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B[enjamin] Franklin] B[utler] to Harriet [Allen] Butler, 11 August 1823

My dear Harriet,

On Saturday morning I most certainly expected to receive a letter from you, but was disappointed. Last evening I was again disappointed, but to night when I heard of Mrs. Stanleys arrival I felt confident that a long letter from my dear wife was about to greet my eyes & warm my heart, and with that expectation I lost but little time before calling at her lodgings. From the size of the package, I had every reason to believe my hopes were to be realized. Judge then of my disappointment when I opened your half sheet billet & read the 5 lines which formed the whole contents of the letter. And it seems too you had written a "long letter" which you have not thought proper to send me. My dear Harriet must excuse me for complaining. I feel that I have some reason for complaint. I intended on Saturday evening to have written you; but not receiving a letter from you, did not feel in a mood to write, & this evening I feel still more "ill at ease." You say you are "glad I am well & happy." I doubt it not, and fortunately the former cause of your joy still exists, as to the letter, an affectionate epistle from my dear Harriet, & something more particular about our dear little ones than is comprehended in an "all well" would have made me much happier than I am now like to be. With my whole heart I wish I was with you, but as that happiness is denied me, my desires for the present are confined to frequent & full accounts of your own welfare & that of the dear little girls. If that pleasure is to be denied me, I see little to enliven the tedious days I may yet be obliged to spend here.

Forgive me my dear H, if the tone of this is rather gloomy. I wanted to hear & expected to hear all about you & the dear children. The next time you write do give me an old fashioned letter. Do, thats a Dear good girl. Do oblige me in this. I love you I'm sure I do very much & if you dont write me I will certainly scold you when I get home.

The Court have at length commenced the Calendar but as yet it is impossible to say how long I shall be detained. A few days will I trust determine the matter. Rely upon it dear wife, I am as anxious to return, as you can wish me to be, & I shall make every effort to get away as soon as possible. Especially if I can receive only 1/2 sheet letters of five lines each while absent.

Young Mr. Henry of Albany preached here yesterday morning, & a Mr. <Nevins> from Baltimore in the afternoon, Mr. Aiken being absent. Both preached well, particularly the latter, who is a superior young man. A party of gentlemen attending the term went on Saturday afternoon to Trenton, & spent the principal part of the Sabbath in visiting the Trenton celebrated falls at that place, among the rest our friend Bushnell, who received a little admonition for this departure from this usual correct course, by tumbling from a rock into the water where it was about 30 feet deep. Fortunately he was immediately rescued & sustained no injury except that he was completely drenched.

Mrs. & Mrs. Talcott returned on Saturday, both well, especially the latter. She says her health is completely restored. I had not seen her until this evening when I met her at Griffins, & While there she received intelligence of her mothers arrival with "Uncle Seth" which as you may readily imagine created a great fluster & produced an immediate decampment.

I am so anxious to see you dear Harriet, that if I thought you could come here with entire safety & with comfort to yourself without me, & under the care of any other person, I should advise, & request, & urge, you to look out immediately for a beau & to come on by the last of this or the first of next week. Situated as you are I do not know that such a thing is possible, but I think if you was here now we could make it pleasant for a few days. The season is fine, & as the crowd has passed off, we could find good quarters at Mr. Baggs, which it would have been almost impossible last week to have found any where. Perhaps it is very foolish for me to think of this but if you should dare to venture on it, I will give you some instructions. The Stage House near Rockwells on the same side is the best. You must come in the afternoon to Schenectady. The ^To^ ride from Albany in the morning is enough to kill any one. You should write to me giving the day, so that I could leave here in season to meet you at Little Falls, where you would arrive at about 3 O'Clock in the afternoon, and if too much fatigued to go to Utica in the Canal Boats the same day, we could remain till the morning & still get here in season for Court by the Stage, or by 1 O.Clock in the Boat. To provide for such a jaunt if you should think of it I send enclosed Twenty Dollars. I am afraid you will think I am a fool, but I cant help it.

Young Mr. Hand, (Mr <Delawares> former clerk) is to be married on Monday evening next to a Miss Walker, a very fine girl I am told. He has invited me to the wedding, whether I shall go or not I dont know. He is going to Albany & I shall send this letter by him.

Tuesday I am still of the same opinion as to your coming up. If Mr. Hardy would be a good chance but he comes on Thursday afternoon which I suppose would be too soon, & will have to start from Troy & go thence to Schenectady with some friends for whom he is going. I dare say you could find a good beau by letting Charles enquire. But enough of this. Believe me it would give me great joy to see you here. Mrs. Stanley & Mrs. Talcott being here would I think contribute to your visit & I shall not be very much engaged in Court next week. I am very anxious to see Mrs. Stanley to hear all about you. She was too much fatigued to see me last night & this morning when I called was not in. Dear Harriet I must bid you adieu. Kiss the dear little girls ^for me,^ tell Margaret to be a good girl & learn her lesson & dear father will bring her something from Utica, & so he will bring Hatty some thing too. Give my love to lydia & Clarissa & believe me my own dear Harriet, when I say, that I am your faithful & affectionate husband

B. F. B

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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)