saturday & I never thought of the along Shore mail, so did not go down there to the Post office. Your last was sent to me in due season by Mr. Olcott. I see that you had some expectations of hearing from me to day. I hope ^your disappointment^ was not great. I did not think of writing this week on Monday because my last was written on Saturday morning. Nor indeed could I have done it if I had desired it. On Saturday evening I was engaged till late, so that I was unable to attend the prayer meeting. On Sunday I will not & ought not to write & the mail is closed before Monday morning. (I am afraid you may take offence at my expression about writing on Sunday. I don’t mean to insinuate that you would be willing to have me spend any part of that day in writing even if I wrote to you. I only mean that it is improper to do so & that therefore I could not prepare a letter for the Monday mail.) In your first you say you have been imprudent & that even to so great a degree that any constitution but yours would have been ruined by it. But you did not mention the nature nor the extent of your imprudence. Judge then whether I was not alarmed. Today you tell me that you could not write when you first arose on account of indisposition. You complain of not having been able to take a moments rest. Your night was sleepless & must therefore have been painful. My dearest dearest Harriet how much anxiety do I feel for you. What have you been doing? What is your complaint? Is your illness severe and is it likely to continue? Do dear H give me full & particular account of it. Tell me all about it. Let me know exactly the truth. And let me beg and intreat of you to be more prudent more cautious for the future. Think of what both of us would endure if you should be seriously ill. How would I feel to hear that you was reduced to a bed of sickness. Through the mercy & the goodness of God, I have till now been spared from this most painful of all afflictions the illness of a person beloved more than life itself, and whose health & happiness are infinitely dearer than my own. Long may he keep me from this dreadful trial, long may he bless you with health & happiness. May he ever be your shield & buckler, your hope & joy & consolation, your present help in every time of need, your everlasting friend, your portion and your reward. But I must quit. Dearest dearest Harriet, Adieu, your own B.F.B.

Sunday Evening. I have been so incessantly engaged all day that I have had no opportunity for finishing my letter. The Chancery business is not yet done with. This evening I have got to attend a meeting of our society. I dare not be away for I am very much afraid that we will have to abandon it unless those who feel any interest in its success attend punctually. To make up for this short letter you shall have another on Friday & another on Monday. Take good care of yourself, and

believe me as ever Your own 


PS The mail closes at 8. So that when I return it will be too late to finish my letter. 

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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)