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But this is getting into water too deep for so poor a swimmer as myself:-let us come to the shore.

How do you put over the time?-as we say in Cohee-land. Do you read? or do you write? or, do you do both?-Pray is this last question grammatical?-for I have not time to think of it.

So, you are to have Coalter with you-best of good fellowsand his most amiable and excellent daughters. I was at his house, near Richmond, and staid all night. Cabell and Laura were with us. We might have fancied ourselves young again, but that our girls were there to dispel the illusion. It was only the other day that you, and Coalter, and Peachy, were youths, writing to me these merry letters; and now we have children nearly grown, and, if the truth were known, thinking, I dare say, of being married themselves-which is moralizing quite as sagely as Justice Shallow on the death of old Double. I catch myself often at this profound and original sort of speculation, de vanitate mundi, but the fact is, no man has a perception of these moral truths, 'till they are brought home to his bosom by his own experience; and then they rise up, for the first time, with all the freshness of novelty about them.

Mr. was here last night. He talked of agriculture, manufactures, finances, a national institute, the bank loan, the dry weather, Miss. B., the 4th of July, the revolution in Naples and a newly invented plough, all in the same breath, and pretty nearly in the same sentence. And when he was forced to shut his mouth, by Laura's beginning to play, he also shut his eyes, and, I believe, went fairly to sleep; though he cried "beautiful," several times, in the wrong place. Miss B. says he does not know Barbara Allen from Yankee Doodle.

Poor Mrs. C. is still in sore affliction for the loss of her boy, who, by-the-bye, was one of the finest, if not the very finest, child I have ever seen. I think it was the Thracians, who mourned when a child was born, and rejoiced when one died. Had they not good reason for it? Their course was certainly much less selfish than ours, if it be true that there is a hereafter, and a hereafter of unmixed happiness for spotless innocence. And that there is, we ought not to doubt.

These same Springs again:

As to your thinking I care nothing for you, your wife or children, unless I go by Winchester to these Springs, I am not afraid of that for you know better, by four or five and twenty years experience. And you know also, according to an elegant and favorite saying of J. W's, that "old dogs don't learn new tricks"

I am incessantly interrupted by men on business, and now the mail hour has arrived.

God bless and preserve you, your wife and children-as also your friends-and, among them, our noble selves.


According to the appointment of this letter, Wirt spent a part of August at the Shanondale Springs, on the Shenandoah River, a few miles from Harper's Ferry. After that, he was called by professional service to Bel Air in Maryland, to take a part in the trial of certain prosecutions against officers of the Baltimore Branch of the Bank of the United States. These trials were postponed till the following year. The visit of the Attorney General, however, to the little village which was to be the scene of debate, is pleasantly described in a letter to Mrs. Wirt of the 4th of September.

"Here I am at Bel Air. We came up to-day in Williamson's coach with four smoking greys. We got here between eleven and twelve. Our quarters are quite comfortable, and the village itself, to my agreeable disappointment, a pretty place; the air fine, and the water super-excellent. The village is on a high open plain, the streets well bordered and shaded by locusts. I have a room to myself, a good bed, etc. There is a narrow grass plot on the north side of the house, which forms a delicious sitting place this evening, and stretches immediately under my chamber window. Then, for the table :-we had to-day a sweet small ham, very like what we used to get at Cabell's,―a nice fat young goose,-two nice boiled chickens and sundry vegetables; and for dessert, tarts, sweetmeats, good cheese, etc.-and, oh!—such a quantity of large, delicious peaches and pears! The

road, for several miles back, is lined, on both sides, with peach trees, loaded, to breaking, with fruit, and near enough to be pulled ad libitum by the hand, as we rushed along in the carriage. I have never seen a finer fruit country. Then we are within eight miles of the Chesapeake, and about the same distance from the mouth of the Susquehanna-fanned by land and sea breezes.

"But we are in serious apprehension of being obliged to leave this delicious place to-morrow. Judge Dorsey, the Chief Justice, is taken sick and goes home. One of the remaining two associates is laid up with tooth-ache, and is not here yet. If he comes, it is the general impression that the two juniors will not, and ought not, to try cases of such a nature as these, without the Chief Justice. So, do not be surprised if I am with you by Thursday; and be not disappointed if I am not, present, it is all conjecture what the course will be."

because, at

Amongst the matters of mere personal concern, which furnish the staple of nearly all I have to record of Mr. Wirt at this period of his life, the reader may be amused with the impressions made upon him by a short visit as far as the Hudson River, it being the first excursion into this region of the United States which he had yet attempted. The purpose of this journey was to place his son Robert at West Point, and to provide for his entrance into the military academy, to which he had lately received an appointment. We have a few sketches of his travel in letters to Mrs. Wirt, from which I make some extracts:

"CAMDEN, September 21, 1820. "Here we are, opposite to Philadelphia !-So, this is Philadelphia! Humph! as Sterne said of Paris. And what is there in Philadelphia to make such a mighty fuss about? One single church steeple and a shot tower are the only striking objects in view. All the rest is a mass of brick houses with white windows, on too flat a plain to be seen more than one or two hundred yards from the water. So, it is only by information that I know it extends two miles across to the Schuylkill. The extent upon the water-which they say, including suburbs, is four miles,shows a common, plain, quakerly place, and, in point of beauty,

no more to be compared to Richmond than a drab coat to the imperial purple. But the approach up the Delaware is very



Let me see if they will allow me to breathe here long enough to give you a diary.

"At five o'clock, P. M., we were off in the steamboat, at Baltimore for Philadelphia; passed Fort McHenry, whose "Star Spangled Banner" formed the subject of Key's celebrated song. The night bright and beautiful, and we kept the deck till nine, then supped and to bed, having to rise at one in the morning to take the stage from French Town to New Castle.

"Cut off!—The bell is ringing for the Trenton boat-and so, here we are-off for Trenton:

"On Christmas day in Seventy-Six."

"NEW YORK, September 23.

"We arrived here yesterday morning at ten. After dressing, I sallied forth in quest of the commodities to be purchased for Robert, intending on my return to give you an account of every thing. We returned at two,—when I found the mail had closed at one; so my chance to write was gone till to-day. In the evening we went to the Battery, and then to West's circus to let Robert see another entree of those celebrated horses. This morning I rose early to visit the Fish Market. The first person I met in the twilight was Mr. Hagner of Washington. He had just arrived from the north. Upon his suggestion I went into another room, where I found Mr. Calhoun and Major Roberdaux. In about five minutes afterwards, to the surprise of us all, came in Major Bomford, and soon after him, Major Thayer, the commanding officer at West Point. We were in a parlor assigned to Wilde and his family, and, being invited to join them, we all breakfasted together. Calhoun insists on my going to visit the forts with him to-day, at eleven. Instead of employing the morning in a journal of my interesting travel to this place, I shall go. I will write to you again to-morrow. We are invited to dine with the Corporation on Monday.

"September 24.

"They played us a trick yesterday. Instead of carrying us to the forts, they took us to a silk factory on Staten Island, where we were detained the whole day; and this by a ruse de guerre, without the sanction or knowledge of the Secretary, against his will, and very much against all propriety-for the troops were under arms at all the forts, expecting him, throughout the day. For my own part, I thought it such a breach of the respect due to the Secretary, (whom, by-the-bye, it was intended to honor, or rather, to catch from him a reflected honor and to throw it on this institution) that I was out of humor all day. Besides which, it was time lost to me without an equivalent; for I did not, by any means, consider a turtle dinner on Staten Island, as a compensation for the lost opportunity of seeing the fortifications and the city itself. I have not the least doubt my displeasure was visible in my manner, and that I shall be set down for a very surly, illnatured fellow-which, you know, is not the case.


"About five we went to see the Vice-President, who lives at the north end of Staten Island, fronting New York, and who, in answer to an invitation to the aforesaid silk dyer's had been reported sick in bed. He met us, however, at the gate, looking as well and smiling as ever. We staid fifteen minutes, were introduced to his family, and then returned to New York in the steamboat "Nautilus," about dark. On our return Mrs. Wilde told us she was quite surprised at reading in the newspapers of the day where we had been:-so that the printers, it seems, knew more of the Secretary's movements than he did himself. As to the sights-I must put off all that 'till my return; for if I spend my time in describing, I shall lose half that I ought to see."

"WEST POINT, September 27.

"We arrived here last night.-I pass over the beauties of the Delaware River and of New York, to come at once to this place. Yet, how can I write a word-with that heavenly band of music, surpassing anything I ever heard of its kind,—and that exact, majestic, and most beautiful march of the cadets, which is now

• Mr. Tompkins.

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