To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        22 January 1800

    My dear

    Yours of the 11th instant I recieved this morning. You notice the mistake I made in mind of the second, & rightly conjectured that I should discover it—This I did within a few moments after I sent it to the [post] office; And long before this time you will see that I remid[i]ed the mistake the next day by sending you ten dollars instead of five—

    The account you give me of the Children is highly pleasing; indeed nothing could be more so—

    Tell George & Lucy how much I want to see them, and hear them sing, & see them dance—As to Henry & Lewis they seem always before my eyes tugging their sleds—while the two little ones [Anner Lewis and Josiah] I am always embracing in imagination—

    I could wish you had not sent my Gown to Boston—because Mrs. [Temperance Hedge] Lee is now here; & because I have no doubt but I shall be at home before I shall want it—It is not at all probable that the Session will continue till hot weather—I believe I shall write to Mr. [Henry] Bass & desire him not to send it on—

    I frequently recieve Letters from Phillips, & write him as often—He appears by his writing to be contented—In all mine to him I urge him to write me often & be be attentive to his business—I wish he wrote a better hand, tho I think he improves—

    I am satisfied with your econemy—I feel a necessity of practising it with rigor myself—

    Tell Lucy I have bought some very pleasing Novels for her & Sally—therefore she must learn to read before I get home, or Sally will get all the pleasure in reading them, & she will have none of it—She must read, sing & dance like a little Angel—and then she will make me love her—

    Your Letter take it altogether is just such a one as I wished for—

    You ask me why in writing your name I retain your maiden name, contrary to common usage? I always thought that women when they become wives, should not drop their original names—tis proper to take that of their Husbands but keep their own—And possibly my old age may contribute a little to this novelty—

    I am my dear most affectionately yours

    [P.S.] I saw Mrs. Lee last evening, she was begining to feel the symptoms of the Small-pox1

    fig. 11. Mrs. Silas Lee (Temperance Hedge Lee), by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin (ca. 1799). Courtesy of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine; gift of Mrs. P.S.J. Talbot. This striking profile portrait of Thatcher’s favorite niece was executed in pencil and black-and-white crayon on paper with pink watercolor wash by the French emigré Saint-Mémin (1770-1852), probably in the same year as her husband’s portrait. Although the artist drew 85 portraits that year, this is one of relatively few that he ever made of women (Ellen G. Miles, Saint-Mémin and the Neoclassical Profile Portrait in America [Washington, D.C., 1994], pp. 98-100).

    fig. 12. The Honorable Silas Lee, by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin (ca. 1799). Courtesy of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine; gift of Mrs. P.S.J. Talbot. Lee’s profile portrait, identical to his wife’s in every technical respect, was drawn during the artist’s first full year in Philadelphia, where the sitter had just begun his sole term in Congress beside Thatcher, his mentor and uncle by marriage.

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