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Curious movements in this world. Mr. Early suffered the priest at Hartford to tell his people that he intended marriage with the Wid. Church. It surprised us all. You, we are told, are equally surprised with a manoeuvre at Ten Hills. This is a strange world we live in. I for my part wish them much fun together, but am sorry for our friend Bob. I think he must be unhappy. Remember me to them all.
I was one night at our friend, Doct'r Johnson's, on my return. Found the family as usual. Much inquiring about you. Sally says she intends paying you a visit some time in the Fall. They have been very unhappy with the insults of the Common people, but the Doct'r has at last taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, and people of all ranks seem pleased with it. I presume if he acts with decision he will soon be in great favor, and indeed is a most amiable member of society.
Have you seen Maj’r Harnage since I left you? I am sorry I had not time to tell him before I left Boston. Should you see him, present my compliments.
Mr. Riley sets off this day. By him I intend writing your better half and our Sister Abby, which obliges me to be short with this. Indeed, had I more time I should not have to add but that I am sincerely and affectionately your Friend and Br., Mrs. Barrell.
SAM'L B. WEBB.
WETHERSFIELD, Dec. 11,
1779. MY DEAR BROTHER:-After an absence of near six weeks, a long journey, much trouble and expense to the tune of £700 Law. m'y, I am again at the old mansion almost worn out with riding. For my pains I have obtained liberty to continue out on Parole; no exchange altho' I have offered two Lieut. Colonels and a Major out of the Corunna Certificate. It seems determined that I am to remain in this very unhappy situation, and which way to turn or what to do I know not.
Looking over your letters to my brother during my absence I find you frequently mention the settling our accounts with the agents of the Washington and Gates. When at home scarcely a day passed but I pressed them to let me know the state of accounts ; as often they promised but none has yet appeared. The fact is these new made gentry know not how to dispatch business were they ever so much disposed. Neither of them could make out their accounts to be understood. However, I have pressed them so hard they have at length hired a man who is preparing their books for a settlement. They shall have no peace till it's done, after which if nothing happens you will be troubled a few days with my company in Boston. I am happy and congratulate you and Sally on the addition to your family. You ought to be thankful as the times are that there were not two or three.
The powder condemned. My first essay in the speculating line. Ill luck seems to stick close to me. One satisfaction is, I did not dip so deep as some others.
Jos. Barrell, Esq.
WORCESTER, Monday Evening,
Jan'y 24, 1780. MY DEAR BR.:-We arrived here about six this evening from Łearned's at Watertown, we lodged last night, occasioned by our horses falling into Cambridge River, the particulars of which no doubt you are acquainted with as Erskine and Livingston were both with us.
I think it fortunate I saved my horses. The extreme cold has made this day's ride very disagreeable. The roads some part of the way are tolerable, others wretched indeed. My horses were worried more than the whole jaunt down. However I intend being at Wethersfield by Thursday noon, perhaps sooner.
The happy hours we have pass'd at your house made us all dull at parting. We feel sensibly your great attention while in town, and wish by more than words to convince you how ready we shall be on all occasions to acknowledge your goodness.
My hurry made me forget to send to the whitesmith for that instrument he made; the scoundrel promised to send it up. Ihowever as it is a matter of much importance I must beg you will get it and forward it carefully bound up by the first conveyance. The price is four hard dollars which I'll forward you the first opportunity. Let me beg you not to forget it.
I could wish Mr. Otis to enclose me the keys of the Canteen in a letter, as it may not be safe to have them come together.
Jack and I have been complaining the whole day and but now have found the cause. Being so accustomed to drink a large proportion of wine every afternoon, it's become absolutely necessary we should break off by degrees, otherwise a weakness of the nerves, a headache, and a number of &c.'s, &c.'s, &c.'s will follow, therefore we have ordered Otis' cork drawn.
Well, half an hour is gone and in that time three bumpers each-our nervous complaint quite gone, even without the inward or outward application of a drop of Gin. Our toast was to Otis, to whom we are indebted for the Good Creature ; another to our Boston friends in general, and the third to one of the dear little girls which nearly stole my heart. Who is it but the lady with whom you and I drank tea, and heard an enchanting tune on the harpsichord accompanied with the voice. The idea alone makes my heart bound and go Pitta, Patta—the song was not unlike The Knife. Oh, Barrell, if you see that dear little girl, at least kiss her once in my name, and say for me all that your lively imagination could suppose I should say for myself was I present. Faith, I think it a fortunate circumstance I left town so soon. Come, Jack, fill the other Bumper and give us a lady-Five to one, the Rope walk. Well, upon my word, I've won the bet; but Jack swears he's not in earnest. Well, my friend, by this time I fancy you'll be tired of my tattle.
Kiss [rest of letter torn off.] Jos. Barrell, Esq.
DEAR BARRELL :--Your letter of the 6th instant is with me, and we have since been waiting a private conveyance to write you particularly, which has not yet offered. I write now only to inform you that B. Daur, J. Browne, J. Wright Merrills and myself embark on Thursday next on board the sloop Gates for Newport with a view of seeing the French fleet and army and passing a little time tête a tête with our friends. If you, Joseph Barrell, with half a dozen other clever fellows from Boston, will take it into your heads to meet us there you'll make us happy, and I haven't a doubt you may find some business in the speculating way which will make it worth your while; as I am told there are many goods come out in the fleet. Don't hesitate ; come if possi
ble. We shall stop in at New London, and probably it will be Friday or Saturday before we reach Newport.
Whether you come or not write me to that place by the post. Remember all single letters to me come post free, therefore never be afraid of writing. My love to Sally, Joe, Hannah, and the circle with and about you. Let me see you at Newport, when you shall see how much and with what friendship
I am your aff. Bro.
SAM'L B. WEBB.
WETHERSFIELD, Sunday, 13th August, 1780. DEAR BARRELL :- I am ashamed that I have not written to you since my return from Newport. However I do not think myself more blameable than you are as two or three of
letters to you remain unanswered. Have you received the one I wrote you from Newport ? I have urged and begged brother Joe to write you the letter you postponed, but he says it will not yet do ; he intends it soon, as we have obtained the largest part of the things. Do, my dear brother, for all our sakes keep this matter in a proper train ; you will hear particularly from my brother on the subject soon.
I have wrote a line to Col. Cary which I'll thank you to send him. I am going to Hartford after Church, and shall leave this to be forwarded by some private hand as it's not worth postage ; that is one reason I have not wrote you more frequently. No such excuse will answer for you as all single letters come to me post free.
From June to September you would have had the plague of Hetty's and my company had it not have been for that damnable affair ; as it now is I am under the necessity of getting off for the southward in about a fortnight, and if Hetty's health will permit I intend she shall accompany me, which I think will be better for her than to go to town this warm season; but tell Sally she must not scold me. I will certainly consent that Hetty should be with her the winter, her company will then be more necessary. I will write both to you and to her before I go. God bless you both and
your little flock. Remember me to my acquaintance, and believe me, very affectionately, yours,
SAM'L B. WEBB. How does my friend Otis ? I haven't heard from him this age. Remember me to him.
North BRANCH, Raritan, 29th October, 1780. DEAR BARRELL :- My friend, Colo. Cary, gives me an opportunity once more to tell you I am in a state of existence. My long silence you must please to attribute to unavoidable causes ; for be assured I have no friend whose good opinion and friendship I more ardently desire than yours. It is not customary for me to make professions; my actions must speak for me. My late seeming inattention might induce you to think I had forgot my friend Barrell. This, therefore, I say, I am still your warm friend, S. B. Webb.
The cares of life you know crowd daily and hourly on us mortals.
A late change in my situation will prevent my passing that time with you this winter I had promised myself. For all particulars I must refer you to Col. Cary. However, one of these days I intend to parade myself at your door with more than one Sister, one you are well acquainted with ; I hope the other will prove equally agreeable. Sally, my Dear Sister, methinks I hear you say I ought to have told you this before my leaving Wethersfield Believe me, my Sister, it was a matter I had not fully determined
That, and that only, was the cause of my not writing you on the subject. To Hetty's letter I must refer you. Had I leisure I would write you a separate letter, but Col. and Mrs. Cary are both with us and set off early in the morning for Boston. Politeness as well as Inclination induces me to pay them all attention.
Ere long I hope you will be acquainted with your new Sister, and I flatter myself both you and Mr. Barrell will love her. However, you must remember I am partial. Common fame says she is not unlike Hetty in disposition and manners. This I am sure will not be unpleasing to you. Remember, friend Joe, you are to keep at least One Bottle of "satisfaction” for me. My mouth waters at the idea.