To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    “In the Capitol,” Washington, D.C.        25 November 1800

    My dear

    The day after I got to this place I wrote, & gave you some account of my journey hither—I was then at a Tavern; the next day I took lodgings at the house of a Mr. Frost who with his wife & an only son moved from Menden in Massachusetts about eighteen months ago; he lives a mile or more direct south of the Capitol1—At the same house is General [Peleg] Wadsworth, Genl Shepard2 & Mr. Read.3 My going there was the dictate of economy more than any other motive—I consider the saving three or four dollars a week to be an object I ought not to neglect.

    The accommodations for Congress are as as well provided as could be expected in a new Country where every thing is brought from a distance—And where slavery has rendered economy & industry almost dishonourable—The Land about this place is not poor; but the people seem, so far as we can judge from appearance, not to understand how to manure & take care of it—It would be impossible to convey to you a just idea of the Country, Buildings & people between Baltimore & this City, a distance of forty five or fifty miles. For more than forty miles I never saw either a School-house, Church or Meeting house—nor do I recollect to have noticed more than two or three new houses, or houses that appear to have been built within eight or ten years—It is a great public Road leading to George-Town; a considerable Settlement at the head of navigation on the Potomac. The Buildings in general are mean, & small—much smaller, & as to all points of convenience far inferior to the little Hut we have lived in for sixteen years past; & I must add I never, in my life, felt more perfectly satisfied with our house & all surrounding circumstances than I do since travling from Philadelphia to this place.4

    I believe three fourths of the houses are what we call Log-houses plastered with clay, & sometimes covered on the top with Thatch or Straw—few of these have more than one room on the ground. They exhibet a total want of taste, elegance or even neatness. No yards in front, & rarely a kitchen garden—a little negro hut, a hovel & a shed make up the group of buildings—No shade Trees or orchards are objects of very little attention—From Baltimore the fields are large, & fences of the worm kind, such as in new England are called Virginia fence, made of nine rails with a top rider—I was surprised to see so high fence as ten rails made, & could not account for it—for I naturally concluded that creatures in the fields would have nothing to induce them to jump out, or those in the Roads much more to get in—for all appeared equally barren—but was told great care was used to keep their horses from Runing away—they being the great object of attention—

    The weather is now cold—the snow which fell on the night of my arrival, is chiefly melted away—The wind has continued to blow from the north west—but probably less severe than it is with you in Maine—

    Last night I expected a little to hear from home; but had no Letter—I hope to hear soon; I have a thousand anxious fears—

    Mrs. [Temperance Hedge] Lee is well, & I believe she will enjoy her time much better than what she apprehended5

    The Presidents House is about a mile and an half south [north] west from the Capitol, which makes it two mile & an half from my Lodgings—I have not yet seen him; this is Levee day but dont think I shall attend6—He enjoys good health—The accounts in the papers of his having been troubled with the fever & ague are altogether false—My present opinion is that this place will be healthy thro the winter & great part, if not the whole, of the Spring.

    Yours. most affectionate

    [P.S.] We have no foreign news—not a word of our Envoys to France—

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    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked.