To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    New York City        29 March 1789

    My dear—

    Yours of the 13th. wrote at Dr. [Robert] Southgates and of the 15th. on the day of your return home; & on the 18th. on the day preceeding the sweeten-water Club met at our friend [Jeremiah] Hills, are all before me

    In the first you ask me what I shall say on hearing of your going abroad so much, and whether I shall not call you a Gadder1 sinch you visit so much—I assure you, my dear, that very different feeling than those of censure arise in my mind on hearing you frequently visit our friends in my absence2

    I wish you to make your time, that at best, I am sensible will run heavily, to glide as pleasingly as possible—This is what I do—and to effect it more compleatly, I am never without a book, or my pen in my hands—And there not being a Congress I spend about ten & twelve hours a day in writing & reading—Visiting, walking, riding &c the common diversions and amusements of this City, are tedious to me—I rarely walk twenty rods a day—And as I live not more than two Rods from federal Hall I need not walk unless it be of choice3

    fig. 4. “Federal Hall, Wall Street and Trinity Church, New York, in 1789,” (1879?). Courtesy of the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. This lithograph is based on an engraving by New York artist Cornelius Tiebout (ca. 1773-1832), dated probably 1791-93 but perhaps as late as 1799. The perspective, from the southeast looking west down Wall Street, includes the only contemporary view of the exterior of architect Peter Charles L’Enfant’s addition of a House chamber at the rear of the re-purposed city hall, where the First Federal Congress gathered in March 1789.

    I forgot to tell you in my last that Mr. [Rufus] King has another son4—that mother & child are both fine & well; this may afford pleasure to his & our friends at Biddeford & Dunston,5 if they have not heard of it—

    I am glad you did not tarry at home from friend Hills the evening after you wrote on the eighteenth—And friend Silas [Lee] was kind to you and me in compelling you to go out—This tarrying at home to cry an hour, or two, as you said you wished to do—is very wrong—These dull & gloomy feelings ought never to be indulged by a woman—Their indulgence in a woman is almost as pernicious as drinking drams, chewing tobacco, taking snuff &c in men—the more tis given way to, the stronger & more frequent will be the inclination thereto. Therefore avoid it by all means—And when ever you feel melancholly, instead of giving way to Tears, or even silence, jump up—dance, sing—play with the children—and any thing amusing—But if Dagon [their horse] be at the door, or near by, have him tackled immediately & ride a mile or two—It is of more importance for women to avoid melancholly feelings than they imagine,6 & if indulged, the bad effects are more pernicious than when men are seized by them; tho in either case they are injurious many ways to themselves & their whole families—Gloomy women make gloomy children—And gloomy men always destroy the happiness of his dear wife—But men being called abroad, & more with public matters, than the females they are less likely to be in a situation for those feelings, & less liable to give way to them7

    So much for melancholly—to which let me add—The dispositions & tempers of the whole family servants & all, are liable to be affected & tinctured with the habitual humour of the mistress let it be what it may—If it be gay, lively & good-humoured—you may almost certainly depend upon finding cheerfullness & happiness reign thro’ the whole house &c &c

    I have much in my mind that I want to say respecting the force & effect of education but must omit it this time, & subscribe

    myself ever your most effectionate husband

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    ALS, TFP