Sister writes brother overseas. Very prominent family.


Date Written

Nov. 15, 1816

Katherine Bigelow was 23 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Andrew Bigelow, was 21 when it was received.

Katherine Bigelow died 43 years, 9 months, 6 days after writing this.
It was written 206 years, 10 months, 18 days ago.
It was a Friday.

Nov. 15, 1816

My Dear Andrew,

I wrote you by the “Telegraph” which sailed Wednesday, you probably will get this nearly if not quite as soon. I mentioned I’ve not having seen your letters by the way of New York—they have since come to hand. I have before me a letter of Mr. Thacker’s (26 Sept.) wherein he observes just as he is sending by the “Falcon”, he receives letters from home, a severe pang assailed my heart that you were not so fortunate, but as I before observed, Papa was unwilling I should write till we heard at least indirectly of your arrival—to tell you the truth dear brother I could not have believed our Father could suffer anxiety to prey so deeply upon his health & spirits as it evidently has done; so short a voyage of undertaken at such a favourable season of the year, scarcely admitted with doubt of your safety & if there was danger were you not in the hands of almighty God? I’ve felt & still feel that such a blessing will be presented & [?] to us “laden with the rich experience of his goodness--do not make any observation in your letter, relative to what I have told you, as I am unwilling to recall their feelings to our dear Father—he is ill able to bear what his own imagination suggests—Your mattress & bolster came home a day or two since accompanied by a pillow which did not go from our house, but as it was corded around the other things, & directed in yr. handwriting, we presume it is one you procured on the voyage of some person, I shall consequently keep it till further orders—you who could not enclose the thoughts of sleeping on a better mattress than this at home & on a sacking bedstead, must have wished yourself more than once on a feather bed---Ephraim Hall was in on Sunday evening. I asked some particulars relative to the death of Gloystein Atleas a violent fever about the 11th of Sept. I told you in my last that it was at the Havana, he remained too long there. I never knew you so interested in one in who you were so little acquainted. I am sure his violent and melancholy death will produce a corresponding effect.

I see by the papers the death of Aunt Esther on Sunday evening, aged 52. She was of our earliest friends, although it must be confessed she was not particularly endearing since years of discretion have refined our powers of discrimination.

I was at Mrs. Capt. Ward’s yesterday. She is very desirous of your description of Loch Katrine & other Scottish scenery. I repeated that you may come home proposed to satisfy her, indeed, I suspect no one will be more solicitous for an account of what you have seen or heard; she already possesses an uncommon store of information & such people are eager for an increase. I seldom met a more entertaining woman in conversation---Every word I write reminds me of what you said of Hessoy Fitch’s handwriting, that there was no character about A, no two words written alike or in the same style, it is because I send so much more on one sheet than I ever did on any form before. It seems as tho a letter to a friend across the Atlantic ought every eighth of an inch of it be occupied—As I am obliged to answer all the letters sent home, whether addressed to me or not, I should, methinks, receive an equivalent. Obliged sounds as if it was merely a matter of duty, an idea, I by no means, intend to convey, for to me next to the pleasure of breaking the seal of a friend, is the sealing & directing letters to those we love & particularly my well loved brother. Now & then when I put in some instructions & some observations from Papa which he says I must repeat from him or which is for your ultimate good unquestionably: you must not think your sister is addressing you but your Father—for instance, he told me to intimate (which I cannot do better than in his words) that you must have an eye to his means & the labour by which those means were acquired as well as to your wishes—he has appropriated as large a sum as he can afford for your absence & with proper economy, it will continue you abroad long enough to reap all the advantages which young men of your first fortune enjoy—on the contrary—if you are unnecessarily expensive, you must be prematurely recalled—do not let the example of other young men have any influence; now, dear brother, you know our Father & the value of his advice, & be assured, I respect the above exactly as he stated & to me yesterday morning, when I asked him if he wished me to pay anything from him—I have no Knowledge of the sum, only that it is limited, and my interest for your welfare & desire that you should remain abroad, if possible, much longer than first contemplated, makes me willing you should “that he be sensible of that likewise—when I look back upon my Father’s life (We will readily comprehend one) I am perfectly astonished that he has been induced to expend what he constantly has done for our education from our infancy upward—Men who have acquired their money, those who possess ten times as much frequently seem determined their children shall desire no advantages from it till they have no further use for the goods of this life—My remarks to be sure, more directly apply to those who themselves, are illiterate & uneducated—how truly we grateful we ought to feel, that our Father appreciates the importance of education—he has done what his Father has wrote from Quebec that he would give his an education which should raise him to a level, it has indeed raised him and his children to a level.

I called yesterday to present your respects to Mr. Osgood, he was out but Mrs. Osgood & the girls were exceedingly pleased with your remembrance—I have not been treated so well by Misses for months—Mrs. Osgood said how much they hoped and expected from you & prayed they might not be disappointed, they wished me to remember them all to you very particularly & to by you would not forget your promise of writing to their father who would be satisfied beyond what you can conceive, etc, etc.!!!

Papa saw the President yesterday & gave your message—won’t you remember [?] in your next? the honest fellow would be so delighted, for he thinks and talks of you incessantly—I am sure, you will say after mentioning Mrs. Osgood & Kirkland to [?] capt. the climax indeed—but dear Andrew, I have not your faculty of methodizing my thoughts—Messrs Williams and Dixon drank tea on Sunday with us—the latter sets out for the southwest this week, will not be back before the 11th of March—is going as far south as Savannah if time admits. The former gentleman took Mr. Everett’s letter, to you, into town, Mr. Hilliard had spoken to him relative to the books sect—[?] I was often at Mr. Hilliard’s bookstore (Boston) sometime since & he had a deal to say about you.—I’ve had wall fruit in great abundance, there has scarcely been a standard peach this year, of course, ours were doubly valuable. I presume I have packed 2 thousand in paper & rowen for various people—Adj. Gen Hatton carried some of them home, 100 miles when he had a splendid dinner in compliment to his Excellency who went into Hampshire country to service the troops 6 weeks since. When the Adjutant General presented his friends with an elegant basket of peaches, the Gov. told me they were better than when they went from home—they were the Royal Charlotte’s & tho’ we think indifferently of them as they are clingstones, yet, they were better peaches to transport—Commodore Bainbridge when he dined here, said he never saw such a display of fruit in all the countries he had ever been—We sent M. de Valnois some who returned a elegant Frenchified note. I have seen by the paper of today an advertisement of Steward Janset’s for a person qualified for master of the college kitchen in the room of Fillabrown, who died last October, I merely mentioned this because I’ve so often heard you speak of the deceased.------------- I’ve been just interrupted by Capt. Gilchrist, who brought us in the, “Institution of J. Hindu Law: on the ordinances on henu: I observed to him, it would be a work/ if you had not before met with it, that would please you so much—Hellen desires me to ask if you recollect whom you concluded to Polt at? She feels very gloomy this evening as the term of Luis Swan’s School expired this day—the whole host of children are all around me, one practices on the piano, another dancing, etc. We have been much satisfied by the epithets Mr. [?] he opply’s when he has occasion to speak of you in his letters. I shall always feel thankful that you have been his companion hitherto give & I’ve felt it more sensibly since I’ve seen his letters as they express his sentiments relative to you—When next you write, tell me who you have seen & what they have said. I’ve more curiosity respecting the people than the country as the latter description is to be met with (tho it cannot be so interesting of course, to me, as your account) but respecting the former, you alone can inform me of what I wish to learn—I am of John Brazan’s mind. I want your opinion respecting folks & affairs, etc, etc. I shall now write you by every opportunity and shall be impatient for your letters. I had no idea the shipping list could even be so much the object of my attention, as it has been for the last few months.

Your Court is sitting & the Cambridge Court—It is nearly nine o’clock & Papa has just returned exceedingly fatigued & requires my attention before I’ve quite filled my eighth—your word chirography runs in my head e very time I cast my eye over this writing—Adieu my dear brother. May heavens choices & blessings rest upon you.

Yours ever,

Scans of Letter