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Nath. Shaler's Letter.
MIDDLETOWN, Nov. 4th, 1775. DEAR SAN. - A long time it is since I have set Pen to paper to write to any of my friends, therefore you'll not think yourself neglected by the omission.
And now, what shall I write you but a sorrowful account of my misfortunes which I may truly say have kept pace with the calamities of my country. Not long since I was bereft of the partner of my wishes, since which, the little representative which she left behind and which seem'd some consolation to me under that irreparable loss, is snatch'd from me, and I am left as it were, alone, to bemoan my hard fate.
You see, my dear Sam, that I am obliged in this early period of my life to drink large draughts of the bitter cup. This may at least serve as a lesson to teach us not to depend too much on anything in this life, since it is but temporary and everything in is attended with much uncertainty. What prospects I had, for what the world calls happiness, you well know. How are they cut off and vanished in a moment from my view. What further misfortunes may fall to my lot, time will disclose whatever they are, or whenever they may come, I hope to have fortitude sufficient to bear up under them as a man, and if I do it as a good one happy for me.
This theme, my dear Sam, although a melancholy one, pleases me to dwell on, and knowing your good-nature, and having a claim to your friendship, I take the greater liberties in laying open to your view the sorrows of my heart: when you and myself used to occupy my little South Chamber, we knew no troubles, all then was smooth, easy and joyous. How is the scene chang'd not only with me, but even with yourself, when we take a retrospective view of former times and compare them with the present. What an odds -where are all our dreams of happiness flown ? Time has slid away, and we have not as yet catch'd the phantom which was pursued. She still eludes our eager grasp ; and plainly tells us, she is not to be possess'd by mortals in this life. Fix, my dear Sam, your views beyond it, and let's no longer trifle in pursuing pleasures, which, when possess’d, lose their delights in the moment of enjoyment.
Write me by the first opportunity. Heaven be your protection.
James Seagrove's Letter.
Phils., 25 Mar., 1780. DEAR WEBB :- I thank you most cordially for your letter of the 20th ulto., as it convinces me that my friend Webb has not entirely forgot there was such a person as Seagrove. I can readily excuse your not answering my two letters while prisoner on Long Island, as it might have been attended with disagreeable consequences to you should the enemy have known it. Believe me, Sam, more of the very disagreeable scenes I have gone through since we parted, has not in the least lessened my esteem for you, and it will ever add to my happiness to hear of your prosperity.
I hope that you are again a true man. I mean that you are exchanged, for if I am to believe report, you are more a captive than ever to that dear sweet girl Miss B—my old acquaintance. Indeed we have it here that you and she are one. I cannot think it or surely you would have mentioned it. In your next pray empower me to contradict or confirm it. The latter will be most agreeable.
As I am a prisoner of war on parole to this State, I cannot promise myself the pleasure of seeing you or the ladies in Jersey, and when the poor devils taken in Charlestown are to be exchanged I know not.
I am sorry to inform you that Baron Steuben left this ten days before I rec'd yours, and is now with the army in N. or S. Carolina, and I cannot find any persons here to settle his affairs, I now inclose the letter you sent for him.
I had few lines from Jos. Webb a few days since which gave me pleasure. Please present my best Respects, Love and Compliments to Mrs. B-Aunt Polly, Miss B—or Mrs. W-C, and Miss Webb, who I understand is with you.
Enken desires his compliments. He sails in a few days for France. Constable is with our army in Virginia. I shall be glad to hear from you,'and when you come this way I expect to see you to talk over the days we have seen.
James Seagrove's Letter.
Phils., 25th March, 1781. DEAR WEBB :- I have receiv'd three of your favours, the last dated the 9th Inst., and am truly ashamed of my indolence in not having wrote you before, but so it is. When a man has not anything to employ him, he contracts those habits which on reflection give him pain, and make him appear inattentive to his friend. Tho more than probable I should have sum'd up resolution to have given you a line before, but the want of anything much agreeable or interesting has in a great measure prevented—and sorry am I to think that at this moment I am equally destitute. News such as it is we have in abundance—but little dependence can be placed in report-certain it is we are on the eve of important events.
Lord Cornwallis & Genil Greene within a few miles of each other, both acting with much caution and their force nearly equal, if any odds Greene has it. Arnold at Portsmouth entrenched with ab’t 1,500, or at most 2,000 men. The French fleet gone there with 1,200 Grenadiers—the Marquis Lafayette 1,500 Lt. Infantry. Gen’l Guest 500 Continentals from Maryl', and ab’t 4,000 Virginians under Mulenberg & Werden—are the force to attack him. Those with the assistance of the shipping I think must do his business. Hope and wish they will attack him without delay, as we have much to fear from the arrival of the British Fleet from Gardiners Bay with the late embarkation of troops from New York. If we are so fortunate as to capture Arnold and push on 2,000 good troops immediately to Greene, Cornwallis must fall, as he is upwards of 300 miles from Charlestown, & 200 from any seaport. His advance into N. Carolina, was in my opinion rash & may prove his ruin. The war between England & Holland no doubt will be in favour of America in general, but individuals feel it very severely. This town has already lost by the capture of Ft. Eustacius not less than half a million pounds hard cash, and I am sorry to say that I contribute to this not less than £2,000 Sterl.
I am afraid I shall be puzzled to get your port wine and beer, but if in town for sale you shall have them & the corks by way of Trenton to go from thence in a wagon which brings up some goods of your neighbor Jno. Shaw who is the bearer. Enclosed you have one of our late prints for you and the lady's amusement. Please present my best regards to Mrs. Webb, Miss Webb, Mr. Banker and Aunt Polly; nothing would give me greater pleasure than to pass a week with you and them, but remember I am bounded by the Delaware.
I am to thank Jos. and you for the care of my mare, as I am totally unhorsed, and the pleasant riding season coming on I shall be obliged if you will send her here to me by first safe hand with what expense you have been at.
Colo. Mayard is at Lancaster forwarding on his regiment to the southward. I know not whether he goes on or not, I should think not as his Reg’t is but small at present.
We are in momentary expectation of interesting news from Greene and the Marquis. God grant it be agreeable.
I wish you health and happiness, and am with expectation of hearing from you by every opp'y.
Your affec't friend,
J. Seagrove's Letter.
PHILADELPHIA, 15 April, 1778. MY DEAR FRIEND :-A few days past I received a letter from a friend in New York, acquainting me of your being a prisoner on parole on Long Island. Be assured, my good friend, this I was distressed to hear, and especially as I have been unfortunately absent, when a person whom I highly respect, and am under numberless obligations to, perhaps stands in need of a friend's assistance to lighten captivity, but on consideration that can scarcely be supposed to be the case with you—for the general good character which you have established, exclusive of extensive acquaintance in New York and Long Island, must make your time pass as agreeably as the situation can permit. I wonder at your not writing me. I heard of a Colo. Webb being taken in the sound, but was informed he was of Stamford. Believe me Dear Sam, I wish to see you, for which purpose I shall pay a visit to New York next month, and in the meantime, should you stand in want of cash, please call on the bearer, Mr. William Constable (Partner of Jno. Porteous & Co., Hanover Square, New York), who will deliver you what you require, and I will reimburse him here. You see I make no ceremony with you and expect none on your part. I have much to say when we meet. We have very late news from England—things seem as if we should have peace in America. I shall expect a line from you as soon as possible, and am,
Your Friend & Humble Serv't,
J. Seagrove's Letter.
SAVANNAH, 11th Dec'r, 1786. DEAR WEBB :—I hope this will meet you returned from the eastward and in good health and spirits. I am happy to inform you that we arrived safe at this town the sixth day from the Wharf at New York, all in health. I find everything agreeable beyond expectations and only want you and a few more of our friends from the northward to make us very happy.
Jack Webb does not yet appear. I am by no means uneasy as to his safety—as the weather has been unfavorable for his getting in. Besides I think it probable he did not sail so soon as he intended. It is unfortunate the people are not here. I am torn to picces by the people here to engage them a preference of our carpenters. I could employ 100 every day. Peace is concluded and firmly settled between the Indians and this State, and we have five of their Chiefs as hostages. Jack of course will immediately go on his land on the River St. Mary's, which I find (since it has been surveyed) is considered as the very best tract in this State-Major Armstrong and myself will accompany him. Mrs. Bard & Mrs. Pendleton are well. The former intends changing her name on