Foote Family Papers, 1790–1799

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Additional Pages of Letters and Papers


"The Royal Family of this place—or a branch of it as they feel themselves," Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Peter Van Gaasbeck, Kingston, New York, 25 October, 1790

Dear Sir... It grieved me that I was absent when your brother arrived yesterday, as it deprived me of his company, he having engaged to dine with the Royal Family of this place—or a branch of it as they feel themselves. About our little journey, the place is so situated, that should we meet with a deep snow, we should encounter great difficulty my Friend, and great danger.—let me hear from you again on the subject of our jaunt into the Western country. With every sentiment of Respect and Esteem, yours. Peter Van Gas Beek.


Letter from John Jacob Astor, New York to "Mr Ebenezer Foote" 10th March, 1791

Dr Sir. I just recd your favor of 25 ulto. It is not in my power to say whether anney Person is gon from this City for Sant Johns for the purpos of purchasing furrs, tho I am prety sure theare is not. Yet thare are Several Persons who frequently Send furrs from theare to this Market —which are in my opinyon no judges of furrs from the quality they Send I have Reason to Supoes South—I should much aprooff of your going thare for that Porpus and make not a Doubt that you and me will agree in the errand as I much have wished for Som Person in whom Confidence could be placed to go theare In my opinion theare is not a doubt but it will answer well, [38] but I think it would be necesry and much better on several accounts to Set out before the Month of May. First I think thare will be an advantage in being early I should supoes in getting the furrs before other buyers, and 2d I am afaraide that furrs Sold high in London this Last Feby, of which the Merchants theare will be informed by the March packet, and if so they will of cores hold theare furrs high. Thearefor if a Person could be theare before that time it would be better. All kinds of furrs are very high, in Partikeler otter and musrat Skins, and wil no Doubt Remaen so all the yeare. Good otter from St. John will bring 6 Dollars here and musrat 1/8 per skin. I shall be glad to here from you agane as soon as posebill with your Determination on this Business. Annexed is price of some Country furrs at Presant,
I Remaen Sir with Much Respect Your Most Obdt Servant J. Jacob Astor.
No 40 Little Dark Street

Price Currant of Furs

Good otter skins...40/
Do Beaver .......... 34/
" red fox ..........10/
Minks ................ 4/6
Martin ............... 3/3
Musrat .............. 1/6

  • I should say the friend referred to in Mr. Wainwright's letter was the one I have, of Mr. Astor. Mr. Wainwright was a solid business man, a well known merchant.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Francis Wainwright, New York City, 21 March 1791

Dear Foote... I hope the return letter of your friend, [39] may be of such a nature as to make it an object for your intended journey to N. Brunswick. Very affectionately yours, Francis Wainwright.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Francis Wainwright, New York City, 2 April, 1791

...In answer to the subject written on, I have still to say, that it is my intention to try my luck in the fur trade, and am very sorry my finances will not admit of agreeing to your friendly wish at this time, but our arrangements are such that we cannot possibly think of it this season. I hope and wish to see you before you set off, that we may have some conversation on the subject. Remember me particularly to Mrs Foote, and believe me your sincere
Francis Wainwright.

  • It looks as if E. had been questing for money to accept of what was probably Mr. Astor's good hard business bargain, and failing to raise the necessary amount, set off by himself again.

"Western Fever" Begins

  • Judge Delamater was a Kingston friend, who died not long after. He was very nice and I wish I knew if they boarded at the "genteel place." There was no Delaware County, but the river was being explored, and the western fever beginning to stir in the veins of the river dwellers.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Jacob Delamater, Middletown 10 June, 1791

My dear Sir. Indisposition deprived me of the happiness of embracing you in Kingston. I left home with the pleasing hope of seeing you, but the pain in my side increasing I was bled the moment I reached Kingston,—it gave me no relief, and the Dr advised me to return home immediately,—I thought myself dangerous—care and attention in my situation was therefore necessary. This will apologize for my not calling upon you in that place. I congratulate you upon your election. I hope you will not engage your quarters for next winter in New York, we must board together,—I shall engage if you please, board for you at Mr. Elsworth's Maiden Lane, No 19.—there is not a Genteeler place in the city, the people are agreeable, kind and affectionate!! I write you this scrawl from the East branch of the Delaware, where I am in company with Oliver and Van Gas Beek, exploring the country for a road into the western territory of this state. I anticipate the pleasure of a line from you.
I am Dear Sir, Yours faithfully and affectionately. J. Delamater

Letter from Eli Foote, New York City, to his brother, Ebenezer, 2 August, 1791 [41]

Dear Brother... Since my absence from home, I have passed my time rather pleasantly than profitably, but money getting was never a business for me, and I am beginning to bear up pretty tolerably without it. Our society on N. Carolina consisted principally of merchants from various quarters, generally polite and well informed. The country contains many sources of wealth which have never been tried or found out by the inhabitants... Your affectionate brother Eli Foote.

  • Brotherly love in the next.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from his brother, Justin, New York 1 September, 1791

Dear Eben. . . Yesterday arrived after a tedious passage of 19 days from Edmenton. On Eli's return in August, I shipt by him in the Juno, a cargo, one half of which I expected would have been used for the payment of my private debts,—on his arrival he found himself under the necessity of making use of all the proceeds for the payment of his own debts, and I find myself a little in the dark, but I have so often been in that state, I am not much depressed. Tell me when Col Deniston's reg't meets and whether I had better come up or not. Unalterably Yours, Justin.

Letter from Justin Foote to his brother, Ebenezer, "N. York Sept 19. 1791"

Dear Eben. I this day sent off the Harlequin for Carolina, and am hourly expecting my small Schooner with Naval stores, when she arrives and is discharged, I shall visit you... Justin. [42]

Alms House Commissions of Home of City & Town of Newburgh, New York, 12 December, 1791

"Mrs. Enos Quimby & 3 children taken charge of by the Poormasters. Signed Ebenezer Foote, Clerk.


Letter to Ebenezer Foote from his brother, Eli Foote, Winton, North Carolina, 7 February, 1792

Dear Eben... I yesterday wrote Daniel Cromwell, respecting some brandy I wished him to engage of Clock Selluck & Co, to be kept on hand till the Juno arrived in New York. Please call on friend Cromwell at Peck Slip, who will show you my letter, and I would rather give 5/ pr gallon, than fail of having it... affectionately. Eli Foote.

  • Instead of the card of admission to the Tammany Society of the day, which is in another book, I include the notice of it from Lossing, vol. 2; p. 247:
"Tradition commonly reports the Indian Chief Tamene, or St. Tammany, was buried near a spring about three miles west of Doyle's, in Bucks County, Penn. "When Col. George Morgan of Princeton visited the Western Indians, by order of Congress, in 1776, he was so beloved for his goodness that the Delawares conferred upon him the name of their venerated chief. He was called by politicians St. Tammany, and established as the patron saint of republican America. Tammany halls were dedicated and on the 1st of May (the festival of the saint) meetings of the Societies formed were held."
This was written in 1852, now 70 years ago, and now in 1924 I am afraid Ebenezer would find a vastly different atmosphere from that of 1792 when he joined the "Columbian Order," which was another of its names. Benjamin Strong, Sec., puts an N.B.: "The Initiation Fee which was when you were admitted Five dollars will be expected previous to your being admitted." [45]

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, Sine nomine, Kingston, New York, 18 February, 1792

Rec'd a letter from Mr Gansevoort, member of the legislature, who informs me that Mr Jay is held up as a Candidate. I have written Mr Gansevoort, let me advise you to consult with him and the others.

  • The next are from Judge Josiah Ogden Hoffman, three within a week, but so related in topic that I put them as one. [46] He was related to Mr. David Colden Murray, as well as to Mr. Murray Hoffman, a descendant, who was at the Murray house a great deal and made one of the many parties which Mrs. Murray (a most delightful woman) led to her box at the opera, to balls, concerts, and everything that was gay, when I was in my girlhood, but had the great happiness to be included when I was stopping at the house. —kaf

Letter from Josiah Ogden Hoffman, New York 20 April 1792

My dear Foote. I send you papers, pray attend to them without delay. The reply of has enraged the Clintonian party, pray make good use of it, everything goes well,—take care of your own county, and spare neither time nor expense. Your friend most truly. Thank you for inquiring for Mrs Hoffman, she is now much better, but is mindful of your at- tentions, and returns to you her best wishes. Do with this hasty scroll as it merits,—and believe me truly and sincerely your friend. . . The election has been a warm one, the city is nearly divided, the District though will not afford Clinton a greater majority than 300. This is far below the expectations of his party. How will Ulster turn out. Pray give me your Candid opinion by the first opportunity, and oblige your sincere friend, Josiah Ogden Hoffman.

  • My grandfather, Charles, was in Judge Hoffman's office in New York a number of years, after his graduation from Union, and in the law school of Judge Van Schaack, until his father's pleas prevailed, and he came back to Delhi to live.

Letter from Jacob Delamater to Ebenezer Foote, date? [47]

Why did you not come with me a few days. Your piece in the Farmer's Register does you credit... I embrace you. Jacob Delamater.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Cadwallader Colden, Coldenham, 30 March, 1792

Dear Sir. Not till yesterday did your kind letter of the 11th come to hand. I now do not wish you to do [48] or say anything more on the subject, I was willing that my name should come up, but I would not have a contested election on my account for any consideration, and I know the other half of me would be very much opposed to it. the only inducement for me to accept would be to remove from peoples minds, the old prejudice you mention which for my Countrys sake, I am sorry to find still exists.
That you may serve your country and preserve your peace of mind, and happiness, is the hope and desire of your sincere friend and Very humble servant. Cadwallader Colden.

  • Cadwallader Colden was the son of the great Tory Governor, Cadwallader the first, who was the builder of Coldenham, where he lived and his descendants after him. Ebenezer and Justin were much younger, but great intimacy prevailed between the houses. It would appear that E. had written that Mr. Colden stand for some office. In a very long letter the latter demurs lest the acts of his Tory father should be brought up against him. We make only a few extracts. —kaf

Robert Troup, New York, Letter to Ebenezer Foote, 9 April, 1792

Sir. It appears to be the wish of Congress that a knowledge of the enclosed should be diffused thro' every part of the State. For this purpose, I take the liberty of requesting you to have the Act posted up in some public place in your Co, upon your return home. The object of the Act, being the relief of a distressed part of our fellow citizens, I am persuaded you will derive great pleasure from your endeavors to serve them. I am Sir, very respectfully, Your humble servant. Robert Troup.

  • Troup was a very well known and respected name in Albany in my girlhood, of which I am sorry I can give no details.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from his brother Justin, New York, 14 September, 1792

Dear Eben. Thank God that at last I find myself in New York after a most tedious passage, in good health, and left Eli well... Justin.

  • Justin speaks of having left Eli well, but he had died on September 9th, 1792, while Justin was at sea. Ebenezer has endorsed the letter he wrote to his wife: "Part of a letter Written by Eli Foote in N. Carolina during his last illness, to his wife, but before he could finish it, his fever raged to such a degree, as deprived him of reason and he died in a few days,—leaving it with other papers, in the care of strangers,—but friends. Ebenezer Foote."

Justin went up to see Eben, and writes of the journey back to New York from Newburgh. September, 1792

Arrived safe and should have had a good passage of about 16 hours, but got on the oyster beds at Tappan. however arrived in 24 hours from Newburgh!! Shall set out for Guilford tomorrow morning if the wind will permit, if I do not sail tomorrow will leave Robert Lennox's due bill enclosed with a line with Mrs. Weaton Justin.



Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Jonathan Hasbrouck Kingston, New York, 18 January, 1794

Dear Sir. It is with the utmost pleasure I hereby acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 10th inst.— not only because I thereby find myself considered as your friend, which it is my earnest wish to continue,—but shall endeavor by every laudable means in my power to merit,—but also on account of the agreeable information it contains, respecting the disposition of the present House of Assembly. Let me hear from you as often as convenient, for every line dropt to me will be gratefully accepted, by Sir, Your friend and Humble servant, Jonathan Hasbrouck.

  • Charles, my grandfather, has been sent over the river to school.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Matthias Hildreth, a teacher, Poughkeepsie 8 February, 1794=== Dear Sir. At your request, I give myself the pleasing task of informing you that your son having been here several weeks, has conducted himself with a degree of propriety not usual in youth of his age (between 8 and 9). His disposition appears soft [49] and agreeable. Master Charles by this presents his love to you.
I am dear Sir, Your obedient servant. Matthias Hildreth.

  • why soft? —kaf
  • Later, Dr. Fowler writes: "Mrs. Foote imbarked for Poughkeepsie, to visit Charles, and on account of the state of the ice in the Hudson cannot get back." A long letter asserting a prior deed to a piece of land Eben thought he owned. Never any ill luck about that Ebenezer doesn't come in for a share. I omit the legal part.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from William Cooper, Cooperstown, 24 November, 1794

I take the field in the spring, but not for Burr, as your Co intends. Yes my name is among the List of Candidates for this District, how it will terminate I know not, and I am happy to tell you that I care not, as I now see Clearly, the federal government will stand alone. This Penn. affair hath been of infinite consequence. A few months ago, I was anxious to go, as well to keep out, as to gratify a sort of itch, for to be doing and saying about things that Perhaps I do not understand as well as—gitting Prior titels to those of my Friends. What think you of I should say not I commend you to the care of the Deity. William Cooper.

  • A letter from Albany says: "Your old friends Spencer and Gilbert are here for Court." "Friends" was quite right at this date, but ten years later Mr. Spencer was calling Heaven to annihilate my ancestor, and ten years later still they were friends again!!!

Rejection of Aaron Burr

  • Aaron Burr, who writes the next, was a personal as well as political friend of Ebenezer's, and should have many letters from him. Only a few are rescued.

Letter from Aaron Burr, Philadelphia to Ebenezer Foote, 10 December, 1794

Dear Sir.
Your very friendly letter of 29 Nov. came to hand two or three days ago. I have brought into Senate, a bill to alter the post road from Wards Bridge to Kingston, so that the mail shall pass through New Windsor and Newburgh, which I have no doubt will soon pass into a law. We have a prospect of a temperate political campaign indeed from present appearances, little will be done. The Bankrupt bill will be talked of and laid aside as heretofore. Mr. Hamilton has formally announced his determination to retire before the close of the Session. Mr. Knox also gives out and I believe with sincerety, that he will retire.
I am Dr Sr your assured friend. Aaron Burr.

  • Ebenezer must have had a difficult task in choosing whom, when so many of his best friends were rival contestants for the same offices, but a majority overturned the fascinator Burr, and his very good friend, the Chancellor, Mr. Jay, was an equally good friend, and the Patroon never wavered till the end, so that I can only hope that Ebenezer was not called upon to do much in this nomination. [51]


Letter from Stephen Van Rensselaer, Albany, New York, "Saturday February 7, 1795"

Dear Sir. I had the pleasure of receiving your letter this morning.—the Clintonians have nominated Yates for Gov. & Floyd for Lt Gov. They have left friend Burr in the lurch, and the Chancellor.—our friends have agreed to support Jay and myself. I am much obliged for your partiality expressed in your letter,—and that of my friends in Ulster. I shall be glad to hear from you on this subject, and will you be so obliging as to inform me whether the Chancellor is a candidate. Your friend Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Letter from Josiah Ogden Hoffman, New York City, 12 February, 1795

Dear Sir... At a very large meeting in this city, Mr. Jay and Mr. Van Rensselaer have been nominated, and they will be supported with great ardor,—our friends from the country all attended, and our decision was the effect of great deliberation. His Mission has proved successful and we, —authorizes to say, he was to leave London during the present month. Judge Yates would have been honorably supported by us, but he declined on the eve of the Election,—Gov. Clinton was his opponent. Mr Jay is now his opponent,—the man whom he three years since, warmly recommended, and he consents when the opposite party bring him forward, to be a candidate. Surely his present decision makes his true political creed. Pray let me hear from you without delay... God bless you. Josiah Ogden Hoffman.

  • Judge Hoffman speaks of the difficulty of choosing. —kaf

Letter from Stephen Van Rensselaer, New York City, 4 March, 1795

Dear Sir. I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 18 ult, [52] on my return from Philadelphia, since which the business of the Election has assumed a different aspect,—the former supporters of Clinton are decidedly in favor of Yates, from whom they will not swerve, consequently Burr is out of the nomination. I observed in Greenleafs paper, there has been a meeting in your county, with all the usual Formalities. In Albany, the party there have publicly declined being on committees to support Yates, among which I recall A.G. Lansing, R. Lusk, Jere V. Rensellaer, & Wendell, the most active. Van Vechten writes me that our majority will be larger than at the late election,—for Jay in the Western district, a like count in the Eastern, and the Southern they allow us 500 majority, but the leaders here claim 1000 so we have nothing but the Middle district, and Columbia to contend with. I therefore hope for the attachment I feel for you and Gasbeek that you will come out boldly.
Pray let me hear from you, your friend S. Van Rensselaer.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Josiah Ogden Hoffman, New York City, 6 March, 1795

Dear Sir. Before this reaches you I can but hope that all our friends have once more rallied around the standard of Mr Jay. Whitbeck writes that Burr by his own consent is out of the question, and exerting his whole strength, to ensure the success of Mr Jay. Everything looks well. Write often and believe me yours J. O. Hoffman.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Cadwallader D. Colden, Poughkeepsie, New York, 17 March, 1795

Dear Sir. As you have frequent intercourse with this place, I have taken the liberty by the enclosed letter and Draft, to direct the Sheriff of Orange to pay into your hands in my acct. £90.4.5. You will do me a great favor if you will receive the money, and transmit it to me by some safe opportunity. In return it will give me great pleasure to render you my services whenever you will favor me with your commands.
I am Sir with esteem, Yours, Cadwallader D. Colden.

  • Cadwallader Colden has been writing an article for the paper which he asks Ebenezer to criticize. He adds: "I wish you would have my Herald sent with [53] yours, I have had only three this winter." He asks Ebenezer to get something else, "Excuse all this trouble, From your friend Cadwallader Colden." Cadwallader David Colden, was grandson of Governor Colden. A lawyer of repute, mayor of New York, etc.

The Eighteenth Century



Letter from Justin Foote to his brother Ebenezer, late 1790s

Eben Foote
At Eleven O'Clock the hog[shead] Rum was loaded after Seeing it well Bound I Left [Biles?] & told him to drive to [Barney?] & I woud have a line wrote for him About 2 OClock being uneasy about the Rum I went to look for Isaac, by Enquiring I found He was Drunk & had lost his Team. After further Enquiring and Running 2 or 3 Miles I found his Team which I Drove to Barneys & Got him then I thought it not Best to trust himself with the Rum till he got Sober so put up his Team After this trial if you Ever Trust A D__d Drunkard to [___] what has happened If your Rum Comes safe to hand I shall Be Glad - - - Yours Justin Foote ~

Saturday Night Accnt of Below

  • Purchased "from an estate of letters and stamps," Postmaster1985, Carleton, Massachusetts, ebay item: 352394061031, July, 2018.


Peter Van Gaasbeck, Kingston, New York, Letter from Ebenezer Foote, Newburg, New York, [March?] 1795

I send you inclosed my last Will and Testament in favor of C.F. you will discover undoubtedly that it wants many Corrections Additions and amendments All which I submit to the Judgement and Care of yourself, Brother Conrad and Addison — Particularly I Expect Brother Conrad will attend to it and ad the Codicil. Also strike out every thing which he thinks proper and put it to the press as soon as Shall be Judged prudent. I wish you to have it Printed with Larger Type than my other and about twenty hand Bills Sent to me when done — I wish you also to write me your opinion of it & send that with the Last paper by the Bearer — I began Last night at Candle Lighting and finished by about two oClock. I have only Looked over the Last page — if I may Judge of the whole from the Mistakes made in that Bro Conrad will have a Devil of a Job to make the Corrections Necessary — he must mind and Strike out all Sentences which will Enable them to take the Law of me and put me to Damages. unless you and he will agree to pay it for I Cannot afford any. Tell him and Addison they Both Aught and must wright write and Remark on that Business. there never was a Clearer Case but my head is too thick and full of other things to permit me to point it out so Clear and Strikeingly as it aught to be done — They & you will See that I have left it for them to make both begining and Ending to my Scrawl — Well Dam you all I have got three Good Shiping houses which you must buy of me and allow at Least twenty pounds pr head. you may then make any Body Els allow you [end of p. one of the letter]

"I believe the very mention of the name—Belview—has nearly frighted many to the grave," John P. Barney, New York City, letter to his brother-in-law, Ebenezer Foote, Newburgh, New York, 19 September, 1795

Dear Sir, Saturday afternoon,
I was just informed of Mr. T. Watson's Death.—
A Mr. Swartout just opposite the Door in Waterstreet is now at the Point of Death—three others close in our vicinity are likewise very Sick—and I begin strongly to suspect another house close by at the Corner where I have to turn to go from the house to the Store, for they are very much shut in, and no business is done there as usual. 'Tis a fact that the Citizens very assiduously conceal their sick (many of them). The apprehension of being carried to Belview has in it all the horrors of terrific Death staring them in the face. I believe the very mention of the name—Belview—has nearly frighted many to the grave.
It is certainnly a very solemn time, and bespeaks every wise Man's attention.
My Father just coming in sais, that the Mr. Watson I mentioned is a relative of James Watson who works in his house—so that Mr. J. Watson is not dead.
The Sick are many, & Panic REIGNS

  • Holograph letter, unsigned. Relates how the yellow fever epidemic has affected neighbors and acquaintances. Reports that many conceal their illness for fear of being carried to and dying in Bellevue Hospital. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, Perkins Library, mss.

Letter from Ebenezer Foote, Newburgh, New York, to Peter Van Gaasbeck, 18 March, 1795

NuBurgh, March 18th, 1795
My Dear fellow
I have Reciev:d yours p[f]r Bro John it partakes of those friendly Sentiments which

Letter from Aaron Burr, New York City to Ebenezer Foote, 30 March 1795

Dear Sir. I have written to the committee of Kingston, declining to be a candidate at the ensuing Election, which you also will be pleased to consider as my determination on that subject. I reserve till I have the pleasure to see you, in person, a review of the manoeuvres and intrigues which have taken place. Accept my thanks for this new instance of your friendship and attachment, which has been particularly flattering to me, and of which I shall retain a lasting recollection.

I am with much esteem, your assured friend. Aaron Burr.


Mostly Family Matters

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, from his brother Justin, Newburgh, New York, 11 January, 1796.

My dear fellow. Arrived here after a pleasant voyage of 28 hours!!!! from New York. Found all the family well... Justin.

  • The account spoken of above has come to light. Ebenezer, as postmaster at Newburgh, sends in his account to the General Post Office for the three months, July 16 to Oct. 16, the total footing up, $9.87 1/2. Fancy in these days—

"I am very busy being Chairman of a Committee who are to examine into the conduct of the Mayor." Letter to Peter Van Gaasbeck, New York City, from Ebenezer Foote, 20 January, 1796

My dear Sir... Yours have come to hand by Morris, and shall be perfectly and punctually attended to. You may rest assured that the business shall be attended to in the manner you wish. It affords me pleasure to have it in my power to oblige one whom I have long regarded as a friend. I am at present very busy being Chairman of a Committee who are to examine into the conduct of the Mayor.
God bless you E. Foote.

  • The mayor at this time was the most respected Richard Varick, and although I have several allusions to the matter, I cannot entirely find out what it is all about. Mr. Varick and Ebenezer had been friends since 1780, when Varick was private secretary to Benedict Arnold at Robinson House, [69] near Crompond, where Captain Foote was stationed (see Sept., 1780). I wish very much that I knew all about it. Mr. Varick's cautious letter which follows is endorsed, "From Richard Varick, on Kettletas Business."

"Alderman Furman states that he was insulted and abused at Brooklyn." Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Richard Varick, New York City, 28 January, 1796

Dear Sir. I have avoided all visits or communications with any gentlemen of the committee, since Monday morning,—to prevent a malevolent illiberal scoundrel from involving them in any abuse on my account,—but as I do not precisely recollect to have stated to you, upon what ground the Court adjudged Alderman Furman to be in the execution of his duty, when insulted by Burke O'Grady—I will now mention to you, that they confined themselves to the transaction and insults at the Fly Market Ferry stairs, as testified to the Court and Com., by Alderman Furman. Alderman Furman states that he was insulted and abused at Brooklyn,—that when he came to New York he meant to take no further notice of it than to caution those men from such conduct in the future,— his doing this act which was doing his duty as a good Magistrate, and had a tendency to prevent insult, and consequent Breaches of the peace. I consider the case as parallel to the following. Two men are quarrelling in the street, and about to engage in combat at Fisty Cuffs, or clubs or horse whipping. A Magistrate comes up at the Instant, and orders the Combattents to desist,—and in doing this act, or giving this order, one of the persons insults and assaults him. I ask, will not this be considered an Insult or Assault upon a Magistrate when in the Execution of his office? I could instance a quantity of others, but perhaps trespass on your time and patience, and that of the Committee,[70] for all of whom, I bear too much respect to offend.

I am with esteem, Yours, Richard Varick.

"Our house here is much like a Coffee House, a continual round of the Major's (Ebenezer) friends." Letter from Justin Foote, Newburgh, New York, to his brother Ebenezer, 1 February, 1796

My dear fellow. Yours reed will be forwarded this day to Brown (Justin's partner in N. Carolina). We have had several weeks of fine sleighing, which I have improved, and have danced and flirted with the girls more than usual. Betsy was with us yesterday, [71] and was duly squired through our William St. by your humble servant, on her shopping,—she looked more tempting than usual, but—do you see Sir!! her sister and Aunt John were present, so of course nothing was said, a poor apology you will say,—well better a poor one than none. Our house here is much like a Coffee House, a continual round of the Major's (Ebenezer) friends, and "mighty glad to hear the Major is well," they think the "Major a mighty nice man," and while it lasts, would vote for you to go to Congress or to Heaven. Your situation as Chairman of the Committee, I can easily conceive to be a very disagreeable one, but walk uprightly, don't swerve to favor anyone. Indeed it will require all your caution not to have your character overhauled, but at all times and in all places, while you continue to act squarely, I am at all times and in all places,
Your affec. brother Justin.
P. S. Your Spouse says she will come down by the first boat going.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Peter Gaasbeck, Kingston, New York, 8 February 1796

Dear Fellow. Your favor of the 3d, recd. Please to retract your resolution of not writing again on politics, we are all equally anxious to hear, be watchful,— we all feel for you. Let me know about the lands, what you can get &c. Your sincere friend. Peter Van Gasbeek.

"As to the Mayor and Kettletas, I don't care about them," Letter to Ebenezer Foote from his brother, Justin, Newburgh 14 February, 1796

My dear fellow... Write me how Rum is—and nankeen, and if any Spring ships are in. As to the Mayor and [72] Kettletas, I don't care about them,—your own part in the play,—from information, I am disposed to think well supported. Although I am no politician myself, my decided opinion is that when a man embraces an opinion from a firm conviction of its being right, he should never give it up, without being convinced of his error. I think you did well in having it decided which was to rule, the legislature or the mob. Indeed I should think lightly of you, if you would suffer the partisans on either side to influence your resolves. God be with you. Justin.

“Burr is a Damd Cunning fellow. you know that.” Letter from Ebenezer Foote to Peter Van Gaasbeck, Sunday Feb 14th 1796:

My Dear Sir
I just take hold of my pen to tell you I am alive and Recd yours and the order in favour of [V/Nasntuyl?] — I have not got the Cash from Remsen but all things shall be attended to immediately — my time has been taken up in the Business of the Mayor & it was Decided on Friday the petition was Dismissed. 51– to 10– The abolishon Bill I believe will not make much more Noise. it will hardly be Brot up again if it is will be Last — Our District will have three more Senators at Least if we adopt the [pressent?] plan — if so you must both watch and pray that you may be found with your Lamp trimd and Burning. three members are likely to be added to Ulster County in Assembly — therefore I say unto the Watch — I dined with Burr on friday wee toasted our friend Peter — your land as yet has tempted no one to make an offer — I am Standing by the Sideboard to write this — Fornication is in my mind and unless My Girl comes down I can not tell how to get it out — God Bless you and your Sally — Burr is a Damd Cunning fellow you know that — Love to all friends tell them every one that I mention all their Names to you — if it is a Lie — it will be forgiven — Adieu Bro Peter E. Foote

  • Katherine Adelia Foote transcribes this letter, only partially:
My dear fellow... I have not got the cash from Remsen, but all things shall be attended to immediately. I dined with Burr on Friday. We toasted our friend Peter. Your land has not yet tempted any one. I am standing by the sideboard to write this, Burr is a mighty cunning fellow, you know that... Adieu, E. Foote.

"I am at a Loss to know what your people should have against me particularly on account of that [Kettletas] Business," Letter from Peter Van Gaasbeck Esquire, Merchant, Kingston," from Ebenezer Foote. 13 May, 1796:

I Recvd. [for.?] Dodge a Sort of a Dutch letter without any Date and as was to be Expected I Could understand about one half of it. I however learnt by it that your people are dispossed to [boss?] and [Dam?] me about that Insignificant Kettletas affair. well if they Choose the[y] must Dam on I Cannot help it. this much I am Sure of I did nothing but what is Right — and furthermore any persons who are desposed to Condemn another without a hearing or without knowing what it is fore Cannot be very Good or honest men and Certainly they aught not to find any fault with Either the Mayor or Aldermen for if wee allow all that is Said of them to be sure they did no more than try Condemn and punish without having the Evidence. which your people are doing every day. and Still go on Cen[sur]ing others for doing it. I am at a Loss to know what your people should have against me particularly on account of that Business. unless it is Respecting the [Supprizing] testimony and if they are not Satisfyed with the Unanimous vote of the house that the insinuation was unfounded and Scandalous and that we had discharged our Duty with Integrity &c. I am Sure it will be out of my power to Say or do anything that will Satisfy them. It is and has always been my study and pride to Conduct myself so as to meet the approbation of my friend in Kingston. but if they are not to be Satisfied with me unless I Step aside form the paths of Rectitude and integrity in order to Gratify any Sudden impulse of passion they may happen to feel, I am ...

they and me will Sometimes differ — for although I am a yankee I have some Little Scruples of Conscience about doing things that are Dishonest and Dishonorable and I am not yet so fond of pleas of trust to believe that all measures which may be taken to secure and obtain them are Honest — I have taken pains in this part of the Country to have that business Explained to the people in Such manner that I am very Sure the Majority of those who have uniformly been opposed to me are perfectly Satisfyed on that head — I think Addison ought to make a Statement of the proceeding (now Election is over) and publish them together with the Reasolutions of the House of the Subject, in your newspaper and if the [Country/Gentry] will not be satisfyed with it, let them in Gods name Remain unsatisfied. — I should with the Greatest pleasure Come up immediately and See you (as I want much to Converse with you) But I Cannot leave home at present. I have been so long absent that I must attend to Business. I intend however when the Curent Court Sets to Come and Spend a few days with you. I shall however Expect to see you here before that time. It is Necessary for us to See Each other — you are very diffident about writing to me that no bussines Can be arranged as it aught — by Letter and unless a Different System is adapted in Some Respects our political Fabrick in this Country will Crumble to Dust. a fairer oppertunity to break all Antifederal measures in this and of the Country never presented itself, tan has been this Spring and no advantage has been taken of it — Will God Bless and prosper you. because I believe you are a pretty Clever fellow
Adieu. Ebenezer Foote. Bro. Peter

"I wish you to call on him and tell him that the country people have done drinking rum." Letter from Justin Foote, Newburgh to his brother Ebenezer, 16 February, 1796

My dear E. Yours of the 11th came to hand yesterday, impatient to hear from the South, if any accident has happened to the sloop it will not be in our power to pay Swartwout for his rum. I wish you to call on him and tell him that the country people have done drinking rum. Please call on him and tell him I can send him back all that has not leaked out from his inattention,—the hogshead was stopped only by a small cork, in the head, and leaked out about 6 pounds' worth. The rascally Post has not crossed for four weeks. Our letters and papers are in Fishkill Office. You ought to complain to the Postmaster General—the public is injured, individuals are injured, the office brought into disrepute, and all of us obliged to listen to grumbling. Your three eldest are measly! I have had fun sleighing with the girls. Murray would have wrote, but his negro is sick, and he was called home. John and Dart Davis are disputing with our Toplady (Mrs. Foote) on Predestination,—if he is right, it is decreed from all eternity, whether or not, you will be able to sell the tobacco and tar, [73]—but if the tar will bring 20/ cash,—you had better see if the decree can't be reversed,—for God has decreed that tar should leak like the devil at this season of the year, and it will be as vexatious as trying aldermen.
Good night, God help and deliver you says Justin.

Addressed to Ebenezer Foote, Esquire. At Mrs. Parker's, Wall St. New York April 16 1796

My dear Sir... Whether for the best or not, Time will disclose, but,—our meeting unanimously fixed on you as a candidate, this however you will have been appraised of, together with the General Policy we hope to have pursued.
Your affectionate friend. P.V.G.

New York May 31, 1796

Dear Eben... I have just come in. I went to the Theatre, but it was so full I could not get in, so home I came in the rain. I send papers which will give you news, both true and false. I am sending a Riding chair, have it taken out of the vessel very carefully, and put somewhere out of the rain.
Yours Justin.

Peter van Gaasbeek letter to Ebenezer Foote, March 24, 1796 [74]:

Charles does well and I hope he will become a worthy member of Society.
Affectionately. Peter V. Gaasbeek.

Letter from Solomon L. Sleight, Delhi? to Ebenezer Foote, 25 March, 1796

Dear Sir. You will do me a particular favor by calling on Mr. Fairlie the Clerk of the Supreme Court for a certified Copy of the Rules mentioned in the enclosed Note — and to send them to me by the first opportunity— The Declaration in the Cause of Browne v Cunningham you will also deliver to Mr Fairlie for file, and the other to Mr. Wilkin is being directed to him— Hereof fail not, given under my hand this 25th March, 1796 S.L. Sleight

By the Lord my head is so full of proclamations as the Yankees say, that I hardly know what I am about— I have been writing late last Night & early this morning as such a Devil of a Rate that I an hardly move a joint in any one of my fingers— I shall therefore be brief in what I have to say— to proceed pulpitically— firstly – you are a damnd Scoundrel — Thirdly and lastly you deserve to brot at the Chair of the house to beg the pardon of the people for your Villainous conduct in the Assembly and then to be Sent to Jail & to be confined in the same Room with Kettelas— That would be bad enough I acknowledge— Secondly— you are to tell Mrs. Foote (for I don't mean you shall know it) that Peggy & Harriet and Charles & Frederick, Roxina and Justin and John Barney and Prince and Jude and the black Child and the Cats and the Rats and the Mice and the whole Serape, ay, and Mrs. Wendel I had almost forgot her, and are as hearty as bucks, only they can't jump so high— To be sure we have sometimes meloncholly times of it— John Barney is Still in Love, and turns up the white of his Eyes and sighs so dolefully, it would great your heart if you were to See it— Justin goes on the old way — Damning & scu[l]king— So that between the two, they make us a pretty good Dish
No News, had none—

Justin writes

The children are better, but still confined to the nursery. Mrs. Parker says it will not be in her power to keep more boarders at 6 dollars,—three may be well accommodated at her price, which is now 7 dollars, and she would wish you as a boarder. Citizen Murray is with you I conclude. He said nothing about change while in New York, altho I think there would have been no harm in paying us, as his acct is mostly cash sent. Your aff. Justin.

Pat sends compliments and a yard black velvet.

Ebenezer Foote, letter to Peter Van Gaasbeck, October 7th, 1796

...I wish to know if you will take my Son Charles to board until Spring, I should like him to learn a little of the Dutch language, which he may do by living in a Dutch Family. E. Foote.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, from Cadwallader Colden, Coldenham, New York, 31 October, 1796

Dear Sir. Last night Mr. Tenbroeck of Otsego lodged with me, on his way to New York, when conversation turning upon the choice of Electors, after reading a piece in Greenleafs paper, on that subject, he said he differed from the principle therein held up, that it was his opinion that it was the business of the Legislature to appoint the most Respectable citizens, in the different Districts of the State, as Electors,—whose judgement and integrity might be depended upon. Now to be ranked among such, would be esteemed as a great honour, and give particular satisfaction to
Your sincere friend, and Humble servant, Cadwallader Colden.

Letter from Peter Van Gaasbeek, Kingston, New York, Sunday Nov 6, 1796

My dear fellow. I am I must say disappointed in not receiving [75] a letter from you by yesterdays mail. Jno. and Charles took a six mile walk to Rhinebeck to obtain a letter but not one. By the by I must caution you,—there is no safety in the mail at Kingston. This is a fact, that my letters have been and still are pilfered. Charles has become one of our family, as far as we have gone we agree
Yours sincerely and affectionately. Peter Van Gaasbeek.

"The probability is that Mr. Jefferson will be Vice President." Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Robert Troup, New York, 10 Dec 1796

Dear Sir. I have the satisfaction of informing you that from the returns of the election for President and Vice President, already made known, Mr Adams has a clear number of Seventy, which is a majority of all the votes, we therefore consider his election as President beyond all doubt. The probability is that Mr. Jefferson will be Vice President, several of the Eastern States having declined to support Mr Pinckney, lest he outrun Mr Adams. In Virginia he had but one vote. It was supposed his great strength lay there. He has not a vote to the Eastward of the Delaware. We have lost our election here for representative in Congress. We were compelled from the refusal of several more popular candidates to be held up,—to support Mr Watson, and he appears to have lost so much ground, that we could do nothing with him. Mr. Edward Livingston will doubtless be the member returned. What success have our friends in your quarter had? This will be delivered to you by Mr Thomas Waters,— he has from the earliest infancy of Federalism been decidedly with us, and is in all respects a man of good character. His friends have insisted on his being a candidate for the office of Sheriff of Orange co. I shall do what I can to help him in relation to this object, and I recommend him to your support likewise. When the legislature [76] meets, you will have an opportunity of serving him.
Very respectfully I am Dear Sir. Your Humble servt. Robert Troup.

  • P.S.J. Miller as an elector, was as sound as a roach, and as solid as a rock. I do not know if Mr. Troup belonged to the Albany family of Troup or not. Later Peter begs Eben to get him the loan of two or three thousand pounds, "The aid of that sum would place me so that I could prosecute my business with more rigor and so to much more advantage."

To Peter Van Gaasbeek from Ebenezer Foote, Albany Feb 2d 1797

My Dear Sir. This will be handed you by my wife. I have made all the inquiry in my power to find the one thing needful,—but depend on it,—you may as well try to get men's souls. There is cash to be had in two or three places, but for not less than 6/0 per month,—and I was assured yesterday at dinner with Mr Van Rensselaer, Thomas Morris, Mr Staats and Mr Walsh, that they knew of a person in this town, who did last week, give at the rate of 6/9 per day, for 2000 pounds, and was likewise under obligation to repay the whole in sixty days—thus you will infer that usury is known here as well as in other places. If you have any observations to make Concerning the Western Co (Delaware, which E. was working hard for) let us hear from you as soon as possible. God bless you. I hope your son may inherit all his Fathers virtues.
Adieu I am your friend E. Foote.

Letter from Justin Foote to his brother Ebenezer, Newburgh 7 February, 1797 [77]

My dear fellow. The enclosed letter was written to send by Col. Colden, who had his horses harnessed and in readiness to start last Wed. The day being stormy it was delayed, and in the evening the old gentleman was taken suddenly ill,—he is very low. I went to see him and returned yesterday. My opinion is Cadwalader Colden must die, and that before long. He desired me to inform you he was too weak to attend to any business, indeed he is already hovering on the border of that country from whose bourne no traveller returns. The greater part of the time he is deranged, and unable to converse. The sleighing is gone hence no business doing. Your affectionate brother. Justin Foote.

  • Note. At the New York Historical Rooms, 170 Central Park West, I copied the following facts. "Cadwallader 2nd was the third son of Cadwallader 1st; b. 1722; d. at Coldenham, 1797; aged 75 years." One of Cadwallader's son was Cadwallader David, many of whose letters are copied in this volume. Cadwallader David was born at Coldenham, 1769; died 1834. He was Mayor of New York, 1818 to 1821. Elizabeth or Betsy has already been spoken of, in Justin's letters, and he later goes to her marriage with Robert Murray, of whom Justin also speaks, a family friend.
  • This letter speaks of Betsy (Elizabeth Colden, daughter of Cadwallader, 2nd, of Coldenham, which was eight miles from Newburgh). Justin was so fond of nice girls that he could never choose which he wanted most, but he later goes to Betsy's wedding with Robert Murray, and she probably chose which she liked best. He finally married Marie Evertsen, who may have been "the girl from the East" he speaks of, where she may have been living with a sister who was the wife of John Cotton Smith, Governor of Connecticut, or with another sister, the wife of the Rev. Isaac Lewis of Greenwich, Conn., which would make her the girl from the South. I know not. Would have been in those precious lost letters, without doubt.


Addressed Letter, from the Gaasbeck Collection, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, from Stephen Van Rensselaer, Newburgh, New York, 10 February, 1797

Dear Sir
Mr Justin Foote has lately communicated to me part of the Contents of a Letter written by you to him on a Subject of an interesting nature on which perhaps it is necessary that I should something to remove some suspicions ^but^ may perhaps have arisen in your Mind. I am well aware the Subject is a delicate one, and tho Caution ought to be observed on my part yet Candor seems to be necessary—
When your friendly note by your servant was handed to me, I was then busily engaged in arranging some papers which I was to take with me on the next morning to Orange County— I however resolved tho it was late at Night to write you a Letter which should contain a delicate allusion to the case, but not so pointed as to offend. Accordingly the enclosed was prepared in the presence of Mr. Foote. But in the Hurry of my business the next Morning having been obliged to set off more early than I expected, the Letter was forgotten & not sent— Mr Foote observing that I had not sent the Letter to his House & finding I was gone, wrote himself to you as he afterwards informed me. In your Letter to him he informed me you are desirous of knowing his Author, & perhaps you would wish to know mine. I shall only say at present that my Author is a person who feels the warmest affection for you, that he is a Brother, & that he has spoken to me on the Subject in a manner which will revise him in your esteem if you knew who he is, rather than excite any unfriendliness towards. If however it becomes necessary to have his name & you insist upon it, I do assure you, I shall comply— as I know that he has never made any improper use of what he supposed to be your Case.
I am, Sir with real Regard your’s
Newburgh S V Rensslr

"Cadwallader had the good things of this life, and saw many good days,—but Cadwallader is now food for the worms." Justin Foote, Newburgh, New York, letter to his brother Ebenezer mentioning Col. Colden's funeral, 20 February, 1797

Heigh Ho. Well my dear fellow here I am. I have just returned from paying the last tribute of respect to our old friend Col Colden. He is dead,—he is buried,—his sufferings have [78] been great, but he has borne them with a manly fortitude, and I have great faith that he died as good a man as any of them all. The family are in deep distress. Could I help them I would, but all consolation or condolence loses its effect at such times, so I went and saw him interred, took my leave of the family quietly, and returned home. Is it a consolation or is it not, that the great must die as well as the small. Cadwallader had the good things of this life, and saw many good days,—but Cadwallader is now food for the worms. God conducts us to it in his own good time. Your letter of the 16 met me at Coldenham. I am sorry for your misfortune but cheer up, if you had been burned up, the worms could not have eaten you it is true. Sleight Murray & myself were invited over to a certain damsels for Tea. Very enjoyable.

  • Ebenezer's house, Arbor Hill, had been on fire –kaf

Justin Foote Letter to Ebenezer Foote, "Saturday eleven o'clock"

My dear Sir... Do what bisiness you can without crediting. I believe you will find it to your advantage to come to town in Nov. as I leave for N. Carolina tomorrow. I take 3 or 4 hundred pounds worth of dry goods with me. You note my mention of happiness at the play, and ask who the girl was I took. I have no difficulty in telling you it was Gitty Wynkoop, and that your brother thinks her a very fine girl. I have fixed on Mr Daniel Penfield of Water st [downtown New York City, on the Hudson river] as a friend to whose care I shall direct all letters I send to you from Carolina, and get him to forward me all of yours. I have this day given our friend James Parsons an order on Coleman due from our Nantucket venture.
In haste Justin.

  • "Gitty" Wynkoop was a fine and well known girl in the New York of that day –kaf

The Founding of Delaware County, From Philip J. Schuyler to E. Foote. Rhinebeck 4 March 1797.

My Dear Sir.
Your favor of the 20th has arrived, I only regret that I had not the pleasure of seeing Mr Warers. I am happy to learn that you will probably soon have some deliberations on the subject of the ensuing elections, it is highly necessary that arrangements were forming. On the subject of Senator for the Middle District, it will become the party to act with much caution and discernment. . . .

On this subject it has struck me that should Delaware be annexed to our District that the most proper and the most eligible method of giving it a part in our senatorial representation, would be as you now reside in Ulster, from whence two candidates must on this occasion be taken, that you submit yourself to be in nomination,—first because Ulster will be satisfied in having her full proportion,—secondly should you as you have contemplated, go in to Delaware, it will give them (in case of success) a residing member, and of course, some title to your continuation. Orange has now more than she is entitled to, and at the election succeeding the now ensuing one, the deficiency of Ulster may be satisfied by taking one from Orange, and thus affect a greater equality throughout the District. To offer this suggestion for consideration, and should it meet your concurrence, as we are all alike endeavoring to promote the same views, I hone you will not hesitate to enform me that every proper measure may be pursued. Nothing would give me more pleasure [81] than to see you for an hour upon this and other business. Yours with respect and esteem.
Philip J. Schuyler.

Letter from Solomon Sleight to Ebenezer Foote, Newburgh 6th March 1797.

My dear Sir. It really affords me the greatest pleasure imaginable, to hear that the bill for erecting the new County (Delaware) has passed both Houses. I hope your difficulties are now got over, for I cannot conceive how the Council can prefer any person to you, in the choice of Clerk, if merit and services are to be regarded. [Note: The Clerk was appointed by the Council of Appointment, not elected. –kaf] But I am well convinced, that however much the Governor is disposed to appoint deserving characters to the offices of honour or profit, yet other considerations may weigh with other members of the Council, and how far you will succeed is a matter which I cannot conjecture, but you have my earnest wishes for success. It is utterly out of my power to set off for [82] Albany at present,—the Circuit sits in New York on the 20th, and I have a number of causes to be tried there, some of them of great consequence. . .
Yours Sincerely Solomon Sleight.

  • Ebenezer stood for and won the election for Senator for the Middle District, his tenure of office lasting until after the downfall of the Federals. The office of clerk of the new counties was most important. I have copied and lost several extracts from valuable histories, attesting to this fact. The clerks in the new counties were very carefully chosen, as they were expected to actuate the opinions of the inhabitants toward their special politics, and thus it was a position of great responsibility, and required a man of considerable cleverness. I believe I have said already that Mr. Sleight was an eminent lawyer of his county. —kaf EFtF

Letter from Peter Van Gaasbeek to Ebenezer Foote, Kingston 7 March 1797

My Dear Sir.
I hear that Delaware County has passed!! and that you mean to apply for the Clerk's office. If you wish it I sincerely wish you success. While that is the case, permit me to recommend John Moore of Pata[?] in Colchester, "of the Moore of Stamford." Beg your interest for our John Moore for Sheriff. How stand Money matters. Don't lose sight of that, let me hear by return post. Yours Affectionately. Peter Van Gaasbeek. [received New York, 8th March, 1797? unclear in EFtF ]

Letter from Phillip Schuyler, Rhinebeck, New York, to Ebenezer Foote, March 13, 1797

My Dear Foote. Your last was duly handed me. I thank you for the candor it contains, and the confidence with which it is written. The circumstances you use against your own nomination, without having the least color of reason, are unhappily, such as affect the people uninformed, therefore more easily imposed on. The considerations however would not be sufficient for me to relinquish the impressions suggested in my last, were it not that your own [83] opinion appears adverse to it, and from reasons which do honour to your candour, and disinterestedness. I would still advise you and the residue of your friends not to be frightened by imaginary bugbears. The party at Kingston may, readily,— contrary to your expectations, come in to the measure. If so, would it not be politic, if you and they think proper,—to feel their pulse, here and elsewhere throughout the District. Those illiberal and malicious objections would not avail,— this good effect would however result from your standing. A certain lawyer is said to be a trimmer, and that he has offered himself to the Antis, as a candidate. If this be true, it will go to his exclusion, and excluded he ought to be, from the confidence of every honest and independent politician of any party. I believe Oliver to be firm and constant, his nomination, if it takes place, will,—from what I can learn, be acceptable to Ulster, and I flatter myself to the District at large. Assure him that my little services, and those of my particular friends, shall be contributed with cordiality, and enforced with exertion,—everything on this occasion, must depend on industry, and it ought strenuously to be enforced, too much stress should not be laid on our late success, it may have a bad effect, by giving a confidence of success, which ever abates exertion. How could Hasbrouck carry himself if you determine on him (for he is spoken of)... if he should come in as the new member, and during that year, act in violent opposition, and our opponents afterwards determine to countenance him,—how shall we object... Let me hear from you soon.
Yours with esteem Philip J. Schuyler.

  • Dr. Richard Bailey, an ancestral relative of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, I am told, but I may put it elsewhere. I have been asked to include more of the political letters which are in my possession than I want to do, but even to me this long one from Mr. Schuyler is of interest. Eben was up for both Senator and Clerk, but was never very good at urging his own merits, as the letter shows. —kaf

"I hope to enjoy the pleasures of Domestick ease in my log hut, on the banks of the Delaware, in spite of the malice they, or any such may possess." Letter from Ebenezer Foote to Peter Van Gaasbeck, Albany, New York, 26 March, 1797

Dear Sir. Yours came safe to hand yesterday. I am well aware of all the facts you mention, but cannot help it,—as it will affect my political situation, I think it a matter of no great consequence. I have long foreseen that jealousy and enmity would sooner or later turn many of my pretended friends against me, and of course made my calculations accordingly,—but, thank God, they can accuse me of nothing I need be ashamed of,—I have never yet, been induced, from any motives whatever, to sacrifice my sentiments as they regard public measures,—nor do I intend to do such an act, to gratify C—d, Roggan, or any of their associates. I hope to enjoy the pleasures of Domestick ease in my log hut, on the banks of the Delaware, in spite of the malice they, or any such may possess. Your injunctions shall be carefully attended to, as to disclosing any circumstances I may hear or suspect in that quarter. If your assertions respecting Addison are true, I shall be glad of it, and I wish most sincerely that he would be careful never to give either his enemies or friends cause to suspect his firmness or decision. There is a strong suspicion in the minds of many here, that he has acquiesced in the nomination intended by the anti-federal party,— it is a fact that they have said,—he was to be their man if Cantine resigned his pretensions,— whether they have done this to injure him in the estimation of others, or are really in earnest, I cannot say,—time will discover,—but be it as it may whoever they nominate, in my opinion will [85] be elected. Their measures are much better taken than those of their opponents. The District is so large that it will not be in the power of a second set of men to be held up with equal advantage. I think it will by no means be an enviable situation to be held up as a candidate this year by the Federal party in the District—only as there is more honor in being named by them than by the Jacobins—but by no means the same prospect of success. I wrote you yesterday, and sent it by way of the Flats,—but you are mistaken about General Schuyler sending his son to. I can assure you he knew nothing of his being in Ulster, till since Phil left this town, nor do I think Dutchess will hold up Dewitt,—Cantine will in my opinion be their man. We shall adjourn the third of April. I shall go home and set out for Delaware the last of the month, when it is probable I shall have the honour of seeing you on my way thither. Nothing of importance has lately transpired, only that our good Allies intend to give us a fraternal embrace. Damn them, and God bless you, says Your ould Yankee friend, Ebenezer Foote.

  • The log hut on the Delaware was a figure of speech used to a friend, who would understand. Arbor Hill was [84] begun immediately on Ebenezer's arrival in the spring and moved into the same fall, though it was years before it was entirely finished, as to small details, owing to difficulties of transportation. Ebenezer was elected. —kaf

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Thomas Tillotson, Rhinebeck, New York, 16 April, 1797

Rhinebeck April 16 1797. Dear Sir. The information you had is not well founded, —beside I have always supposed that your standing in society was such as to place you beyond suspicion from any but the narrow and contracted part of it and your independency would make you set those at naught. I am Sir with great respect, yours, &c. Thomas Tillotson.

Justin Foote, New York City, letter to his brother Ebenezer, 18 April 1797 [86]

Dear fellow. Do you know of any saw mill man, or man without a sawmill, or sawmill without a man, who will furnish us. . . boards,. . . payable in anything we can muster. I go at once to get your Saddle bags, and may those bags when on your saddle, always furnish you the needful, is the prayer of your faithful Justin.

Early Days at Arbor Hill

  • It seems probable that E. came out, started the building of the house, stayed for a certain time, and then went back for Mrs. Foote, probably at the end of July. There is a great deal about the goods stolen on the way, but it is full of the atmosphere of the times and I shall risk including the most of it. We have both large and small spoons marked with "E. F. J." (Ebenezer and Jerusha Foote), salt cellars lined with gold, but none with blue glass, now. Abram Van Vechten writes first.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Abraham Van Vechten, Albany 8 August, 1797

Sir. I have reason to suppose that a part, if not the whole of the Trunks and Goods detected, and now in the hands of the Recorder of this City are yours, many of the pieces are marked with the family letter, F, many without marks, Salt cellars Silver lined with blue glass, E. F. J. on side. The trunks 4 in number, were found on board a Sloop at the Dock, and are supposed to be brought here by one Alpheus Vincent—a line to ABRM Oakes, City Superintendent, shall be attended to. There are China Images, Silk gowns, linen both mens and womens, a variety of female clothing, with some shop goods... Abram Van Vechten.

Letter from Jacob Wright to Ebenezer Foote, 9 August, 1797

Dear Sir. On Sunday morning I was called on to view a Book, which was some of Popes works. The Book had your name in it, and found in a trunk of Goods, [88] under Suspicious Circumstances, and at first, was supposed to have been taken out of my House by some evil person (E. had boarded there once) but farther discoveries were made this gave rise to the enclosed letter to you, which I believe was by the direction of the Recorder... Jacob Wright.

  • The enclosure is lost, but Mr. Wright's letter is addressed to Newburgh, and the following one to "Ebenezer Foote, Esquire, Clerk of Delaware County. There was as yet no Delhi. Their old friend writes:

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Solomon Sleight, Newburg 12 August, 1797

Dear Sir. I happened to be at your house when your brother arrived (evidently Justin had accompanied them at least a part of the way) and I was cursedly disappointed in not receiving a letter from you. I cannot however divest myself of the thinking, that if you did not write, you wished to have done so. Your brother will probably tell you how many questions I put to him respecting you and the family. I wish I could get rid of business and duties I have to perform here, and I should infallibly come and live with you.
Adieu my dear friend, I conclude with a wish of Bolinbrokes,— "May you have as few physical ills as the nature of things admits of, and as few moral ones as you desire."
Yours most affectionately and truly. S. Sleight.
Pray make my most affect, respects to Mrs. Foote, and assure her of my warmest regard and esteem, after your very fatiguing journey.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Thomas Beekman, Albany, New York, 16 August, 1797

Sir. On searching a vessel belonging to Alpheus Vincent, for stolen goods last night I found a Quantity of Receits, accounts, Vouchers, and Letters, which I suppose to be your property,—part of the papers were found in a Tin Canister, an answer will oblige. Your Humble Servant. Thos. Beekman.

  • It would appear from Justin's letter that the contents of the large trunk had been lost, as Justin puts the small trunk in it.

Letter from Justin Foote, Newburgh New York to his brother, Ebenezer, 8 September, 1797

Dear Brother. I wrote you some time since, via Catskill, to [89] ease your and Mrs Footes alarms about your lost goods. I am inclined to believe the most of them will be reclaimed, as I suppose the most of them, in the hands of the Magistrates of Albany and New York. I left Newburgh yesterday, and am thus far on my way to Albany in order to reclaim for you the goods and at the same time see about Lands '1 Militaire." If I cannot reclaim the goods, shall make such arrangements as I think most expedient to secure them where they now are. Justin.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from his brother, Justin, Catskill, New York, 12 September, 1797

My dear Fellow. I wrote you on Friday last from Kingston, and from this place, since when I have been to Albany, and am thus far on my way home. I re- claimed and packed such of your things as could be found, and have put them in the small trunk, together with 4 small books I bought for the children. I then put the small trunk in the large one!!! and secured with cords, it will be brot down here and lodged with Captain Day to forward to you. You are much indebted to Mr Van Vechten [90] and the Wrights, for efforts in securing those I have. Am much concerned to hear you are in ill health, may God restore you. Send list of things in trunk... Justin.

4 silk gowns, 1 chintz ditto, 2 caloco ditto, 4 pr blk hose, 4 yds velvet binding, 4 muslin aprons, 4 prs silk shoes, 1 remnant muslin, 3 womans shirts, 9 yds white ermine, 1 screw!!!, 1 gauze handkerchief, 1 apron ditto, remnant muslin edging, 3 prs white silk gloves, 1 silver salt cellar, 1 silver fruit basket, 3 prs beaver gloves, 1 box containing ribbon, edging, &c., 2 muslin caps, 6 marble images, 1 glass pepper caster, 1 white lutestring cloak, 1 salmon colored ditto, 3 silver salt spoons. Books—1 sporting magazine, 1 Smiths Wealth of Nations, 1 Wycks Practice, 1 Law grammer, 2 Robertsons History, 1 Letters Dr Cachet, 1 Spirit Laws, 2 Paper words, 1... Pindar, I History England, 1 Newmans Frederick, 1 Lees Memoirs, Ream paper, & 4 small books.
  • Eben was never robust after his escape as prisoner via the icy Hudson on that December day. Probably to lose a great part of their treasured goods, homesick in this wilderness, still wondering if it had been wise—it must have been a dismal stage of their new adventures.

Peter Van Gasbeek writes a cheerful letter to Ebenezer Foote. Kingston, New York, 13 Sept. 1797

Dear Sir. I have greater wish to see you than any man I know. I am anxious for your welfare, I know it is impossible for you to know what will be the fate of your enterprise at this period,... but, persevere in the Lord,... with that honest heart I have ever found in you... I intend to see you this winter if I can.
My good wishes to the last. Peter Van Gaasbeck.

Levi Dodge writes [91]:

"God bless you, I am going to see you next winter.

Letter from Solomon Sleight to Ebenezer Foote, Esopus. No date

Dear Sir. Justin has arrived from Albany. I congratulate you on recovering a part of your goods, on their way to Catskill, where you may send for them. It was really providential. A man happened to be up very early in the morning, saw a woman coming up from the river with a bag on her back, he made toward her and receiving no very satisfactory answers to the questions he put to her, seized the bag, opened it and found silk gowns, and other valuable articles, detained them.
Mrs Wright heard of it, going to see, recognized the gowns at once, and the vessel was then searched, and what was there secured. You see a kind Providence still watches over you. May it continue. I lament the loss of you more than I can say.

Foreign news we have little of, except that John Bull is bombarding the Spanish in Cadiz, and that probably the whole fleet of 30 sail will fall into his clutches. It is said there will be a peace, the Plenipis are in sitting at Lisle. The Russians it is reported are going to join the Emperor against France, which if true, will at last tend to curb their insolence, and bring them to terms of common civility.

We will now come to this country. Philadelphia is in miserable plight—the newspapers say that 6 or 8 days ago 84 persons were said to have died in one day from the Yellow Fever. I saw Mr Dewint lately who told me he had seen a letter from Dr. Rush, in which he says that on the day of writing it,—viz. 7 Sept., he knew of 55 persons taken sick on that day,—and that the City was half unpeopled, and the rest going out as fast as they could. Our Capital is very [92] healthy just now. Murray to be married to Elizabeth Colden.
Congratulate Mrs Foote on the recovery of her cloathes, it really would be hard in that country to go without any. You say you have plenty of wood and fine trout, but if you were not there, they would be no temptation to me to venture out there... Your faithful and affec, S. Sleight.

Levi Dodge writes

...If you are only blest with health, your usual Philosophy and animal spirits, will be sufficient to surmount all the difficulties you may meet with in your new enterprise. Justin has been to Albany to get what he could of your goods. A great part of the men of Kingston will be with you next month to arrange your Courts...
Your sincere friend. Levi Dodge.

Justin writes, Newburgh 30 Sept 1797

Dear E. . . . Rejoice to hear you are in tolerable health and to find from the tenor of your letter, that you are not borne down in spirit, but retain a share of the true Ebenezer, you will it in the first gloom. Wish your trunks have arrived. Justin.

Judge Wm. Thompson writes to Ebenezer Foote Esquire. Clerk of Delaware County. Favored by Mr Stockton (Walton). New Antrim 2d October 1797

My Dear Sir. . . . Am hoping to find your account favorable respecting your new Situation when I have the pleasure of seeing you in Albany next winter (Ebenezer going as Senator) [93]. You have my hearty prayers for your success in the conversion of the unbelievers in your quarter. I met this neighbor of yours accidentally, and he waits while I write you.
With real esteem... . Wm. Thompson.

  • In 1797 the County of Delaware was set off, in 1798 the Town of Delhi, but the village was not incorporated until 1821. The first court of the new county was held at the house of Mr. Gideon Frisbee, not the one still standing a little above the village, built in the early 1800's, but a log one in practically the same situation, when Mr. Frisbee came out in the 1780's, where, like many settlers, he kept an inn or tavern as it was generally called, and was a large and commodious building. I copy from Ebenezer's bound clerk's book.

Ebenezer Foote, Clerk of Court Book

At a meeting of the Judges, Assistants, and Justices of the Peace, of the Co. of Delaware— State of New York—holden at the house of Gideon Phrisby Esq in Kortright, in said Co. on the 5th day of October 1797 at 10 o'clock A. M. Present. Joshua H. Brett, 1st Judge. Patrick Lamb William Horton Gabriel North Judges Isaac Hardenburgh Alexander Leal Assistants. Benajah Beardsley Ephraim Barrot Hugh Rose Erastus Root Justices. Resolved.—That the Supervisors of the County above said, be requested to make early application [94] to the Honorable the Legislature, in the next session, praying that a law may be passed empowering the Supervisors of said County of Delaware, to raise a certain sum of money for the purpose of erecting public for the reception and convenience of the Court, and for the confining of prisoners within said Co. That the clerk of said Co. transmit an attested copy of this resolution to the Board of Supervisors with all convenient dispatch. Ebenezer Foote, Clerk. [current location of the book, unknown. 2017. —dff]]

The Court House and Jail were completed in the summer of 1799. Also resolved that, as it appears to us necessary for the convenience of the inhabitants of this County, that there should be an additional term of the Court of Common Pleas, and General Sessions of the Peace, within said Co. to be begun on the first Tuesday of June, and that the Clerk of our said Co. present to the Honorable the Legislature, early in their next session, a memorial representing the necessity of such an additional term, and praying that a law be passed for that purpose and also praying that some legislative provision may be made respecting the monies appropriated by Government, for the use of schools within this state, so that the Co. of Delaware may be benefitted thereby, and that our said Clerk be hereby authorized to subscribe said memorial in behalf of the Court, and to transmit a copy of this resolution therewith. The first Term of our Court seems from the letter following to have been the scene of "ructions" conceived by an outsider with whom Mr. Ten Broeck desires to have it understood he has no interest or connection.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Peter Ten Broeck, Kingston 12 October 1797

Dear Sir.
I saw a letter you wrote Elmendorf relative to [95] the behavior of Nathan June, at the Court at Delaware. I am sorrow that his conduct should be supposed by gentlemen, to have been instigated by us. I believe his conduct among you is well known generally, and I suppose ours is,—that man must be either ignorant, or wickedly inclined, who can suppose that Mr Elmendorf would encourage such unexampled impudence. The fact is that June in our company,—but not at our desire,—it is true we paid his bail to Frisby, but with reluctance,—however the whole thing is a farce, and the Lord send you more agreeable company at your next court. With sentiments of esteem.
Your friend Peter Ten Broeck.

  • Very worthy men, for the most part, composed this first Court, and I suspect an indignation meeting had been held and Ebenezer chosen to inform Kingston that Delaware County expected to be treated in a manner becoming its dignity. Both Mr. Ten Broeck and Mr. Elmendorf were personal friends of Ebenezer's. Dr. Fowler was the family doctor. One wonders at all the friends who want to come and be near Ebenezer.

Newburgh November 1797

My Dear Friend ... I sympathize with you in all your cares, and hope the pleasing prospects before you, will compensate for the toils of the present. Time has not passed so agreeably with me since your departure, if I can find a purchaser for my place, I desire to take up my residence near you, when we might spend some time in social converse. . . . Your affectionate friend and Humble servt David Fowlee.

  • Elias Butler I have found with infinite pains, [96] was the descendant of an Irish gentleman who settled in Connecticut, but when the acquaintance began I cannot tell, only from letters I have I know that Ebenezer's family stopped at his house on their first coming out, and presumably, from the same source, until the house was ready to give them a shelter. The wall was built and is still there, as well as the same door. Mr. Butler was the first Sheriff of the new county and continued until his death an intimate and esteemed friend. I also like him so well that I regret Walton seems to have forgotten him.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Elias Butler, Walton, New York, 9 November, 1797

Respected Friend. I am informed that last Sunday, in attempting to come out of your West door, your foot slipped and being nothing for you to hold by, you slipt down that steep bank into the river, and got a severe ducking. I confess I was not much surprised at the information,—from the time I saw where you had set your house, my mind has foreboded such an event. I warned in season, of the fatal consequences that might attend your laying a foundation at the very brink of a frightful precipice,—you slighted my advice, and it should seem as if the Almighty has begun to punish your temerity. I advise you to build a high wall at the foot, if you can find anyone willing to risk his life to do it. I will end by saying that there is none that loves and esteems you better than I do. There is something in that Phiz of yours that engaged all my softer feelings at our first interview, and a further acquaintance has only strengthened the agreeable impression.

I am dear Friend Your Humble servt Elias Butler.
  • [97] As the trunks were found in late August, it must have been most discouraging not to have received them yet in December. But except by horseback transportation was a matter of chance. Robert Murray and Elizabeth Colden are the happy pair.

Newburgh, Dec 1st, 1797

Dear Ebbe... I would gladly send you molasses sugar &c, but there is no way of conveying it to you, I would it were in my power. . . Murray and Betsey are married,—I had the honor of divesting the hand (perhaps taking off the bride's glove for the ring). The family made the party, and cheerfulness reigned in the Halls of Cadwalader. I stayed and enjoyed it until word was sent me from home. When last in New York, I obtained 15 vol. more of your books, some sets complete, some not, but when you will get them God only knows, but they are now in my pious keeping. Your trunks at Catskill were no doubt wrongly described by Day, but I doubt not all will be well in time. Ever Yours Justin.

Henry Caldwell to E. Foote. Newburgh Dec 3d 1797

Dear Foote. . . . Rejoiced to hear the house is up enough to make you comfortable for the winter. ... I dont know about your getting newspapers out there, and send you the latest. French Republic as usual raising the devil. The three Democratic members of the Directory have become the sole Dictators to France. They have announced a conspiracy against the nation, which they say (they don't prove it) that the two Directors, Barthelemy and Carnot, with General Pichegru [98] and about 60 others of the two Councils are concerned. They have accordingly arrested the conspirators, and condemned them to banishment in true French style,—without the formality and trouble of a trial, or even of a hearing—the negotiation for peace of course broken off, and Lord Malmesbury has returned home,—the scoundrels will never rest easy, till they have a rod of iron over their heads, instead of a Liberty cap on.

Sincerely your friend. H. Caldwell.

S. Sleight to Eben, or "Hal." Newburgh Dec 5th 1797

Dear Hal. It would take a week to write all I would like to. How I am to get through the winter I know not. If I could have one good talk with Mrs Foote!!!! Not one farthing have I been able to get out of all of the people who owe you, but still hope. . . . Sleight.

  • I have countless harrowing letters from poor Peter begging Eben to find money for him in his struggle against Fate, but it was useless, and he is dead, insolvent, and leaving a large family in distress. E. is asked for money to help them. One of E.'s friends who has, deservedly, all my sympathy.


From Philip J. Schuyler to E. Foote. Jan. 10, 1798

Dear Foote. Am just informed an opportunity presents it-self to convey a letter to you by a man going in a few minutes to leave town. You have heard of our success as to the Council—and tomorrow, we proceed to the appointment of a Senator to the U. S. in the stead of my 99 Father who has presented his resignation. Your business is in motion, the additional Common Pleas and general Sessions will be admitted, also authority to raise $200. You know my disposition to serve you. I have seen your brother, and can recognize in him the good Qualities of his brother.
Adieu. P. Schuyler.

Albany March 7th 1798

My Dear Sir. Your letter of the 20 ult received with great pleasure, with your recommendation for the office of Sheriff. It will be grateful to you to be informed that aid was not necessary to the appointment—your standing among our friends is too high to harbour a thought that you would interest yourself for anyone not qualified in every respect. R. R. Livingston, Gov. S. Van Rensselaer, Lieut. Gov.


From Philip Schuyler to Eben. Albany, 1798 [100]

. . . . Our foreign affairs are in the same situation as when you left us, our Commissioners not accredited,—we are in a degrading situation, and our rulers passive. I hope the Americans will not be any longer divided, but I fear the faction will not yield to anything but necessity. It is understood here that Ezekiel Gilbert and yourself are to be the candidates,—Horton will bring you the result. Last night our friends had a meeting, Gansevoort in the chair,—to present unanimously Jay, &c. Yours, P.J.S. Jacob Morris of Butternuts

  • (Morris), who had gone there to reside in 1787, was appointed Brigadier General of the newly-organized militia of Otsego County. A descendant of Louis Morris of Morrissania. With other notes, the Cooperstown Library says of him: "He was distinguished for his high culture, sound judgment, courteous manners, and manly bearing." Like Ebenezer he was clerk of his county, which may have been the basis of the subsequent firm friendship arising between the two men, with their similar traits of character. The first letter I have of his follows. [101]

Gen. Jacob Morris to E. Foote. Albany 5th March 1798.

Dear Sir. ... Be assured my friend that under the strongest impressions of your upright intentions, of your regard for the welfare and honour of your new Co., and your sentiments concerning the Na- tional government, so congenial to my own,—your opinions will always have weight with me. Rely on my determination to defer the matters in your quarter until next season, about Military Matters. Yours truly Jacob Morris. "'Jm' G. Staats requests that two deeds may be put on record as soon as convenient." Albany March 21 1798. Dear Foote. The citizens of New York are extremely alarmed over the prospect of war, and are flood- ing us with petitions for protection—indeed our political hemisphere is clouded, and there is no knowing what the French government—our dear Allies—will determine on. The moment must call upon all independent men, and upright citizens to support the country. Bowman calls me to vote for the division Ulster. Adieu. P. J. S. Caleb Benton to E. Foote. Albany April 6th 1798. Dear Sir. From the best information I have been able to collect, Mr John Livingston will be supported as a candidate for Senator at the next election. I hope you will give him all the support in your power. I have reason to think that you will be well supported in Columbia and Dutchess. . . . I am Sir with great esteem Your real friend Caleb Benton.

S. Sleight to E. Foote. Newburgh May 13, 1798 [102]

Dear Friend. ... So much to say to you, and out of three letters directed to you but one usually reaches you. . . . For news. Both parties in Congress unite in reprobating the French, though not with equal warmth, but vigorous measures are pursuing to put the country in a state of defence. I ap- prehend Government entertains serious fears of a rupture with France. I am told the French officers are all displaced, and Americans appointed in their stead. The French officers at West Point are dismissed, and Rochefontaine is now at Newburgh, and has hired one of Walsh's houses. Addresses are coming in from all quar- ters, and are written in a style which does hon- our to the American character. I am provoked that with the ordinary conveyance, I cannot com- mit to paper what I most want to say. Say to Mrs Foote everything a grateful and affectionate heart is supposed to feel. I am constantly at work in my office, and can scarcely get enough to pay my debts. Yours affectionately and truly S. Sleight.

Justin to E. Newburgh 7th June 1798.

... As I was setting off for New York, Mr 6., and Mr C Verplanck were about setting off to pay you a visit. I am informed they did not get off on the 25th. As for myself here I sit in this large house "solus," half an invalid for the last ten days with a slow fever. Money is all the cry, and difficult to command. If we have a war, my Southern concerns must be settled, and to my disadvantage. Health and felicity to you all from Justin.

From S. Sleight to E. F. Newburgh 31 July 1798 [103]

Dear Hal. You will have heard that your old friend General Washington has accepted the command of the armies, and Hamilton is appointed Inspector General with the rank of Major General, but I suspect we shall not have much occasion for their services for a. while, as we are told a most power- ful combination is formed in Europe against France, consisting of Russia, Prussia, Germany, Portugal and England. If this be true, and I think it is probable enough, considering the in- sults and outrages committed against these Pow- ers, and the necessity they appear to be under of preventing these revolutionary principles from possessing their own subjects,—our French friends will have enough to do at home, without provoking further animosity abroad. I am afraid you will find a turbulent set at Albany. Excuse my bad paper, there is not a sheet of good paper to be had in town, and I am writing with my last pen, and I havent had 3 quills in three months, and there are no other than common ones to be had here. Affectionately S. Sleight. I have been told that Gen. Jacob Morton was an ancestor of Gov. Levi Morton, but of this I am not sure. He is sometimes called Gen., in other letters, but from them all we gather that he was a patriot, and a cultured gentleman. New York August 22d 1798. My dear Sir. Your obliging favor Came while I was away in the country with my little folks for a few days. I feel much obliged by your attention, and would thank you to communicate with me in this way, [104] during the session, we are all anxious to know what is going forward,—and from our representatives we can have no expectations as they are not of the Household of Faith. It is a time as you say, when every genuine American, every friend to the real independence of our country, should speak out, and hold that language, which traitors and disorganizers like not to hear. The time has really come in which we have as much cause to rally for the support of our Independence, as in 1776, we had to procure it. A detestable faction has been created by French intrigues in the bosom of our country, who like Judas would betray their God, for the gratification of their base resentments. They are however but few in number, and that party is daily losing its weight, from the conviction of many honest but misinformed men, who had been led to associate with them. I am happy to see that the expectations of that party have been disappointed with respect to our Legislature. Your answer to the Governor, and the appointment of Mr Watson, prove that the ballance of Federalism is preponderant. There is an account here, but not much credited, that of the Toulon fleet having taken refuge in Corsica. This, if true, will close the ridiculous parade of the English invasion. Many have supposed that this fleet with the Philosophers on board, were intended for this country.- For my own part, I can scarcely be- lieve possible that they should be so infatuated as to attempt an invasion of this country. Their partizans here must have deceived them most grossly, if they could have represented to them that they would in that event have received any material support from the citizens of this country. None but a few abandoned Villains would have been found to range themselves under a foreign banner against their native land. This belief however, should not relax our measures of [105] defence, every good citizen should eagerly the present enthusiasm of the people, and help forward measures for placing our country in a state which may defy Foreign aggression. The hour of danger is the only time in which our countrymen will be brought to act, the moment of Peace will again bring forward our former supineness and ideas of security. It is therefore your duties to push forward every measure for fortifying our harbor, preparing an Arsenal, &c. The money expended will ultimately be returned to us by the U. S.—and if not, it is disposed of in the best possible way.
I have only room to say, I am with great esteem, Yours Jacob Morton.

From Justin. Newburgh August 23 1798.

Dear E. Things here much the same, I am at the Castle alone still. The thirst here for Poles to declare the infatuation of the people has not yet subsided, —they are daily raising them, some are cut down, and prosecutions begun for damages. . . . Justin.

From Abram TenBroeck of Otsego

"Ebenezer Foote, Esq., Delhi on Delaware." The first time. And sent by hand of Chancellor Kent, who was a frequent visitor at Arbor Hill, and may have gone there to attend the Court. Dear Sir. I troubled you with a letter at Albany almost from necessity, hope no difficulty in particular [106] will arise. If there does, please to act as you would for yourself,
. . . With much respect and esteem. Yours Abram Ten Broeck.

  • Mr. Ten Broeck was a well known and able lawyer of his day. It is a long letter, on Land Office business, its greatest interest the address. The allusion to "Gentry" in the next, means that Arbor Hill was the rendezvous of the higher officers of the Court when coming out to this "wilderness," of the great patent owners who came to see about their lands, and of other agreeable men, political and otherwise, who made business in the new county. Mrs. Foote must have had all of the executive ability we have heard of, to have entertained suitably the constant stream of guests with the trials over getting supplies delivered in good order, if at all. The Mistress was sure of service as long as slaves were to be had, and in that lonely land men of culture and refinement were worth much trouble and anxiety.

From S. Sleight. Kingston 18th Sept. 1798

Dear Sir. Hearing of an opportunity to send you a line I cannot refrain from doing so. Am here attending the Circuit. Only news from Newburgh is that David Colden is dead, farther news you will get from the gen- tlemen who will attend your Circuit. The news of the "sickness" in New York, most distressing, and from Philadelphia dreadful!!!! Hoped to have had a letter from Albany as at home you will be so much employed in entertain- ing the "Gentry" as to leave you little time for anything else. Yours S. Sleight. From Daniel Hale, Secretary of State. This [107] is the first of a long correspondence. Mr. Hale I believe to have been of the famous Maine family, but I have not been able thus far to get data.

Albany 28th Sept 1798

Sir. His Excellency the Governor, has directed a number of Copies of the "Correspondence of the American Envoys to the French 'Republic'" lodged in this office for distribution and I have taken the liberty to address twenty of them to you. Will you be pleased to have them put in the hands of such persons as will be most likely to give the sentiments contained in them a general circulation. Clergymen of Federal principles may not be improper ones to be supplied.

  • Clergymen of any description were not abundant near Delhi in 1798.

From nice Elias Butler with the usual wail for ready money. Walton 10th October 1798

Dear Friend. Your letters to the Directory I forwarded immediately. Billy (another very nice man, a cousin of Erastus, but different) will call on you on his way to Hudson. Please let him have what money you can spare, and I will replace it as soon as possible. Hope it will not be less than eight dollars, as disappointment in collecting renders that sum absolutely necessary.

With the highest esteem of your friend Elias Butler.
  • In Lossing's History of the United States I find the following: "During 1797 France continued to insult our country—an extraordinary congress was convened on 15th May, and three Envoys were appointed to proceed to France and adjust all difficulties.[108] They were refused an audience (in October) unless they should first pay a large sum of money into the French Treasury. The demand was indignantly refused and the two Federalist envoys were ordered out of the country, while Mr Gerry who was a Republican was allowed to remain. In the next letter we find that Mr. Gerry has returned. From Judge Thompson. Albany 11th October 1798. Dear Sir. Your ill natured and abusive letter I duly rec'd, and I find it has such an effect on my nerves, that T should not have attempted have attempted writing had not your requisitions been fully complied with yesterday, in Council . . . and I hope we shall hear no more abuse, or you will be left to the mercy of Robespierre, from which fate you will pray, "Good Lord deliver us." You will find by the paper that Mr Gerry has returned, and by his last note to Talleyrand, the intrigue and villainy of the Directory appear truly conspicuous, and I hope will have a good effect in convincing our Frenchmen, that no reliance is to be placed on their pretended insidious professions of friendship. The commissions for the Field officers of the second Regiment are made out, and I hope will prove satisfactory. I set out tomorrow morning on my return, as the Council have adjourned to meet again 26 Dec., soon after which I promise myself the pleasure of seeing you in Albany. Till then God bless you.

Make my best respects to Mrs Foote, and rest assured I remain Your affectionate friend and sert Wm. Thompson.

Again from Abram Ten Broeck. [109] Cooperstown Oct 18 1798.

Dear Sir. I recd yours from the hands of Gen. Gansevoort, direct from Cherry Valley. I am much obliged for your attention to this as well as to other business. . . . As for leasing, only you can judge whether its worth while in such a remote part of your county. In haste with much esteem Yours Abram Ten Broeck.

From James Oliver. Marbletown Nov 15 1798

Dear Foote. . . . The French party are very quiet now, but I suppose they are preparing slyly as they always do. My endeavor will be to frustrate them. . . . Tell Mrs Foote and the little girls I long to see them. I am dear Foote yours sincerely James Oliver.

Inception of the Leaseholds


From Gerard Smith Sloan. New Paltz February 12 1799.

Dear Friend. I congratulate you on the honour you have of being chosen to be a Member of the Honorable body of the Council of Appointment—much plea- sure I have in seeing you so successful in spite of all your foes. . . . With perfect esteem I am your undiminished friend, Gerard Smith Sloan.

The agency for leasing the lands in the new counties was an important and much sought after function, requiring strict honesty, as well as in- telligence to avoid the schemes of the land sharpers. The position paid well, and fortunately took only part time, as at this date E. was Senator, in the Council of Appointment, and County Clerk.

The next is endorsed: "Hon. Morgan Lewis." Mr. Lewis was a notable man in the state, held many offices besides that of Governor in 1801, built the mansion at Lake Delaware in 1825, and occasionally lived there, until his death. From letters we see that before 1825 he always stopped at Arbor Hill.

No 89 Cherry St. Staatsburgh 10 March 1799.

Dear Sir. Some family occurrences have prevented my return to Albany as I had intended, therefore send you by Mr Smith, the necessary power of Attor- ney, to enable you to make leases, and a map of the land shall be forwarded as soon as prepared. . . . The manner of signing a lease, to be, "Mor- gan Lewis, by his Attorney Ebenezer Foote." The business of roads I take to be an object of first importance, and am anxious for the comple- tion of the one through my tract, but cannot afford to spend much money on it at one time. (Note: Important man and one of the great land owners, he, it would appear, as well as Ebenezer and others considered to be "well off," was in want of "ready money.") I propose this summer to go as far as One hundred dollars, which should be expended in cutting out the timber merely. If you think proper and can make it answer your purpose, I shall confide to you the disposition of it. When you return home, present my respects to Mrs Foote, and assure her, her polite attentions while at your house, will ever claim the grateful remembrance of her, and your Friend and Servant, Morgan Lewis.

  • Kettletas is an old New York name, but I have never been able to find anything printed about the family, or anything more pertaining to the Fly Market episode, except what is contained in my letters. Mr. Kettletas and my ancestor may have been partners in crime on that occasion, but I am ready to forgive without asking, for having sinned at so delicious a spot as "The Fly Market." Or they may have been bitter enemies then, and made up as is the way of the world, and are concerned together over land, as the letter suggests.

New York March 15 1799

Dear Sir. I entered our claim for lot No 88 Hector. [112] wish to know if you have taken any steps to main- tain your title, being under that Freehold it will be necessary that we coalese, in supporting the title, and prepare for trial. You will please let me hear from you, and if you come to New York, I should be glad to see you, to take proper steps with you for the support of our joint interest and mutual benefit. Yours &c. William Kettletas. (See January 28, 1796.)

From John Kortright, Esq. New York Jan 14 1799

Dear Sir. Being indebted to the State a considerable sum for Quit rent, 1 made arrangements to settle the demand with the Comptroller, as the law clearly points out, that the arrears to the year 1794, shall be receivable in any stock created under the authority of the United States—I of course expected no difficulty on the part of the Comptroller. I was much surprised to find he would not receive this stock, and from the conversation I had with him, am induced to believe, he intends to have that Law repealed this session, which would be doing great injustice to many individuals. I can but hope for your influence to prevent this great act of injustice taking place to many Citizens, who have purchased land subject to Qmt Rent, calculating to pay the arrears as the Law directs. Your friendship in this business will ever oblige Sir, Your Obt, Humble servant, John Kortright. P. S. I shall esteem it a particular favor if you would write when this business comes up, and your opinion as to the result. Direct to me, to the care of Edmund Seaman, Wall Street New York.

[113] Mr. Foote was at this time State Senator and in Albany, and writing home to Arbor Hill to Harriet, his older daughter, and to Margaret or Peg, the younger one. The house now owned by the Hon. John D. Clarke was in a lonely spot, and in March, 1799, probably buried in snowdrifts and when I read the letters after all these years the picture of the great house with its roaring fireplaces (no stoves as yet) and the gracious Mother striving to fit her children for the wider world whence she had come was, and still is, to me a vivid one. Young people of this day may have to be reminded that the dancing of that day consisted of elaborate steps, difficult to conquer, in contrast to those we have today.

Albany March 18 1799. Your very agreeable little letter was handed to me by Judge Leal, my dear Harriet, though I dont like to hear that you are melancholy on ac- count of Charles. You must recollect that it is necessary that he should go from home or he cannot get an education, and it is of the utmost importance that he should get what learning he can, while he is young. You must read and write, and dance for your Mama, and kiss her a great many times for me. I want to see her and you all very much. Good night my child, I am your affection- ate friend, E. Foote. Charles had been sent to Kingston to a board- ing school. Well Madam Peg, I received your little two- penny letter, and am much pleased with it and wish it had been much longer. You ought to write me a long letter telling me all your little play tricks and what you do every day. Do you H [114] learn some lessons by heart, and read and write and help your Mama. You must learn to dance every evening, and kiss your Mama for me every night. I will tell little Miss Ten Broeck what you say, she is a pretty little girl, and took good care of me the other day when I was sick. Good night my little cherub, I love you and am your friend as well as Papa. E. Foote. Delhi

Dec 8 1799. Dear Sir. I have reed yours in which you express a wish for a little money. God knows I should be glad to help you, our treaty, I wish to fulfil in every iota, as far as lies in my power. Your letter is couched in strong friendly and generous terms, and merits my strictest attention,—but what shall I do. You know my situation in pecuniary mat- ters when you was here last. They are not bet- tered. There are about 30 dollars which I have lent and which I cannot obtain. The Sheriff has a great number of Exs of mine which are not yet collected, and when I shall ever receive any more money, requires the spirit of prophecy to foretell. When I shall receive any cash you shall stand foremost on the list of my creditors. I go to Esopus tomorrow, if you wish to write, please to forward your commands by citizen Peter. Yours &c. Erastus Root.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Erastus Root, Sunday 22 December, 1799

Dear Sir. I have reed your letter, and can consciently say that altho' you and I are not very deeply in love with each other, yet I feel for your situation in pecuniary matters. I have been frequently in such a dilemma myself, and can therefore cordially sympathize with you. I have lately reed Duns from other quarters, but I excused myself, [115] —you being put foremost in the list of my creditors. I have a ten dollar bill which is devoted to you. If I can help you further before you go to Albany, I shall cheerfully do it, but I cannot promise positively. Be assured Sir, that I am much pleased at discerning in you a disposition to use me generously in our official capacities. This disposition it shall be my endeavor to reciprocate Yours &c. Erastus Root.

Additional Foote Letters and Papers