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We have had very severe weather for several weeks ; I think the coldest I have known since my return from abroad. The climate of Old England for me; people do not grow old half so fast there ; two-thirds of the year here, we must freeze or melt. Public affairs go on so smoothly here, that we . scarcely know that Congress are sitting ; North Carolina a little delirious, and Virginia trying to give law. They make some subject for conversation ; but, after all, the bluster will scarcely produce a mouse.
Present me kindly to your mamma and sisters. How I long to send for you all, as in days past; my dear little boys, too. As to John, we grow every day fonder of him. He has spent an hour this afternoon in driving his grandpapa round the room with a willow stick. I hope to see you in April. Congress will adjourn in March, and it is thought will not meet again till December.
Good night, my dear. Heaven's blessings alight on you and yours,
TO MRS. SMITH.
Philadelphia, 25 January, 1791.
MY DEAR CHILD,
You must not flatter yourself with the expectation of hearing from Colonel Smith until the February packet arrives. It is as soon as you ought to think of it. You see by the papers, that a minister is in nom
ination from England, and, Mrs. C- writes, will come out soon. Mrs. P-, from whom I received a letter, writes me by the last packet, that Mr. Friere is certainly appointed from Portugal, and that he only waits for the arrival of Count
his successor, in England, before he sails for America. Mrs. P-likewise communicates the agreeable intelligence of Mr. P's having forsaken the bottle, and that the Countess B— had another child, and was vastly happy, beloved by her dear Count, &c.; all in the true style of Mrs. P- She desires to be kindly remembered to you and the Colonel.
Present me kindly to all my New York friends. That I was attached to that place is most true, and I shall always remember with pleasure the fifteen months passed there ; but, if I had you and your family, I could be very well pleased here, for there is an agreeable society and friendliness kept up with all the principal families, who appear to live in great harmony, and we meet at all the parties nearly the same company. To-morrow the President dines with us, the Governor, the Ministers of State, and some Senators.
Of all the ladies I have seen and conversed with here, Mrs. Powell is the best inform. ed. She is a friendly, affable, good woman, sprightly, full of conversation. There is a Mrs. Allen, who is as well-bred a woman as I have seen in any country, and has three daughters, who may be styled the three Graces.
My best respects to your good mamma and family.
Tell Mrs. C- I hope she makes a very obedient wife. I am sure she will be a good one. I think I shall see you in April. Why do you say that you feel alone in the world ? I used to think that I felt so too ; but, when I lost my mother, and afterwards my father, that “ alone” appeared to me in a much more formidable light. It was like cutting away the main pillars of a building ; and, though no friend can supply the absence of a good husband, yet, whilst our parents live, we cannot feel unprotected. To them we can apply for advice and direction, sure that it will be given with affection and tender
We know not what we can do or bear, till called to the trial. I have passed through many painful ones, yet have enjoyed as much happiness through life as usually falls to the lot of mortals ; and, when my enjoyments have been damped, curtailed, or molested, it has not been owing to vice, that great disturber of human happiness, but sometimes to folly, in myself or others, or the hand of Providence, which has seen fit to afflict me. I feel grateful for the blessings which surround me, and murmur not at those which are withheld. — But my pen runs on, and my lads, at whose table I write, wonder what mamma can find to write about.
Adieu, My love to the children. From your ever affectionate
TO MRS. SMITH.
Philadelphia, 21 February, 1791.
MY DEAR CHILD,
I RECEIVED yours of February 13th, and was happy to learn that you and your little ones were well. I wrote to you by the Chief Justice, and sent your silk by him. He promised me to visit you, and from him you will learn how we all are. We have had, ever since this month began, a succession of bad weather, and, for this week past, the coldest weather that I have experienced this winter. The ground is now covered with snow. This, if it would last, would let me out of my cage, and enable me to go to the assembly on the birth-day of the President, which will be on Tuesday next. On Thursday last I dined with the President, in company with the ministers and ladies of the court. He was more than usually social. I asked him after Humphreys, from whom I knew he had received despatches a few days before. He said that he was well, and at Lisbon. When I returned home, I told your
father that I conjectured Mr. Humphreys would be nominated for Lisbon, and the next day the Senate received a message, with his nomination, as resident minister at the Court of Portugal; the President having received official information that a minister was appointed here, Mr. Friere, as I before informed you. He asked very affectionately after you and the children, and at table picked the sugar-plums from a cake, and requested me to take them for master John. Some suppose, that, if your husband was here, he would have the command of the troops which are to be raised and sent against the Indians. If such an idea as that is in his mind, I am happy that your friend is three thousand miles distant. I have no fancy that a man, who has already hazarded his life in defence of his country, should risk a tomahawk and scalping-knife, where, though a conqueror, no glory is to be obtained, though much may be lost. I most sincerely hope he may be successful in his private enterprise ; for the way to command Fortune is to be as independent of her as possible.
The equanimity of your disposition will lead you to a patient submission to the allotments of Providence. The education of your children will occupy much of your time, and you will always keep in mind the great importance of first principles, and the necessity of instilling the precepts of morality very early into their minds. Youth is so imitative, that it catches at every thing. I have a great opinion of Dr. Watts's “ Moral Songs for Children.” They are adapted to their capacities, and they comprehend all the social and relative duties of life. They impress the young mind with the ideas of the Supreme Being, as their creator, benefactor, and preserver. They teach brotherly love, sisterly affection, and filial respect and reverence.
I do not know any book so well calculated for the early peri