To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    New York City        12 August 1788

    5 p.m.

    This Letter, my dear, will scarcely intitle me to your thanks; and I believe you will be of this opinion, when I tell you that I write, at this time, because I am too sleepy to read—In the fore part of the day as I was going to Congress I strolled into a Stationary’s Book-Store, as I am very apt to do when I am in a place where books are to be sold—Here I saw a book on the use and Study of History1—a book of the sort I had for some time very much wanted; I asked the man what the price was, I had not then any real intention of purchasing; And he answered—why, sir, tis very low, I assure you—you shall have it for four shillings & six pence—This I looked upon very cheep indeed—It is an octavo of more than 400 pages—The value of the Book compared to the price put it out of my power to refuse I paid him his 4/6—put the Book in my pocket, & went into Congress—And as it happened there was but little Business before the house; And I began to read my book, and got so engaged, that when I came home, & dined I drank but one very small glass of wine, that I need not feel too heavy to proceed, after dinner, to in reading my book—However, so it is that I have read one short Letter only & am now almost fast asleep—But not so sleepy, as to prevent my writing—

    Thus it is my dear Sally, and now I will leave it to you to say, whether I shall continue my Letter to you, or lay this it aside, as I have done my book, & take a nap—I dont know but it would be as well for me to embrace the latter, for should I continue to write, I must soon strike into a dream—for waking thoughts I have none—

    Do you recollect the account of the death of a young Lady, who died, the week we came through Salem Danvers [Massachusetts] at the Bell Tavern Tavern, in that Town?2 Mr. Scolly3 read the account of her death the morning before we left Boston—I know it interested me very much—& I then determined to make enquiry who she could be, with the particular circumstances of her going from home &c when I should come to Springfield [Massachusetts], and Hartford [Connecticut]—places mentioned in some Letters found among her things after her death—I had the paper with me that contained the account—And on Sunday I read it to my Land Lord4—& asked him if he could trace the Lady—After a moment or two of contemplative enquiry—and my reading again some parts of the account—“Oh dear, said he! it must be ------ The description agrees to her on many accounts—she went from this Town some time in may—she was about this age—the initials, with which her Linnen were marked, agree to her name—yes, it must be she—there were certain reports of her about that time” &c—If it is the person whom he seemed to have good reason to suspect—She was of a very respectable family—her father has been dead some years—she has left an aged mother—two brothers, very likely men—& one or two sisters—She was a very amiable, good young woman—highly accomplished in her manners—lovely & soft in her temper & disposition—her education had been second to few, if any, in that state—Gentlemen of character & fortune would have rejoiced to have called her theirs—but it was said she was unfortunately more fond of another than he of her—& for him she rejected good & honourable offers—In what manner, this led to her untimely death, in a strange Land—far from her friends—far from her dear mother who, I know, would have embraced her most tenderly amidst her misfortunes, if she had been with her, shall be the subject of another Letter—Think, my Love, how exquisitely unhappy that unfortunate young woman must have been in her sickness—And yet by the account of her death, see with what composure of mind & serenity of Temper she died—Her mother ’tis thought supposed her to be at some relations in the Country, on a visit—And the evening I left—the gentleman where I lodged, concerted measures to convey information of this young womans death to her mother & friends—But I came away in the morning before light—& could not hear in what manner they recieved it—or whether my Land Lord was right in his conjectures—Adieu my Love—for the present & be assured I am yours most affectionately

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    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Weston, Mass.; franked.