To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    New York City        25 September 1788

    My dear Sally

    I am this moment returned from Congress, where I red in the days paper, the last Letters of the unfortunate F.T.A_____1

    The impression they made upon my mind is yet too lively to admit of my attending to Books or any thing else—’Tis likely you will see them in some of the Massachusetts papers before this reaches you, if you have not seen them already, otherwise I would inclose you a paper containing them—They are very affecting, I think—tho’ Mr. [Rufus] King, & some others, speek of them as inconsistent & contradictory—and at most <lined out> only evidential of Lunacy. They had a different [effect] upon me—I dont know the Girl—I never saw her, nor, that I know, ever heard of her before her Tragical death made me acquainted with her name—and her Letters, with some faint traits of her heart & disposition. And tho farewell Letters as well as dying speaches, are generally very apt to engage our affections and mislead the judgment—yet I am inclined to think that she originally possessed a good heart, amiable temper and disposition—but being corrupted by an improper education, and one error brought her into another till she was led to look for safety under concealment. But here she was disappointed; and having experienced undue severety from whence she ought to have found protection and all the mildness of paternal affection, upon a former error; she now saw herself again obnoxious to her offended parents, &, by their imprudence, exposed to public disgrace—Her pride was grate; and her fear of mortifycation overcame the Love of Life, and made the pains of desolution less terrible than the pangs of lost separation—All the people I have heard speak of this Tragedy, excrate Mr _____ M. pity the unfortunate girl, & charge her parents with imprudence.

    I really look upon their imprudence [as] the more immediate cause of their daughters death—You have often heard my sentiments upon such unhappy events; and every one that falls within my knowledge convinces me, more and more, of the great impropriety of every species of anger & severity from those who ought, on such occasions, to be more than fathers and mothers to the guilty innocents, to use the phraise this unfortunate girl applied to herself.

    There are some sentiments in her last Letter that equal any in point of I ever met with as to their power of taking hold the affections of her friends—I was scarcely ever so much affected with any thing of the kind as I am in reading that Letter—

    I wish the whole imagery was out of my mind—it makes me unhappy—and yet I cannot get out of its way—why these Letters were published is mysterious to me—

    I am told, that after she had taken the deadly potions & began to be unwell, she, smiling told her father and mother it was in vain for them to send for a Doctor, for in less than half an hour, she should be beyond all trouble—and then informed them what she had taken—What a moment of misery, for a parent! what pangs of reflection must they feel, if they consider how their imprudence, as well as her crimes, contributed equally to bring on that dredfull scene they must, in a few moments, become the mourning spectators of! I have got to the end of my paper, & am glad, for the subject affects me too much. Adieu my Love, & expect to see me in six or seven weeks.

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    FC, TFP