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B[enjamin] F[ranklin] B[utler] to Harriet [Allen] Butler, 7 May 1822

My dearest Harriet,

I have no doubt you have been disappointed in not receiving a letter from me, and I regret exceedingly that it should have happened so. I wrote you a letter yesterday intending to send it by the Firefly, which I was unfortunately prevented from sending by a mistake as to the time. My own watch was at the office Watch makers, & Mr. Gould who had occasion to see me about his book, called on me, and between nine & ten, and gave ^such^ erroneous information as to the time, that when before I could get to the Steam Boat, she had gone. I am very sorry on your account, as well as my own, I was desirous to convey to you the expression of my affection for yourself & the dear little chicks, and I was also desirous that you should receive it. I beg you to overlook this unfortunate occurance, the next time I will endeavour to be more faithful.

It was almost impossible for me to leave Alby. yesterday, and indeed were it not, that I had engaged to go, I should not leave home at all, at this time. Mr. Caldwell leaves on Saturday, & I do not like to leave the house & office, so entirely deserted, as they will be. I shall leave NewYork, unless some thing special occurs, on Saturday ^this week^ in the Boat, and will stop for you, at Hudson or Kinderhook, where ever you may be, but if you do not wish to return as early as Tuesday next, I must go on without you, as I intend to be at home by that time. My business requires it indispensably. I have got the library, papers, &c all removed, & put in tolerable order. The house I have locked, & as Dudly had not arrived when I left, the articles for him, must remain until I return. I hope you will be ready to return with me. I am really unable to live with any comfort without you. How often have I wished that you, & our dear little girls were with me, since your departure. Our family & Mr. Jones continues the same as when you left, with the addition of another of Mr. Delavans <clerks>. Jones, is apparently blessed with the same good appetite as formerly. I never observed him particularly until yesterday, when a sight of his mode of eating some spinage, effectually banished the remains of my appetite. I think we had better endeavour to take care of ourselves, after we get home, instead of <starting> them until regulated. They are very busy at Mr. Talcotts. Mr. Stanly seems to have the entire management. I am glad to hear that our dear mother is so much better. Heaven grant that she may restored to health. I hope you and the little girls are well, and that I soon may have the happiness of folding you all in my arms. It is not yet a week since you left me, and it seems a month. (Indeed I had to stop when I wrote the last line, & calculate, I really thought at first it was a week ago last Thursday that you left Albany.) "In all my humours whether grave or mellow," you are necessary to my happiness, and I shall therefore endeavour to get you back again as soon as possible. The shrubbery was putting forth very fast, until checked by the cold weather of yesterday, & the day before. I fear it will be injured by the frost. Mrs. Syms seemed very unwilling to part with it, which is by no means extraordinary. We ought to be there next week to attend to it. Give my love to all. Kiss the dear little girls a thousand times for dear Pa, tell Margaret dear Pa loves her very much, & believe me dearest Harriet

most affectionately Yours




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Source: N New York State Library
Collection: Benjamin Franklin Butler Papers (N)
Series: Series 4 (3 December 1821-31 December 1824)