Elizabeth, Letter 1-011: To Eliza Sadler

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Author: Elisabeth Ann Bailey Seton .
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Long Island 18th June 1797

My Precious Sad—

as I scarcely know any thing necessary to the completion of my present comforts and satisfaction but the assurance of your Health and safety, I mean in the course of general events, for if instead of hearing from you, you were with me, I should be too well contented. The mild, peaceful flow of the river before our dwelling1, always inspires me with ideas of you, and increases the malancholy of regret which thoughts of absent friends inspire, but I have no friends to cause that regret, and no bosom to sigh for but yours, for I have none which calls forth the same kind of affection with yourself, none that I would unite with my William to increase the delight of my Evening hours.

You may probably recollect a House of Mr. Livingstons2 on the East river opposite the Battery and facing Govemers Island’—Sister Post divides the House with us, and the pleasure of recieving our Hus­bands together in the Evening, the company and protection we are to each other, when they are detained from us, counterbalances every in­convenience which a union of families always occasions,—we have as yet recieved nothing but pleasure and comfort from our Establish­ment and the offering of fresh Bread, Butter, and coffee to the dear well beloved Father of us, after a fatiguing sail in his Health Office employment is a satisfaction of which you can well form an Estimate.

last Evening when my William, Sister, Post, and some Gentlemen were walking, / was detained at Home to put my Boy3 asleep, sitting on the sill of the door with my Baby sleeping at my Breast, the Heav­enly tranquil view of every thing round me—you will readily believe when I tell you that I felt my face wet with tears whilst thinking how far distant you were from what we could so well enjoy together—I am always anticipating pleasure, and in my imagination 1 have painted scenes for next summer which far exceed even these, which I so well know how to value—

29th June

I have been too melancholy and depressed this week past to at­tempt writing for I should only unnecessarily distress you by commu­nicating feelings to you which time and reason only can alleviate. Catherine Cooper with whom so many of my past days have been spent in friendship and affection is dying in the most melancholy man­ner, unconscious of the change she is making of this world for the next. Can there be a subject of more sorrowful reflections. Miss Colden’ is passing the same scene with her, which she has already done with Mrs. O. Hoffman’’ and I really believe her to be a far greater sufferer than my poor friend in all the horrors of the cramp and a rapid consumption. Sweet amiable girl, may her latter days be more peace­ful and fortunate than the present. I have much to lament in the loss of Mrs. Cooper for it is not easy to meet with such unreserved affection­ate attachment as she has always expressed to me more by manner than by words—but my Sad 1 have already made the estimate of Hu­man life too-well to grieve for her fate unconnected with the distress­ing effect it must have on those she leaves behind her.

—W[illiam] C[raig] has passed one Afternoon with me since I have been here, and I very much fear, that without great care he will suffer in his Health, as he is scarcely ever without pain in the Head and uneasiness of the Breast. When 1 caution him, he gives that throw of the chin which expresses, “and what matter is it”—he is too good and too valuable not to excite the greatest interest in his friends when his health is in question. He confirms the Hope you have given me that four or five months will end our seperation, and I am sure 1 have no ex­pectation more cherished and indulged than that of meeting you again—My Father says Heavens how I wish I could see her, and my William in his mild manner answers Yes I wish we had them well over their dangers and difficulties, your friend smiles on them and secretly prays, Heaven grant it—

I am rocking the cradle with one hand, with a book on my knee to substitute my cabinet which is left in New York. Anna Maria is close by my side putting her Dolly to sleep and 1 will cut a lock of her beauti­ful hair for you which curls in a thousand ringlets over her head. She is one of the loveliest beings my Eyes ever beheld. Yours may have seen many more so, but a Mother sees thro’ a vail which renders the object as she wishes it—My father says you will take her from me, but I deny it for she does not possess those gentle expressions of sensibility which you so much admire—I only have the least influence with her, because her disposition is exactly my own.

Give my affectionate Rememberance to my friend Hfenry Sadler] and may the best blessings of Heaven be Yours—

Your E.A.S.

  1. They were at a summer home on Long Island facing the East River.
  2. There were several prominent Livingston families in New York at the time.
  3. William Seton. Elizabeth’s oldest son.

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