To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        20 May 1797

    My dear Sally

    I had made so much dependence on hearing from you by the mail of yesterday, that being disappointed creates uneasy alarms that you or the children are either so unwell as not to allow you time to write, or that you cannot let me know your true situation without making me unhappy—I hope you will not fall into the latter weakness, for such it really is—When our friends are sick ’tis the best way not to conceal their danger even from themselves—And why should it be keept from us—If their sickness proves fatal, the event must be known, & by coming unexpected the blow is the more heavy.

    I had a Letter three or four days ago from Mr. [Prentiss] Mellen—they reached Hartford on the tenth of May all well—He left Biddeford about a week after I did, but his Letter is short—and he sais nothing of our dear family—Probably he had not time to call between his return from Portland & his seting of[f] for Hartford—

    If you are all well & in good spirits I shall be content with hearing from you once a week or fortnight—But if any of you are ill—I must hear oftner; because in such cases If I dont hear, I shall always conclude the worst—

    The President has opened Congress by a good firm & independent Speech1—which you will soon read in the Portland papers—And pray be mindfull to see that Philips or George always takes care to bring the papers from the Post-Office & that they are taken care of—I am anxious to hear of Mr. Jordans having opened his school—this will ease you of much trouble with four of the children for a considerable part of the day—

    I cannot yet form a very accurate opinion as to the duration of the present Session; tho I find all the members are set upon doing nothing but what absolute necessity demands. And hence I hope it will not exceed five or six weeks—

    Public affairs do not look very agreeably, nor do I expect they can put on a much better countenance till there shall be peace in Europe—’Tis the war in that part of the world that disturbs our Tranquility in this—

    your affectionate

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    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked; postmarked.