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[Benjamin] Franklin [Butler] to Harriet [Allen] Butler, 16 August 1823

My dearest Harriet.

I recd. last evening your letter of Wednesday & Thursday, & shall anxiously await the receipt of another communication, in the hope of hearing that your health is improved. This morning I supposed I should be able to leave here in time to reach home on Monday night, Mr. Foot having proposed to me to give up the idea of arguing our Factory cause this term, to which I joyfully agreed, Supposing there was nothing else of any moment to keep me. It did not then occur to me that I had an important cause with Mr Hopkins standing very low on the calendar, but which I dare not at present leave without his consent. As soon as I could, I saw him, but unfortunately found that he could not consistently with his engagements to his client give up the chance of bringing it to a hearing at this term. I shall therefore be obliged stay until Monday, but I am in hopes I shall then be able to make some arrangement with the Court which will enable me to leave, in which can I shall be home on Tuesday evening. You must not expect me with certainty then, but I have considerable hopes I shall be with you by that or the next day. In the mean time if nothing has been done before, had not Charles better make an effort on Monday to do as I suggested in my last. The money required for the purpose you will be able to advance out of what I sent you, as you have no idea of coming here, and on a great many accounts it would be better to have it done (if it must be) before I return. Dear Harriet believe me I sympathize most sincerely in your sorrows, particularly in those which the present circumstances occasion, and I am willing and most anxious to do every thing in my power to prevent their repetition. I regret that you should have thought it necessary to make prisoners of yourselves, especially since I learn that you have been so ill. I feel for your situation & that of our dear Sister, but yet I think your apprehensions have been more serious than necessity required. I doubt whether he would venture to put himself in the way of any of us. But this subject is too painful for me to dwell longer on it.

Truly it would have fitted me with delight to have met you here, & yet I can not deny that your own conclusion is the most fit, particularly as there is now so fair a prospect of my getting away in the early part of next week. Since I wrote you we have been very much crowded at Baggs, by the addition of more lawyers who fill up the places of those who leave about as fast as they depart, & the constant concourse of travellers who pass through the town daily, & at this time find the greatest difficulty in obtaining quarters. There is every thing hear to make the term agreeable except private boarding houses, of which however I dare say there will be enough a year hence if the term continues to be held here.

Mrs. Stanly you will probably see before you get this. She has I think gained in health by the excursion, of which she will give you all the particulars. I was sorry I could not see more of her while here, but my attendance being generally required in Court & I having been employed on Court business for 3 evenings in succession since she has been here, & having called & not found her in, I have seen but little of her or Mrs. Talcott.

Had you not stated the cause of your illness, & were it not that you [as]sured me that you was recovering from [its] effects, I should have left town this morning & hazarded the consequences. As it was I thought it best to stay until I heard from you again. I trust that will be to night, & I sincerely hope the <illegible> tidings I shall receive may be sent as I could wish them to be. I beg you to be careful of your health. Remember how important it is to our dear children & to me, & last though by no means least, how unspeakably valuable in itself. Your own happiness & that of those whose welfare is bound up with yours, depends upon it too much to suffer you to neglect it. Give my love to Lydia & all & kiss the dear little girls one, two, three of them & believe me my dear wife

your faithful & affectionate


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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)