Foote Family Papers, 1800–1819

From Main Street Museum Catalog Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Letters and Papers of Ebenezer Foote; 1795–1799

Foote Family Papers, 1820–1861

Undated

Justin Foote, business letter, Vessel from Carolina Sunday and yesterday his Cargo was sold The Vessel arrived Safe and very good market with a few hold Tobacoe & About 600lbs Naval Stores the ^Tar/b^ sld a 21/ by the Cargo which is a grateful/gratitude? …I advise you to Sell our Salt if You can without a loss. shall likely write by {yester] ___ Patr. writes me in better Spirits by [Saills?] Isaac left this yesterday. it is Said the Scpimdra;;s om Congress are but the Ears about the Jefferiated Societies in the presidents ___. shall we not Cut throats yet in this Country — the french have given the Austrians a Shaving [in Corsica?,] if it does not [prevent?] our Citizens to exceed all bounds of Moderation God preserve our happy Country from Anarchy & Confusion — is the prayer of your Justin Foote — Wednesday Morning NYorke

1800

Oak Hill, April 15th 1800

Sir. I am sorry we had not the pleasure of seeing you when last at Catskill. Mr Bill has promised to forward these lines to you on the subject of accommodating you with a negro woman which he informs me you are in want of. The one I have to dispose of is twenty one years of age and the reason of parting with her, is her having a young child, and the father of it, not being married to her, and not acting agreeable to me, my wish is to remove her from him. She is perfectly honest and sober, and until now, was very useful to me, but now that there is three in my kitchen under a twelvemonth (three babies? K. F.) I am under the necessity of parting with her. If you are in want of a woman she will answer, being acquainted with all kinds of Country, and house work, and perfectly well disposed. Should be glad of an answer. I gave seventy pounds for her, but to have a good place for her shall not differ about the price.
With esteem and respect, Yours Catherine Livingston.

  • Madam Catherine Livingston, who wrote the next, was the wife of Chancellor Robert Livingston, the great grandfather of the present Lake Delaware Estates, so to speak, and excellent friends of Eben's.

From Mr. Henry Livingston concerning nominations. Poughkeepsie April 16 1800

Dear Sir. . . We hear from Columbia that Jacob Ford and Thomas Broadhead are the gentlemen in nomination by the Federals for Senators. James Oliver by our friends in Ulster, and no doubt but Wm Thompson for Orange, and Mr John Johnson for this co. We do not know who compose your Committee of correspondence,—but we so well know your zeal and information, that we think we cannot do better than to trouble you with this communication. . . . The Federal pulse beats high in this part of the District. Our opponents are as usual exceedingly active, but we hope that the good genius of Federalism will prevail. We are with sentiments of great respect for you, Your obedient Humble servants, Henry Livingston, For Com. of Correspondence.

Letter from William Coleman, New York 26 April, 1800

Dear Sir and Brother. . . Everything favorable, and I believe if you wish to make money easy, you have but to throw to one or twelve of the Federal titles in the election, [117] and so win bet on the other, who disgraces us in my opinion,—but who being on the ticket, must be supported merely because he is there. Shall hear from me again. William Coleman.

  • William Coleman, Esq., well known New York man, and to become on November 16, 1801, the first editor of the Evening Post, started by Alexander Hamilton and other leaders, in the interests of the Federalists. Mr. Coleman was a man of means as well as of broad culture.


I make no doubt that on the strength of so good an authority as Mr. Coleman usually was, my ever optimistic ancestor staked heavily and lost in the great Federal Debacle, which put Mr. Jefferson in the Presidential chair, and which is referred to in many succeeding letters.

From Loring Andrews, who was editor of "Collector and Iconophile" at this time. Another man of culture. Albany May 24 1800:

Dear Sir. Verbal accounts had prepared me for the sombre intelligence contained in yours of the 19th inst. Yes, all is gone to the devil sure enough, and Jacobism "grinning horribly a ghastly smile," erects its triumphant head in our state,— and not only in our state, but I fear in the very sanctum sanctorum of our political temple. The devil appears to have been as completely noised in Philadelphia as in New York,—and that curious mental imbecility, or something worse, which unnerved the arms of federalism when our country apparently stood on such high and respectable ground, both at home and abroad, bids fair to sink us to the lowest depths of degradation and contempt. The dismissal of the inestimable Pickering from office, the man foremost in opposing a bold front to the progress of Jacobism and mad misrule,—excites as far as I can learn, general disgust. I have it from undoubted authority, that his dismissal was owing to the independence of his sentiments, and his firm defence of opinions in [118] which both you and I glory and exult. To what a pass has the conduct of the New England Idol reduced us, but I trust in Heaven all is not yet lost. Mr Van Schaack writes me that he has it from authority not to be questioned,—that a federal President may be chosen by a majority of three, counting the votes of our state (as they will be) dead against the federal cause. I take it how- ever this must depend upon the New England states,—if they will vote unanimously for Pinckney, and for Adams if they please (to save appearances) the former will be elected—which God in his infinite mercy grant for the sake of our country. This moment the mail is open, and nothing new, and—except the accounts from Conn.—nothing interesting. At this period when the blighting mists of Jacobinism pervade the land, and threaten destruction to the fair fabric which the hallowed hands of men good and true have enacted, sacred to American dignity and independence, I go once more to New England, but wherever I am your esteem will be grateful, and reciprocate it will be true pleasure to Yours sincerely Loring Andrews.

  • Several from Abram Van Vechten, etc., in the same vein.

"A few lines from Henry Walton may interest our sister town." Kaf. Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Henry Walton, Ballston, New York, 12th June 1800:

Dear Sir. I had the pleasure of receiving your favour of 19th May, accept of my thanks for your attention to my memorandum, be assured that on a similar occasion you may count on my gratitude. . .
Should you be able to procure further intelligence, I will thank you to communicate it to me. I am Sir with respect, Yours Henry Walton.

From William Pitt Beers, an important politician, and perhaps of Hobart. Albany, 7 August, 1800 [119]:

Dear Sir. . . Captain Smith will deliver you this, he is interested in Clark's 2000 acre tract, and on his return will apply to you for some information relative to the best route from Delhi to Fort Schuyler, which will oblige me. I am dear Sir with great regard Yours Wm. P. Beers.

  • Samuel Sherwood, Esq., spoken of in the following, came shortly after Ebenezer, from the northern part of the State. A little the junior of Ebenezer and one of the very few gentlemen pioneers who came to the county at this early date. He wisely refrained from entering into politics, except when he was elected as our Representative at Washington, in 1814. He became a lawyer of repute, first in the Delhi courts, and later in New York he and his son, John Sherwood, Esq., made the name still more honorable. He built Woodland House, still standing a mile below the village, now inhabited by the daughter of another son, Robert Sherwood, Esq., and who died rather early in life.

New York August 19, 1800

Dear Sir. Your letter of the 7th came to hand yesterday, and I made a point to see Col. Giles on the subject without a moments delay, and found that Mr. Samuel Sherwood had been appointed to take the census in your co., in consequence of your recommendation, should he be disinclined to serve, now, I have no doubt the appointment may be obtained for any other person whom you may recommend [120]. With sincere regard I am your friend and Servant Nicholas Fish.

  • The fact of Ebenezer's losing the office of County Clerk was part of the late victory and is many times alluded to. Gebhard was only the tool of Ambrose Spencer, in Albany, but Ebenezer had begun on him, for attempted insults, and help without price from the brilliant legal light, Abram Van Vechten, is hurriedly offered.

William Beers, Albany, New York, Letter to Ebenezer Foote, 27 August 1800:

Dear Sir
This morning I was favored with yours of the 25th inst. by Sherriff White. I wish it was in my power to contradict the summise —that the Gen. intends to decline a re-election— but it is too probable. I have never exchanged a syllable with him on the subject, but I have it from the best authority that he has given out freely that he will Decline — If something very extraordinary should not occur you will probably hear something of it in his Nov Speech — he is not the man to be privately affected to any great degree with the ingratitude & madness of his Countrymen His personal happiness is a much as anyone's I know proof against any impressions from the murderous enmity of the Jacobins or the secret and perfidious hostility of jealousy or disaffection of selfish mercenary and unprincipled federalists — But he feels for the public honor which is indeed is in a very critical and __safe state, if not in a state of prostration, and which seems to be not better protected by one party than another — His public sympathy may give him some disquiet — His administration has been a corrective & restorative one, and his principles and his discreet feeling have gone far towards a reestablishment of that public & national health which ^had^ imbibed so many corrupt humours and suffered so long a decline under that pampered system of vile traffic in vicious, indulgences which had been maintained till the year 1795. But his manly and inflexible virtue has at length wasted his popularity — Justice cannot long season popular — She cannot long protect herself.

We hear nothing authentic (much less official) from our Envoys in France — It is not improbable that if the French really mean to make a treaty that will conciliate the American Public, they will at least affect delays in order to prevent ther favorable impression that a successful "negotiation" [may have ___] u[on the election of Mr. Adams and in preferense of Mr. Jefferson — For I trust the subject of our internal politics is not yet entirely out of their view —

Opposition to Mr. Adams in behalf of Pinckney seems to increase in Massachusetts. But this opposition inflames his friends, and as it is probably that he will [have] some staunch friends in the body of the electors there, it is to be expected that or rather to be apprehended that Pinckney will not be supported with unanimity —

It is difficult to make a satisfactory calculation as to the result of the ensuing Federal election. Maryland will probably give an entire vote against Jefferson. N. Carolina furnishes no certain Data for our reasoning but appearances are favorable If north Car:a gives a majority & Maryland is [ tine?] and Pennsylvania withholds her vote the case is clear — Jefferson can not suceed — Connecticut has been much calumniated by the attentions and gratutations of Jacobins, but her Strength is yet entire — Opposition there is yet like Burke? noisy and importunate grasshopper compared to the Ox taht treads him down. It will make a noise but it will be trod down.

Shall you not come and see us before November — I should be happy to see you and should on all occasions take pleasure in your correspondence.

Mr. Burr will be supported as Vice President, and if he fails there, reports from New york say he will be brought forward as Candidate for Governor —

I am Dear Sir with very
high esteem & respct yours W M Beers —

Letter from Abram Van Vechten

Should the trial with Gebhard be transferred here, count on my best services without money and without price!!! Burr is to be Vice President, I think he has but a gloomy prospect. In all changes of situation believe me to be Sincerely Yours Abram Van Vechten.

  • Charles, my grandfather, writes from school.

Letter from Charles Foote, Kingston, to his father, Ebenezer, Sept 8th 1800

Revered Father. I arrived at Kingston last eve very well. I found my class a good way advanced, they have already gone through the first volume of Horace, and are now on the 2d, and the Greek Testament, so that I shall have to attend pretty closely to make up for being so late, before I catch up to them.
Johnny Hasbrouck was not there when I went with his saddle... I am cyphering, as far advanced as the rule of three, and hope to finish cyphering this fall... I have had no letter from home and hardly know what to think as Turners wagon should afford an opportunity every fortnight. (Only for a homesick boy. And still later.) I now have a letter from Harriet, in which she says none of my letters sent by Turners wagon have reached you, if so I would better trust to chance. Mr. Levi Dodge will take [121] this one. I am your dutiful son and Humble servant. Charles Foote.

  • A few of many invitations give the year. One endorsed from Gen. Philip Schuyler.
Mr. Schuylers compliments, he entreats the favor of Mr. Foote's company at dinner on Monday next, at three o'clock. Friday January 17 1800.
Mr. Gansevoort requests the Honor of Mr. Footes company to dinner on Thursday next, at 3 o'clock. Whitehall February 21st 1800.
The Governor requests the Honor of Mr. Foote's company at Dinner on Wednesday next, at three o'clock at the Tontine Coffee House. Thursday February 13.

1801

Jefferson elected President

From Secretary Daniel Hale. Albany 3d January 1801

My dear Sir. Your Commissions were got ready for the Attorney Gen. to take down with him, but was detained. He informs me that he should have called on you immediately, but was invited by some one —I think Brockholst Lavingholst,—to dine, and was informed that you were engaged to dine there also, where he expected to meet you and have the pleasure of seeing you, and delivering them, but when he came there, was informed you had left town that day at 12 o'clock. He appeared as much mortified in returning them, as I was in receiving them, but am happy to forward them by the bearer.
The state of our politics,—state as well as general, are in such utter confusion, that it is pain to me to touch upon them. Mr. Adams has nominated Mr. Jay for Chief Justice of the U.S. but Mr. Jay, and likewise Mr. Ellsworth both decline, and strange to say, he has also nominated that arch democrat and disorganizer, Gallatin,—for the office of Sec. of the Treasury,—at least so say the public prints, and there is little cause to doubt it. The votes of Kentucky have arrived, and Jefferson and Burr are said to have an equal number of votes, consequently, the House of Representatives in Congress must decide by states,—a majority of all the states—to determine. This will probably lead to a difficulty not provided for by the Constitution. The democrats in general, appear to be as much mortified at the idea of having Burr for President, as either Adams or Pinckney,—to support Burr and make [123] him President, or to call a new election,—has been wrote by several congressmen in decided terms to their friends in this city. What the event will be, time only can determine.
The Lt. Gov. (Chancellor Livingston) is now in New York, where it will be determined positively whether or not he is to be our candidate. Some of his near connections in this city have lately informed me that it is their opinion he will accept, I also rather believe he will, but it should be done without delay, and circulated immediately. If he consents, I have no doubt he will succeed, provided the federal interests generally do their duty.
Our late convention with France, is said to be very dissatisfactory to Mr. Adams, and that the Senate will not ratify it without some material amendments. I am with warm wishes for your future welfare, Your friend Daniel Hale.

From Hon. John Bird. Washington Jan. 3d 1801

Dear Sir. After receiving your favor, I took the earliest opportunity of seeing the Post M. Gen. I had been in his office but a few minutes, when Mr. Sedgewick happened also to drop in. Everything will be done according to your wishes, unless it be your own appointment, but that appeared the most advisable, as both Mr. Sedgewick and myself were personally acquainted with you, and as the P. M. G. was prepossessed in your behalf. I am very happy in having it in my power to oblige a friend, especially in a good and righteous cause. As the time approaches for electing a Chief to the Republick, our anxiety augments. There is a Union of sentiment among the Fed's in favor of Mr. Burr, but Candour obliges me to declare, my suspicion that a nonelected though an event [124] much to be deprecated, is not unlikely. You also I presume have your troubles in your Council of Appointment, from what I know of Spencer, he is no mean disciple of Robespierre. God be thanked, I am out of the way of his Guillotine or I would not give a sous for my poor head.
Yours with esteem John Bird.

  • The next contains another reference to the prevailing difficulty attending the safe carriage of letters, in the absence of frequent or proper postal service.

From James Bill, Catskill, New York, 12 January 1801

Dear Sir. I have not written, for one reason that I prefer silence to falsehood, and the truth would never reach you by such conveyances as are common from your part of the country. Concerning Politicks, it will be in the power of the Federal party in Congress either to elect Burr or put off the election to another year. See Acts of Congress 2d vol. chap 8... I am dear Sir, Your obdt Servant and grateful friend James Bill.

From Judge David Mason. Cooperstown Jan. 12th 1801

Sir. Please to fill in enclosed blanks,. . . affix one in the Clerks office and serve the other in due time, on the most potent Duke of Wolfsboro alias Robespierre, alias Ci devant, Justice Root. I condole with you over the election,—let us adopt the prayer of the pious old Whig clergyman at the commencement of the Revolution,—speaking of George the third,—"Turn his heart O Lord we [125] beseech Thee, to do all for the true interests and happiness of this people, if consistent with Thy Will, but if not, Tear it out!!, Amen.
Love con- signed to all the wives and children you have. David Mason.

From Philip J. Schuyler, Rhinebeck Jan. 30 1801

Dear Foote. I am sorry my business hurried me so soon from Albany, as I was extremely desirous of seeing my old friend. I have learned this afternoon that Mr. V. Rensselaer has consented to become a candidate, and now we must with all the industry of Jacobins, and the cunning of Prometheus, endeavor to affect our object, and to secure this, in my opinion will depend much on the judicious selection of an associate. All claims must be sacrificed to expediency— who will have the most weight,—that man I think is only found in Judge Lewis,—independent of my esteem for him, I would recommend him from policy.
I would give much to pass an hour with you, but as that is impossible, let me hear from you in New York, for which place I start tomorrow. Let me again urge you to advocate the nomination of Lewis, as I have before said, I wish it from policy, in addition to which, it would give me pleasure, because,—notwithstanding our difference in politics, I still entertain the opinion formed of him when a boy,—which is that he is an honest clever fellow. Adieu, I say to you as Ganganelle said to his correspondent,
"I leave you to yourself, that is,—in the best company I know of. Philip J. Schuyler.

From Elias Butler [126], Walton 6th Feb. 1801

Dear Sir. I arrived here by way of Hudson and Catskill, on Tuesday, and am very much out of health. Called on Mr. Constant Andrews, saw the wench and think she will answer your purpose. Andrews was much opposed to giving you so long a trial, was willing to allow one month. His objection is that she might not be well governed in your long absence (Note. E. was still Senator, and in the Council of Appointment, keeping him in Albany.) and when you returned in the Spring, she would be less fitted for his service, also interfere with his calculations in business. After various propositions on my part—on the ground of trial,—found him still hesitating,—also that the price would be £50, yet willing to bargain but much averse to a doubtful one. Viewing there to be no risk, availed myself of his situation of mind, and closed the bargain, to wit: the wench to be your property, and at your risk, in a fortnight from last Monday, delivery to be made previous if called for,—for which you are to give your note for the sum of $100, payable in twelve mos. with interest, and pretty strong encouragement given that $50 shall be paid by the first June next, on rect of which, he is to give you a good bill of sale. Should Andrews present you at Albany a rect, from John or myself for the wench, you can finish the bargain, or otherwise on your return to Delhi. You have her very cheap, and I am sure you will like her. Too much out of health to write more, but Yours E. Butler.

  • Mr. Butler was related to the notable lawyer, Mr. Charles Butler, of New York, an uncle I think, but cannot find out. From Philip J. Schuyler.

Phillip J. Schuyler, New York Feb. 15 1801 [127]

My dear Foote. Were you not slightly acquainted with Mr. Ten-Eyck, the gentleman who will hand you this, I would introduce him as one of the cleverest fellows of my acquaintances, possessing the precise and peculiar qualifications to render him fit and proper for the society of my Worthy friend Councillor Foote.
I am happy you think with me on the subject of Lieut. Gov. We have heard that they have voted 20 times over the election of Burr or Jefferson, with always the same result, at Washington, and it must go to the House. I am tired of this place, but have to be here often, and if you have any commands you choose to lay upon me, they shall be as binding as the laws of Lycurgus were to the Spartans.
I recommend Ten- Eyck to your special care & safe keeping, and bid you farewell. Philip J. Schuyler.

  • On Feb. 18, 1801, Wm. Coleman of the "Evening Post" writes that Watson, the candidate for Lieutenant Governor, "is horribly unpopular in New York," and on February 27 Johannes Miller from Orange County writes, "Much pleased that Watson is nominated for Lt. Gov." So do people of the same party vary. Peter Mosier, Alderman, merchant of New York, writes E. at "Dierck Ten Broeck's," wanting his help, and says, "Senate U. S. adjourned, appointed Hon. Robt. R. Livingston Minister to France." As I said above Gen. Morris was also a county clerk (Otsego).

Jacob Morris writes, March 23d, 1801

. . . My office I learn has been enrolled some time, in the list of proscriptions for my political sins, which my heart & my conscience forbid me [128] to renounce, if it be their pleasure to dismiss me, I leave with clean hands. . . . Your friend Jacob Morris.

As for Gov. Stephen will run well, Watson dragged along.

From Wm. Coleman, Editor "Evening Post." New York March 31, 1801 [129]

Dear Ebenezer. At 11 o'clock at night I write this to go by the morning mail which closes at 7. You will therefore accept of much brevity of phrase, tho some weighty matter. It is contemplated by four of us here, to commence this week a series of papers on the subject of the ensueing election,—but this is mentioned to you in confidence for it will not be known here, who are the writers,—don't stare friend Eben. I mean you must furnish the materials, for I am not so unreasonable as to request you to write hap-hazard, at a distance of 100 miles but you can do as well,—write me a long letter, and tell me all what the majority of the house have done which is unpopular,—and all they ought to have done which would have been popular. Tell me, have they once called up the Shoe bill in the Senate, it is important to know this. Have they altered the law for the choice of electors as they promised they would,—in short I have set you a task, and you must fulfil my expectations. So begin it journalwise, and go on every day, here a little there a little, till your bud- get is ready to send off,—then, be careful by whom you send it. Some one blundered so much as to insert your name, Ebenezer Foote among the Democratic Committee, but as far as I have discovered it, I have published a contradiction of this base calumny, and so I called it in the paper. So you see I am ready to stand by you still. Most affectionately. Wm. Coleman.

Letter from William Coleman, New York, 18 February, 1801

Dear Ebenezer. . . . About the impeachment of the Governor, no one here seems to have any very accurate information, on the subject, and I rely upon you for the receiving the whole story, by the first opportunity. I send you the Crisis, which may well be said in vulgar phrase,—to have let the cat out of the bag. I take it the grand object of the party ap- pears very palpably on the face of the same pamphlet. Nay they pant after them (offices), says he. The book has become very scarce, and I suspect has been as much as possible suppressed it is so barefaced it shames them, and to shame a Jacobin is no trifle. Let Van (Veehten) see it, I promised him. Affecty Wm. Coleman.

From Elias Butler. Walton 5th May 1801

... I conclude you will have to send to Albany soon with Gov. and Senator ballots, and should you have to hire a person, should like to be your chap,—have a little business, but not enough to go otherwise. Please to inform me by bearer, if my services would be acceptable, and when you should want to send. Report says that the Jacobin ticket has a majority of 400 in this Co.—if so, do not write it, speak it, or even lisp to me, under pain of my malediction, if the devil reigns, the Almighty has left us,—terrible thought, but all will go well when His anger is done away, and He smiles again on the mountains of Delaware, in the meantime let us enclose our houses with palisades. Accept dear Sir, the most cordial respect of Elias Butler.

Stephen N. Bayard, Esq. About land. Schenectady May 22 1801 [130]

Sir. ... I will thank you for the beat information you can afford me of the value, local situation, settlements, &c of the land. ... It is part of Mr. Samuel Verplancks great lot No. 38, and a little below Delhi. I am Sir, Very Respectfully, your Humble Servant Stephen N. Bayard.

From Gen. Jacob Morris. Butternuts 20 June 1801. My dear friend. I was intrusted some time ago, with the agency of a tract of land in your county, the property of my friends LeRoy and Bayard, but it was so much out of my way, that I lately begged leave to surrender it, and recommended you, which met with their approbation. How does your pulse beat,—do you escape that dreadful Democratic fever which rages so furiously at this time under the reign of Jefferson. If ever Federalism was charming in my sight, it is so now, and I have no doubt but that the people of the U.S. must again resort to it, to save the ship. I have no further time at present as I go for court tomorrow, and am very busy,—than to assure you, with what sincere regards I am your friend and obt. Jacob Morris.

From Richard R. Lawrence, Esq. New York June 24,1801

Respected Friend. I avail myself of thy services to have the Mortgage on E.B. looked up to make sure their is no prior claim. . . The expense attending same shall be paid, be content, and thy care acknowledged as a favour to Thy assured Friend. . . Richard R. Lawrence.

The Victors Claim the Spoils

From Morgan Lewis, Esq. Relates to taxes on lands, new road, etc., and to the Supercedeas of the new politics, removing E. from the office of County Clerk, just being put in force. Albany 19th August 1801

Dear Sir ...I can only say that the change in office does not accord with my wishes. . . My compliments to Mrs. Foote and believe me, that,—differences of political sentiments notwithstanding, I am your personal friend Morgan Lewis.

From Daniel Hale, also ousted. Albany August 24, 1801

Dear Sir. I should have wrote you before, but I have been so busily employed writing against the villains who are destroying the freedom, peace of mind and harmony of our state, that I am almost wrecked. You will have received your Super Cedeas before this, but I felt an inexpressible pleasure, in being informed by the Attorney Gen. that your circumstances are such that you will experience no material inconvenience from the malice of our enemies. The Patroon feels it most severely, and stands ready to go with us with redoubled vigor when the period arrives. Believe me with much sincerity Your friend Daniel Hale.

Albany Sept 2d 1801 [132]

My friend. I wrote you some days since, and sent it to Walton instead of to Delhi, at your request. Am happy you approve of me thus far. I cannot believe the more respectable democrats in the different Cos will approve all the acts, Judge Lansing and all his connections I am in- formed openly and decidedly condemn them. . . . Adieu. Daniel Hale.

From Justin, Newburgh 19 September, 1801

. . . We set out in the morning on a visit to Father, on our return shall move to New York for the winter, if you are all reconciled to the idea of little Harriet spending the winter with us there, and can get her to Newburgh, we will take charge of her and endeavor to make her stay agreeable. . . Your aff. brother Justin. From Justin. Newburgh Oct. 22 1801. My dear E. Have just returned from our visit to the old hive. . . . found Conn, still Federal, and loth to give up old established principles. . . Forty things to write, but Mr. Verplanck is waiting to take this to you, and we have company to dine. Justin. From Gen. Morris. Butternuts Sept. 24 1801. My dear Sir. I am at a loss whether to condole with you or congratulate you on the late act of Tyranny we have both experienced from our lords and masters in the Council of Appointment. . . . Jacob Morris.

133 From Col. Jacob Morton. New York Nov. 9 1801

My Dear Sir. On my return from a visit to Long Island, I found my Brother-in-law Mr. Quincy and his wife, being much occupied with them, your letter slipped my memory, and now 1 am unable to find it. Have looked in vain (a great deal about Ma- sonic Lodge). The Democratic tornado has nearly spent its fury upon Individuals. It will next burst upon Society, and if the returning Reason of the Community does not restrain its force—everything that gives Honor or permanency to Government, will be prostrated before it. I need not tell you that I regretted extremely to find you among the victims of a cruel and I am persuaded, a mistaken policy. You had I know put yourself to considerable inconvenience in first accepting the office, and I believed its emoluments were important to you and your little family. It was therefore with sincere concern that I read of your removal. You have however the consciousness that it arises from causes honorable to yourself, and which will hereafter be so acknowledged even by those who removed you. In the meantime, having discharged your duty, you may rely with confidence upon that kind Providence which hath hitherto watched over you, and from which from seeming evil can and often doth bring forth real good. I am with much esteem Your friend Jacob Morton.

From Justin. New York Nov 15 1801

My dear fellow. Your letter from Kaatskill delivered me by Harriet, the little girl had a tedious passage down, and arrived the day before we were to move. [134] In my last letter I gave you the information of my intended removal. I have taken a house in Cherry St. where we are settled for the winter. Your mode of direction must be, Cherry St near Clasons Wharf. Harriet is well and writes to her mama, and I am much mistaken if she has not been very homesick, and often wished herself at Delhi. These things however wear off, and I think she will be very contented with us. We are now settled and very comfortable, though farther from the center of business than I should have wished. Justin.

  • Henry Van Schaack was a brother of the great Peter Van Schaack, of Kinderhook. Henry seems to have had many homes, but honored them all. As he refers to the name "Great Mogul," and was in Albany a great deal, he may have been one of the coterie who gave Ebenezer the name.

Pittsfield Nov. 22d 1801

Dear Foote. I wrote you a few days ago via Kinderhook, since when I have seen the Albany Sentinel of the 17th containing an address of one Ebenezer Foote to the Public,—and which I assure you has given me great pleasure. There is in this address some excellent strokes at our Quandum Federalist yclept, Ambrose Spencer. . . The facts in the case are well stated, and in my opinion properly arranged. They must strike conviction to every candid mind, and to the uncandid ones there is no appeal. Before this epistle reaches you, you will have seen that peace has been signed between Gt. Britain and France. Both will try to coax us,—but no alliances if we act wisely. In spite of the political gloom, I am not without hope that the machine will move in good order after a while. I hope the time is not far off when I shall hail you as the Great Mogul of Delaware!! Why [135] not there as well as of Delhi in Asia. Good night to you, and God Bless you.
Yours very sincerely Henry Van Schaack

From Dierck Ten Broeck. Albany 27 Nov. 1801:

My dear Foote. Preliminaries for peace between Grt Britain and France have been agreed upon,—those between E.F. and A. Spencer are ushered to light through the medium of slander. Your friends here are all alive on the occasion,—they prize your worth and while they regret the troubles you are called on to encounter, feel a confident assurance that you will be satisfied that your cause is their own. Reflecting that the channel through which this paper is to pass,... I reluctantly forbear to speak the feelings of a heart devoted to you. Paper will not contain the names of all who wish you well, much more the expression of their ideas on the present occurrence—you stand in their opinions firm unsullied, indeed the honest Eben Foote, with more honesty, virtue and integrity in your little finger, than all the apostates, & apostles of the new day can boast in their whole conclave. Your son Charles commands my attention, he is well pleased and happy in his new situation. God bless you and yours, I say with satisfaction I am your friend in sincerity. Dirck Ten Broeck.

From William Root, cousin of Erastus, Albany 24 November, 1801 [136]:

Dear Sir. I have been prevented from answering your favour, by absence, but was at hand on the arrival of your address, which before this you have seen in the "Centinel." I have the pleasure to assure you, that your statement has the fullest approbation of your particular friends, and of all others whose good opinion you ought to regard. What will be the consequence cannot be determined exactly. One thing however you must expect,—a torrent of abuse from A. Spencer. With this you receive a packet from Henry Van- Schaack Esq. Mr. Van Rensselaer is well and will spend the winter in New York. Your son I shall see shortly. I send you the portrait of the damndest scoundrel ever turned loose. What, you ought to do, your own good sense will dictate, the ground you have taken is elevated and dignified, you will not forget what you owe yourself and friends. I wish your next may gratify your friends as well as this one which has stung the monster to the very quick. No time to be lost. Yours Wm. Root.

From Daniel Hale. Albany 30 November 1801

My Friend. Spencer has come out with a reply to yours consisting of more blackguardism, unsupported by a single charge. It is evident from the rage he appears to be in as he writes, that your publication has had the most ample effect, and so far, you have obtained a most complete victory. His ravings are looked upon by all considerate men of both parties, as too contemptible to be worthy of notice, and that they do not merit a reply. But I conceive that one more cool steady home thrust, in the style and manner of your last, will render [137] him an object of universal detestation. Rest satisfied, that to the best men of all parties, that the blackguardism of such wretches as Spencer is an honor to you. May Heaven prosper all your pursuits in this life, and eternal peace and happiness be your lot in the life to come is the sincere prayer of your friend. Daniel Hale.

Nicholas Evertsen to Ebenezer Foote, New York Dec 2, 1801

Dear Sir... I will only add that your address relative to A. Spencer has been republished here, and receives the hearty approbation of all enemies of the flagitious and abandoned. Dear Sir, Your real friend, Nicholas Evertsen.

  • In 1801 Ebenezer's son Charles had just entered Union College. I am putting in a great many letters on the same subject, but they come from so many different sorts of men and show how fiercely the battle was raging between the two parties and, among Eben's friends, against Ambrose Spencer, who had gone over from the Federalists.

1802

Henry Van Schaack. Pittsfield Nov. 8th 1802

A promise my good friend Foote, in New England, is as yet considered by many as a moral obligation, or I would not have lifted a pen to say a word to you now. I promised you at Albany a letter, and here you have a beginning of one as barren and stupid as the times are. . . . Not an arrival from Europe or Asia for weeks past,—more than four weeks since we heard from Egypt. I wrote our friend Root,—not your Delhi Root!!, that I was apprehensive the proud Spaniard had blocked the mouth of the Mediterranean, and the English channel too, as they have done Gibraltar with their Gunboats, otherwise, we must have heard from Egypt, London &c. Several ships are expected from Europe at Boston. When they arrive, it is not improbable but that a British ship of war may have escaped the vigilant Spanish Gunboats, and brought some late advices from Abonkir. I neither fear nor tremble about [138] what is going on in the neighborhood of Alexandria. I wish your Delhi were easier of access than it is, in the present situation of your roads, mountains, &c., one would be tempted to go to the other Delhi, than where you are. And now my good friend, when you are at Albany, why cannot you step over to Pittsfield,—the distance only 34 miles, the roads good, and the land of Promise before you when your . . . I am sorry to find the letter torn off here. The road mentioned is too complicated for me. From all my woman's brain can understand the matter, though sponsored by excellent men, its only concern to my family was another method of emptying their purses.

From C.E. Elmendorf. Kingston 3d Jan. 1802

My Dear Sir. I have duly reed yours relative to Gebhard, and will cheerfully lend you all the aid in my power to bring to public view, the rascality of that puppy,—as I find you have already done over St!! Ambrose. That poor devil it appears to me, must be goaded on by his new friends, and placed in the front of the battle, to endure all the lacerations their villainies merit. . . . De Zerg, Has- brouck and a few others are getting petitions to turnpike the road hence to the Susquehanna . . . In haste Yours as usual, C. Elmendorf.

Samuel Sherwood, Esq. Delhi Sunday Morning Jan 10 1802

My dear Friend. Yours of the 4th inst by Mr. Brounson, found us all enjoying much pleasure,—your family the Kirk and his Dame, all feasting on the fat of Delaware—and be assured that information of your

EPISTOLARY LIGHT ON HIS TIME 13!) health did not lessen the general glee. Your let- ter by mail has not yet arrived. . . . There is no frost in,—nor snow on—the ground. Most cordially yours Samuel Sherwood. From Justin. New York Jan 14 1802. Dear Eben. . . . Have seen your second epistle to Ambrose, and think it to the point. I think he will not re- ply unless he has resolution to take the pistol. I am happy that you have chosen the middle course, between challenging, and remaining silent, to have challenged him, would have subjected you to pros- ecution which I have no doubt A. would have availed himself of,—if he now remains silent, he is a poor devil. Your piece is well spoken of by men of respect- ability. I shall be glad to hear how you meet in the Senate chamber. . . . Friend Astor has not yet got his dispute settled respecting his lands in your Co., when he can call them his own, I believe he will be glad to give you the agency. . . . affecty. Justin.

  • Ambrose Spencer and Ebenezer were both Senators at this time, which would make it impossible for them to avoid meeting during the session.

From Benjamin Strong. New York Jan 20 1802

Dr Sir. I am taking the liberty to state to you, that I have associated with a number of grocers and other gentlemen, who are venders of loaf & lump sugar, and have formed ourselves into a company. If it meets your approbation, I beg your aid and influence in getting it through. Should you be good enough to give us your aid, you will confer

HO EBENEZER FOOTE—THE FOUNDER an obligation on Dear Sir, your obt. and very huble servt. Benjamin Strong.

From Judge Mason. Cooperstown Jan 21 1802

Dear Sir. Your letter reed and should have answered by Mr. Kent, had not unforeseen business prevented me just before he set out. The controversy into which you are drawn is very unpleasant, and I sincerely regret that a case so unjust, so cruel and oppressive to yon should have made it necessary to place yourself in competition with the hackneyed grovelings of Gebhard, or the Billings-gate of Ambrose,—but in my opinion, justice to yourself, and respect to the public who have placed you in office, made it your duty. . . With sincere esteem and unvarying friendship, I am Sir, your, David Mason.

Catskill Jan 23d 1802

Dear Sir. . . Your daughter Harriet is here, and you will see by her letter to you, her feelings. As to her returning home, a small snow fell yesterday and I hope more to the northward, when there will be sleighing, and your daughter can get to return.
Sincerely yours, Sir, Stephen Day.

  • Stephen Day and Sons were merchants.

From Wm. Coleman. New York Jan 25 1802

Take my dear friend an apology for a letter —and which I should not send, did I not owe it to you to desire you would excuse if they want it, the trifling alterations I have made in your letter to Spencer—changing words in Italics to Roman, and vice versa.
I Generally I dislike italics. It leads a writer to rely on that method of giving force to his periods, to the neglect of style. You will see by my introductory note in the paper, why it has not appeared before. I hope the reason will be satisfactory. When I tell you that I have to provide a long and tedious editorial number for tomorrow morning and that not one word is yet committed to paper, you will excuse me for saying no more than to add my best wishes, and sincere esteem. By the way if it were not for the good wishes and esteem of one another, we should be in rather an unpleasant predicament, dont you think. To be sure we have the benefit of a clear conscience. Wm. Coleman.

  • Mr. Coleman has rather weakened his excellent advice by the above underscoring.

From Elias Butler. Walton January 31, 1802

. . . Your dignified reply to Spencer must meet the fullest approbation of every man of taste, sen- sibility and honour. Had Spencer demanded an honorable settlement with you, I should have envied the man who had the honour of being your second (in a duel), but you are safe, you will never die by the hand of such a coward, and after meet- ing the full force of his dirty malice, I fully believe you will shine the brighter. I had the plea- sure to dine with Mrs. Poote the ... I want to see you exceedingly. I feel your contest with Spencer, and the whole host of dirty demons as my own, . . . Yours, Elias Butler.

From his Son, Charles, at Union College

Charles A. Foote. Schenectady Feb 20 1802

My dear Father. . . . Did not Mr. Ten Broeck mention to you a book called Lucian's Dialogues I requested him to desire you to send one by the stage. Enclosed is an acct of some expenses. Your son and Humble Servant. Charles Foote.

Pd to treasurer of Philo Society for entrance $2.00 Pd for celebrating an anniversary of same . .$8.50 Pd for washing at 4/ per doz $1.00 Pd Load of wood at 8/—and lb of candles at 1/6 $1.18 Notice wood for fireplace, and candles.

From Judge Hoffman. New York March 5

My dear Friend. I have already commenced my operations on your election. I cannot disclose them but am determined it shall De your own fault if you are not elected. Write and say what you have done. . . . You must not lose sight of it. Pray give your at- tention to the business and let me know the result. :Yours affectionately J.O. Hoffman.

  • Judge Radclift, Esq., writes again from Rhinebeck about the "Turnpike" and efforts being made to cut off Dutchess. These through turnpikes, running for such long distances, have always had a fascination for me [143]—the forerunners of course of the railways. But think what they must have meant in the wilderness country of that day, being the only passable way out during certain seasons of the year. The younger generation may never have heard that one of these turnpikes ran through Delhi town, just across the river, and so on up. Equipages passed along it, heralded by horns, with great cracking of whip from the important personage on the box (the coachman), the envy of every small boy in town, who shouted wild greetings until all was over and lost to view.

From Henry Caldwell. (The first of the letter contains much about E.'s running for Senator, which I omit. —kaf) Newburgh 9th March 1802

Dear Sir. . . . The result will be highly honorable to the individual 'tho he should not be elected. I have written Barker and Peter Radclift who sees Dewitt every day, and their opinion I know will be like the Judge's. I should like to hear from you, how your affair with that devil incarnate called on earth, Ambrose, has ended. I have seen only two of your pieces, and only one signed with the above devils name. Your friend sincerely Henry Caldwell.

From Charles Foote. Schenectady March 14 1802

My Dear Father. . . . We have had a revolution here. Mr. Allen has dismissed my room-mate and I have returned into the same room with Livingston, on condition of paying him 25 cts a week!!, and be at no other expense whatever for wood, candles or any [144] other convenience. I want very much to see you before you return to Delhi, relative to change of lodgings—which I dont think I could safely do until I am a Sophomore of full standing and which I hope to be after examination.
Your son & hubl servt. Charles.

  • From Mr. Hoffman on legal matters. He sends by an old New York name which I copy: "The Honorable Ebenezer Foote, Esquire, in the Legislature, Albany. Honoured by B. Prevoost, Esq." Samuel Sherwood, Esq., writes principally about a salacious suit in the courts against Gebhard, too bad to copy. Calls Grebhard, "that little scoundrel."

Delhi March 19 1802

My dear friend. The next day after I saw you I arrived at Delhi. Found my own and your family in health, and my own affairs in better order than I expected, but am almost harrassed to death by business details. Have not had any late information of legislative news. The sovereign people believe that much indolence has existed at Albany during the present session, and I believe attribute it to the effect of Democracy. I should like to have early information of Senatorial determination, and whether it will be best to oppose the Congressman. Today the raftsmen generally embark for Philadelphia. Most cordially
Yours Samuel Sherwood.

From Justin. New York 28 March

. . . You ask my opinion. I have no doubt you would have honourable support as a candidate for [145] either Senate or Congress, which situated as you are, will afford you satisfaction tho it should not be attended with success. Should you be elected for Congress the difficulties you suggest I consider trifling, on the score of usefulness. I think the Senate to be preferred. Am getting off Capt. Mather for N.C. Justin.

James or Richard Radclift (paper torn). Rhinebeck April 3d 1802

Sir. I feel highly gratified in the success of our turnpike. It was more than could be expected considering the opposition. I feel under many obligations for your assistance. We have held some meetings and have decided on Ebenezer Foote (certainly) for Senate, and Gen. Barker for Congress. Your friends here are very anxious for your election, and will do everything to promote it. We hope and expect you will not decline it.
Yours in haste James Radclift.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, from Jacob Rutser Van Rensselaer, Catskill, New York, 5 April, 1802

Dear Sir.
You will excuse me for troubling you with the enclosed writ to be handed to the sheriff of your county, when I assure you I am unacquainted with his name. The revolutionary tribunal has so completely wiped out every vestige of former tenurement that without a register, it is impossible to keep pace with them, and recollect the present incumbents. Federalism is reviving in this County, and an exertion will be made for assembly and congress, and I entertain very little doubt of ultimate success...
I am Dear Sir with respect yours Jacob Rutser Van Rensselaer.

[146] From Elias Butler. Walton 1st May 1802

Dear Sir. A number of brethren met at my house last evening, but not as many as there should have been. We adjourned to meet again on Monday eve. next, all are anxious to have you attend,—we want your advice in many respects, in order to carry the instituting into full effect. You must be here on Monday, anything to the contrary not-withstanding. Mr. Sherwood must attend, please to inform him. . . Elias Butler.

  • Asa Emmons writes to say that he does not like the nominations for assembly made at Colliers, but hopes that E. for Senator will succeed.

Caleb Benton, Esq. Catskill May 3d 1802. Dear Sir

Your letter of the 18th ult I received, but unfortunately so late it was not possible to write by the last mail... I have recd word that the Federal ticket has succeeded in Columbia. Your immaculate friend Ambrose was the lowest on the Jacobin ticket. I have not heard but expect the Republicans have a large majority in the District.
I am cordially Yours Caleb Benton.

From E. Foote. Albany 1802

Dear Frederick. . . Your letter by Mr. Sherwood was wrote very well considering the bad ink. I send you some inkpowder by Mr. Sherwood, and request you to make some new as good as you possibly can. I am your affectionate Father E. Foote.

[147]

From Ezekiel Gilbert. May 4th 1802

Dear Sir. Mr. Reside my neighbor and friend is moving into your Quarter, which gives me an opportunity to drop you a line. ... Of the Columbia election you have probably heard the results. Nomina- tions throughout the county has prevailed. The lowest on the Republican ticket—to his mortifica- tion—I will not say shame—is the demagogue of this new world (Spencer). The present moment will not permit me to say more than that your friends in Columbia, . . . will ever bear testi- mony for you and those principles which have been so early and constantly manifested by you, and other federalists. I send you the Ballance, which may satisfy you as to Columbia. And remain Yours sincerely Ezekiel G.lbert. From Judge Wm. W. Van Ness, "a rare ge- nius." Hudson 4th May 1802. Dear Sir. I have just time to tell you we have carried our election by an average majority of 150 in this county. This will be handed you by an honest man and a good federalist. Yours Sincerely W. W. Van Ness.

From Hon. Morgan Lewis (not a Federalist, but not agreeing with his party in its recent acts). Staatsburgh 8 May, 1802

Sir. . . The rent wheat may be recd whenever you please, and sold for whatever it will bring. . .It will be no small gratification to you I presume to learn that Columbia is federal. A report circulates [148] that Delaware has done the same thing. I begin to incline a little to Adam's opinion (prob- ably Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations," one of the noted books of the day). That we are without National character, certain it is we are very whimsical and inconstant. I know but few people in Columbia, but if the fact is as represented in Delaware,—I can find a consolation in the reflection that as far as my acquaintance extends the worthiest and best men in that Co differ from me in political sentiments.
My respects to Mrs. Foote. Sincerely yours Morgan Lewis.

From Elias Butler. Philadelphia 2d June 1802

Dear Sir. . . Arrived with four rafts, but cannot even find out where the fifth is. Market uncommon dull, boards selling very low, quantities of lumber in town, and the Board merchants determined to try our patience. Mine is nearly exhausted. Hope to meet you in New York. Write me, I will call at the office daily. With the highest esteem. Elias Butler.

  • Down to my early days, "rafting" during the spring and fall freshets was a great and lucrative business, if the rafts did not go to pieces on the rocks, or other things happen. [kaf]

Brockholst Livingstone, Esq., comes to Court and hurries off at once. Delhi 25th June 1802

Dear Sir. I fully intended to have had the pleasure of passing the evening with you agreeable to your friendly invitation, but contrary to my expectation, the court has just adjourned. Having some private business to attend to in Newburgh, which [149] it will be in my power to transact, before the Circuit in Columbia begins,—if I set our immediately on my return,—I have determined to go back as far as Hattels tonight. This must be my apology for not calling on you.
I am with Respect and esteem Sir, Your obedient servant. Brockholst Livingstone.

  • A number of bills in August. One for "One 10 inch Knob lock for front door. 1. 8. 0." Also "42 lbs. lump sugar at 23 cts lb."!! Charles writes his father that he is completely bankrupt, a not uncommon remark to fathers from sons in college, but the amount of his indebtedness, perhaps, differs slightly from that of a son of 1925.

Letter from Charles Foote to his Father, Ebenezer, Schenectady Sep. 8, 1802

My dear Father. I became completely bankrupt some time ago. I owe for my washing $3.00 and the woman is pressing me,—and I lately became a member of the Themean Society which has, or rather will when I have paid it, cost me $1.50, and to the Philo Society I owe .37 cts, which makes up nearly $5.00!!! Examinations take place the last of this month, and then I shall be at liberty. If it should please you write me, I should wish to know whether I am to expect a horse from home, or to procure one somewhere here, and in what manner I shall come home, if you intend I shall,— which by the by, I begin to feel anxious to do. It is needless to inform Mama of my love and respect.
Your affectionate son and Most Humble Servant, Charles A. Foote.

From Charles A. Foote, Albany Nov. 15 1802

Dear Father. Several circumstances have prevented my writing till now. I wished to hear from Schenectady, and also to learn something certain of Mr. Ten Broecks affairs. With respect to the first, I found on my arrival in Albany, that three weeks have been added to the vacation in consequence of the college not being quite finished. Had not my horse belonged here, I should immediately have returned home, for Mr. Root (Wm.) was in Cat skill, so that I was obliged to stay at Trowbridge's for one night till his return, since which I am with him. Perhaps you may have heard he is going to leave this place in Jan. Dunbar will take charge of the office. I have been up on the hill several times. The first time nobody was at home but the Gen. himself. He appeared very much troubled as though he wished to say something which he did not know how to begin, but after a deep sigh, he asked if I had heard of his sons difficulties. He said he could never speak of it without shedding tears, and I could not help being much affected myself, to see him so troubled. He said he thanked God he had a competency left. He was quite affectionate, and pressed me to come and dine with them every day while I was in town. The old lady said she never had a more sorrowful time than when Dirck came up the hill with Flirt in his arms, and said, "I have now neither house nor home." Mr. Van Rensselaer and his wife are in New York so that I have not an opportunity of seeing [151] him. My hand is so stiff with cold, I can write no more. Your affec. son & humble servant Charles A. Foote.

  • Dirck Ten Broeck had just failed in business, as most people were on the brink of doing at this time. They were intimate [150] friends of Ebenezer's. Notice cold of bedrooms in good houses. P.S. I am now nearly 78 years old and when I reflect on the obstacles to be overcome to make a man of eminence!!!! Arbor Hill was considered very sumptuous, because it was built with a fireplace in every principal room in the house.

Schenectady Dec 1st 1802

Dear Father. I have but a few moments to write, as Mr. Marvine who takes this, leaves town tomorrow early. Mr. Allen has left his family in Rhode Island, so that I have been obliged to change my board till the steward is settled in college. I find that the expense of furnishing my room is much more expensive than I at first calculated. We have had a great accession of students, and considerable alterations since Dr. M. arrived but have now got pretty well settled again. According to new arrangements, I am to study this winter, Euclid's Elements, and logic, in addition to former ones. Be assured of my affection and sincere respect. Your son Charles A. Foote.

From Justin. Brooklyn December 19, 1802

Dear Eben. As I get no answers, conclude you never get my letters by post, and was most glad when Mr. Butlers son called at our Counting house, and offered to take a letter to you. Our new place is at the corner of Fly Market and South St. Affect. Justin.

===From Mr. Ketteltas' secretary (?) Albany Dec 31, 1802 [152] Sir. The title to lot No. 88 Hector, claimed by yourself and Mr. Ketteltas, is not yet decided on by the Commissioners, a circumstance unexpected by him, and I presume by yourself. He requested me to inform him of the decision, and send him Clarkes affidavit. This affidavit the Commissioners desire to retain, for what reason I know not. As you will be in Albany this winter, hope you will attend to the business, and try to get a decision for your mutual interests. With respect and esteem I am Yours Silas Marsh.

From Elisha Williams. ("Accounted the ablest lawyer in a county of brilliant men."—kaf) Hudson 6th February 1803

My Dear Sir. Beyond measure I regret my absence from home at the hour you was here. For many, very many, reasons, I wished to see you, some of a professional, some of a political and most of a personal nature, all to be duly attended to in Albany, all of which shall be duly attended to in Albany. . . Our best wishes await you and your good family. Affectionately yours Elisha Williams.

From Charles Foote, at Union College, Schenectady, to his mother, Jerusha (Purdy) Foote, February 5th, 1803

My dear mother. With pleasure I hear that Providence still continues to bless you with health. I have been very well all winter.

April 5th. I see that Aunt Maries brother (Justin's wife) died in Tobago after an illness of [153] only five days. I await your commands about coming home.

June 20th. At length have I arrived at Schenectady. The horse I returned in Albany to his owner, King, who came to Mr. Root's for him. He tried to get more, but Mr. Boot told him he was hired for $5.00, and was in much better condition than when taken, and King seemed satisfied. Margaret Ten Broeck had just returned from New York, with a good account of Dirck and his family. I delivered the pumpkin seeds to Mr. Ten Broeck who promised to make much of them. Paid my respects to Mr. Van Rensselaer but he and his wife were just setting off for the Springs (Ballston Spa in those days, instead of Saratoga —kaf) so that I could not stay long. He inquired after the health of the family, and particularly, if you were coming to Albany soon.

June 25. I have not been able to pay for my coat on account of having to buy so many new books. The faculty have made such arrangements with respect to our studies, that some books that I have we do not study until the latter part of summer. On my return I found everything in Statu quo. Scarce anything more done except digging wells and some such trifles about the yard. The Hall is still unfinished, in consequence of which, our Exhibition is again deferred for a time. Your aff son & hmble servt Charles A. Foote.

  • Several letters from Charles are combined, above. Still travelling back to Delhi, Delaware county, on horseback. From all I can gather, I am afraid many of the richest men were so because they made no allowances to their debtors. See "pay twice."

From William Root, Hudson, New York to Ebenezer Foote, July 13 1803

My friend Foote. You know about my Bond, interest just due. Now you must call on Mr. Rhinelander, say I have written you, and if he will not give you satisfaction, and wait a few days, to avoid trouble I must ask you—yes my friend, you must at once procure the money, $455.00 and if necessary pay twice. Wm. Root.

From John DeWitt. Prominent man from Dutchess, I think. Clinton August 27 1803

Friend Foote. I have heard of your passing and repassing, but as poor Jack lives a little out of the way, it appears too much trouble for Ebenezer to call and see him. Mr. Joshua Morse is here on his way to Delaware, and I have only time to inform you that my family are well, and that the Yellow fever is getting worse and worse in New York since you left it. Politics the same, no nominations yet made for Congress. It will give me much pleasure to hear from you by Mr. Morse on his return, if I may not have the pleasure of seeing you here. I am with much respect and esteem, Ebenezers sincere friend John DeWitt.

From Wm. Root, Albany September 2d, 1803

Friend Foote. The Gen. has just favored me with a call of about ten minutes. By him I learn of the welfare of yourself and family, which was joyful tidings. Mrs. Roots present state of health precludes our projected journey to the Westward, but we do not relinquish the idea entirely,—to appear to you in [155] Propria persona, at Delaware. This is a favorite with Mrs. Root (in theory) and very much so with your humble servant. Permit me at least to thank you for as important a request as has, or probably ever will fall to your share. As to that all is well now. There is not the least consolation in politics,—we have deceived ourselves in every way. Best respects for yourself and family. Your friend Wm. Root.

From Daniel Hale. Albany 1st Sept 1803

My Friend. I met with Col. Butler by accident at Websters bookstore, and I cannot permit him to leave town without sending a line to you safely, 'tho I have nothing pleasing or encouraging to communicate. Many of our friends talk of a change in prospect, but for my own part, I can see nothing that looks like it. I hear that Morgan Lewis is to be appointed Mayor of New York, worth 12000 or 15000 per annum. By the way, I hear that this same gentleman is very friendly to you. Gen. Schuyler & Judge Kent still retain their dignity and propriety of conduct, over a certain class here, which is a gratification to me, as it will be to you. We must put up a candidate for Gov. to keep the party together though it looks hopeless to go against Clinton. What say you to Judge Kent. His mind is open, candid, and liberal, and his manners popular. . . . Give me your candid sentiments, . . . Let me hear from you, we must commence in season.

In sincerity Your friend Daniel Hale.

On Many Matters

  • Both Judge Foote and his son, Charles, were particularly fond of gardening. They brought the first Bermuda lilies and made asparagus beds even at that early day. It doesn't take two days to get from Delhi to Albany now!!

Albany 11th Oct. 1803

Dear Father. I arrived here safely in two days from home, and found all friends well. I went to the man who makes gloves, and ordered him to make a pair of the description you gave me, and he promised to have them ready by Saturday night. When I went for them, he had not touched them, and I was obliged to get a pair ready made, Buckskin, same price, 10/, and he charged them, and I left them to be given Mr. Sherwood. There are also some Horse chestnuts in the bundle, which I got at the Patroons. If they are planted this fall they will come up in the spring. I have just returned from Mr. Van Rensselaers. He was very kind and sociable. Shall go up to Schenectady this afternoon. . . Charles.

Wm. Root writes in October

Of your son, I can only say, no student stands on higher ground in every respect at Union, than he.

Mr. Van Schaack in a letter much too long to copy says,

"The Patroon is the father of a fine daughter, born last Monday, so I was told when dining in the Great Hall last night" (at Albany) [157]. But he speaks as if Massachusetts were now his home, and thinks Federalists are gaining ground.

1804

John P. Foote, nephew. Eli's son. New York 14 June 1804

Dear Uncle. I called at Mr. Ogdens office to get the papers and forward to you by this conveyance, and was told by the young clerk there, that there were no papers there for you,—that the papers for you were not ready, that Mr. Ogdens brother who had charge of your papers was out of town, and that was all of the satisfaction I could obtain. Your trunk was yesterday sent on board the sloop Commodore as you requested. Please give my love to all the family.
Affectionately John P. Foote.

"The chief support of our sinking national character is removed." Letter from Charles Foote to his father, Ebenezer, on the death of Hamilton, 20 July, 1804

Dear Father
I received your letter which is the first news from home I have received this summer. You must excuse me for writing again so soon. My importunity at present shall be compensated by a proportional length of silence. —
Who is it that heard Gen. Hamilton's speech last winter, imagined that Eloquence was speaking for the last time? Who thought he was listening to the last effort of the orator and the patriot? But his unexpected departure form this work tho truly affecting to the friends of liberty was in the "fullness of time" as it respected his own glory not a single blot obscures the brightness of his public character. No rival presumed to contest with him the palm of oratory. But the manner of his death. was it necessary the the hens of York-town to [approve?] his [coverage?] by violating the laws of his country and his God. But he repented of his error and died a christian. It seems that all parties have united in bewailing his loss. And well they may. For since the days of Washington the world has not beheld his equal. We may truly say, the last and brightest luminary of the western hemisphere is set forever. The chief support of our sinking national character is removed. When foreigners charge us with imbecility and want of dignified honour, we can no longer exultingly shew them opur Hamilton to refute the charge.

My oration will not be published for two reasons. First because no one (except a slight invitation from the Centinel) is inclined to do it. Secondly because I would not willingly see it neglected as Marcy's undeservedly was Such pieces generally attract notice only from the keen bold language of party which they contain. Circumstances necessarily exclude this from al oragtions delivered in this town. And I am not so vain as to suppose I could do myself any credit in publishing a piece which was to be judged by its own merits. — The Philo. Society is not able to do it if they would. Our expenses for 2 months in purchasing a plate for diplomas a new seal &c. amount to more than $100. so that our treasury is drained, and the members have been obliged to contribute for <strikethrough>the</strikethrough> support of our credit. From my standing in the society and your own feelings, you may judge that I have not been the least on there occasions, tho' I am the least able to afford it. Indeed I cannot help smiling at the belief (tho its consequences are sometimes by no means laughable) of the students here. I, a poor defendant, not worth a single cent, having already spent more I had reason ever to expect, am supposed to be the son of a person of considerable fortune. My situaiton is envied by persons whose prospects of [fortuity?] are far brighter than mine. But I do not repine. Wealth is not my object. If ever I arrive at such a situaiton as to be able to command a decent livelihood by my professional labours it is all I ask of Fortune. Those talents which nature has given me will do the rest.

I have got to the end of my paper and am not half done writing. I aught to write something to my dear sisters I love them sincerely. And on no account do I do I [sincerely/realy] regret the honourable overty of our family as because it deprives them of the advantaged they deserve. [Remember me to Frederick and my beloved mother. I hope she is well. If I meet with a private convenance I will [send] to Fred. and the girls. If not I shall write by the mail before a great while. I hope they will do the same. Am short of paper will answer for 3 letters. And the postage is no more than for a quarter of a sheet —
I never knew such weather for July since I can remember. For more than 2 weeks it has rained much and has been so cold that a thick coat is necessary in the wearmest part fo the day. There has been white frost and some say ice tow or gthree nights since. Pretty well for July. Jerome Bonaparte passed through here the other day. And likewise your good old freind Judge Spencer. I have to give my respects to Uncle John — Your affetionalte son and humbl sert
Ch. A. Foote

  • "Speaks of Hamilton's death" [–kaf]

From James Cochran, Palatine Oct. 5 1804

Dr Sir. As your son did not arrive at our house but a few days before the expiration of his vacation, he could not stay with us as long as we wished. We all like him very much, his manners are agreeable, and he undoubtedly will make a very clever fellow. I only wish I could induce him to study law with me for a few years. I stated to him that I had a room for him in my office, and that board could be obtained in the neighborhood for about 10/ a week. He would see at my house from time to time, as much good company as he could wish, and every attention in my power paid to him. He would have the benefit of a good library, classical, political, historical, beside the law books. If you and he would understand yourselves on the subject, it would please me much. I shall probably see you in Albany next winter when we can talk it over.

With respect & esteem James Cochran.

From Justin, New York 8th October, 1804 [158]

Dear Brother. ... As to the Turnpike I would not invest if I were you. I have 100 shares which I could not sell, even for old vessels.

  • But he did buy.

From Samuel Freer, editor Kingston paper, Kingston October 14, 1804

Sir. You have no doubt heard that the mail will soon be carried from this town to Delhi, every week!!! but before I go farther let me announce to you the glorious triumph of federalism in the state of Delaware. The great Bayard is elected to Congress by a majority of 361. It is Glorious, honorable!!! I solicit your hearty support for the Ulster Gazette.
Respectfully Yours Samuel Freer.

Dr. Fowler. Newburgh Oct. 21,1804

Dear Sir. It isn't easy to describe the pleasing sensation my family experienced on account of your familys visit. I am astonished at the growth of your children,—with their comely appearance, and the decent modest deportment. I have sent you by Frederick a few small fruit trees, if you are fortunate enough to save them, you will find them of good Quality. . . . Your friend and humble servt. David Fowler. [159]

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Major de Zerg, Kingston 23 October, 1804

My dear Friend. Had we not quite by chance heard that Mrs. Foote was in town, we should not have had the pleasure to see your family at this time. I am willing to cover it over for the present, on condition that the next time, our house will be favored by you, and all yours when in this part of the country. A denial will only be adding a new crime to the multiplicity of your federal sins. You will see by the last papers that Russia has declared war against the Galls (?) You will be good enough to accept some small fruit trees, the plums of the best quality, known here as Banckers Gages. I hope the peach trees will prove good. You will find likewise lilacs, snowballs, and asparagus seed, and I demand for all these good things, that the fruit procured from all these un- usual luxuries, shall never be tasted by a Jacobin democrat, except when your known hospitality cannot get clear of it. In the pleasing expectation to see you soon here, I beg you will believe me to remain as usually my dear Sir,
Yours Sincerely Frederick de Zerg.

The Buffalo Courier-Express, from the Commercial Advertiser, 22 October, 1804

The cause brought by Ebenezer Foote, Esq., against Mr. Gardiner Tracy, publisher of the Lansingburgh Gazete, for a libel wherein the plaintiff was charged with being a pettifogger of the lowest grade, came in the late circuit court held at Albany at which Chief Justice Kent presided. The consul for the plaintiff were the general and district attorney for the Albany district; attorney for the Albany district; for the fedfredant, Messers Allen and Van Vechten. The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff with $200 damages.

From Solomon Sleight. Newburgh Oct 26 1804

Dear Sir. . . . Mrs. Foote spent a few hours with us yesterday. I flattered myself she would have spent some days with us, after her visit with her Purdy relatives in Westchester, but she discovers the utmost anxiety to return to you. I am pleased to learn that she is pleased not only, but happy in her new situation, and I question much if she would return to Newburgh, with her present impressions of Delhi. I had written you a long letter concerning the death of Gen. Hamilton, which

160 EBENEZER FOOTE—THE FOUNDER waited for a safe conveyance, to avoid the curiosity of postmasters, or their masters. . . .. The death of that great man is a subject I cannot bear to dwell upon, and I know your feelings are the same. It is supposed Burr will return to New York, and endeavor to regain his former station, if he can with safety. Attempts are being made to discover the feelings & dispositions of people toward him, but as far as I can learn, he has received but little encouragement, but his friends declare that he will resume his professional labors there. . .

Aff. Solomon Sleight.
  • I cannot find out who Levi McKean was, but evidently a friend of Burr and one of the attempts mentioned by Mr. Sleight, to probe the feelings of former friends of Burr is indicated below. E. and Burr had been great friends, and I wish very much that we had written proof from E. himself, but aside from Mr. Sleight's remarks, and the sense of justice and right doing which was ever present, I do not for a moment believe that all the enticements of that charmer of men and women would swerve him from taking the side of Mr. Hamilton, whom he also knew very well.

Poughkeepsie 2d December 1804

Dear Sir. I have the pleasure to enclose for you, a letter which came to my hand, to be forwarded to you, and which I hope will be safely delivered, as it is from a man (Aaron Burr. –kaf) whom I know you must feel a generous concern for. The events which have taken place in relation to that estimable man, has really been attended with the most unaccountable consequences, but they will in the event, exhibit him to the world which party rage, normal-patriotism, will not be able to efface [161]. I know not your opinion of the events alluded to above,—but I have a just idea of your generosity of character. I shall rest confident, that while you will find no less reason to esteem Col. Burr, you will see abundant cause to interest the humanity of every gentleman, or man of courage. For my part I anticipate the time when he will be hailed as the Coriolanus of his country.
I have the honour to be, Dear Sir, Your obedient servant, Levi McKean.

From Aaron Burr, very formal. Washington Nov. 26 1804

Dear Sir. It would be a very great accommodation to me to have the money due on the notes of Hotchkiss. Be pleased to urge him to payment, and remit whatever you receive to Matthew L. Davis of New York, or if more convenient, to Wm. Pitt Beers, at Albany.
I am Dear Sir, with great respect, Your obedient servant, Aaron Burr.

  • Mr. Davis was one of the two men with whom he left his affairs after the murder.

From Justin. New York Dec. 20 1804

My dear fellow. . . . Major de Zerg is in town trying to raise the wind with turnpike stock. I fear however not succeeding, but he is very sanguine that the stock is good property. I wish it may prove so. . . . Yours aff. Justin. [162]

From Charles. Union College Dec 10 1804

Dear Father. The news of Gen. Butlers death was as melancholy as it was unexpected. I had heard nothing of his illness until Clark told me of his death. He was indeed our friend, and I can only remember his hospitality, when we arrived in the new county, a family of houseless wanderers, and all the world looked dark, and he smiled.

Yr. hubl servt & son Charles.
  • A letter from Wm Butler, brother of Elias, says the latter is too ill to write, but must see Ebenezer about a slave, Nance, as there will be trouble if not attended to immediately, as somebody thinks he has a prior claim. I am sad myself to say good bye to nice Elias.

1805

Justin. March 1st 1805. I intend to devote next summer in visiting, and God willing I shall hunt in the valley of Delhi, and with Isaac, who writes urging his claims. . . Justin.

  • Isaac was another brother, who had settled in Chenango County, where he was a Judge, legislator, and generally respected man.

Letter from Hon. John Jay, about land, which he owns in Delaware County. Bedford 19th March, 1805

Dear Sir. . . Reposing great confidence in your Judgement and Probity, I take the liberty of requesting you to attend to all of this business. . . With unabated esteem and regard, I am Dear Sir, Your most obedient Servant John Jay.

From Justin, Newburgh, New York, 5th April, 1805 [163]

You have no doubt heard that the Merchants Bank have a Charter. I think it better than Manhattan, and it will do much good in the city. We have been sorely pressed this winter, in consequence of the banks setting their faces against the Merchants bank, too long. I will tell you when I see you. . . aff. Justin.

Elisha Williams. Hudson April 17 1805

Dear Sir. I hear this day that Van Vechten is upon the Assembly ticket for Albany. I wish I could hear that E. Foote is certain to be elected from Delaware. . . . God bless you. Elisha Williams.

From W.W. Van Ness. Hudson May 6th 1805

Dear Sir. It gives me great satisfaction to inform you of the triumph of good principles in this Co. Van Vechten leading. Do let me hear immediately from Delaware. . . W.W. Van Ness.

From Mr. Hale. Albany 12th Aug. 1805

I met His Excellency the Gov. in walking around the Battery. The interview was short, but he behaved with perfect civility. . . . Daniel Hale.

  • The Battery, it may be remembered, was the fashionable promenade of the day, and also that Mr. Hale was the political enemy of Governor Clinton. [164]

From Elisha Williams. Hudson 30 August 1805

I hope you have returned from your journey to New York. If you could have favored me with a call at Hudson, it would have been peculiarly agreeable. This is an hour of doubt and diffi- culty. . . . May I not hear from you. If you are disposed to do good, furnish me with some of your reflections on the state of the Nation. . . . Elisha Williams.

Letter from Justin Foote, Balstown[?] Springs, 29 August, 1805

Dear Eben. I forgot to write you that we have begun a journey, which is not to end until we have visited your habitation at Delhi. We have been here one week intending to have left yesterday, but rain prevented. Shall leave with the first fair weather, go to Cooperstown, thence to Sherburne (where Judge Isaac Foote lived), then to Delhi. How you are to get this letter I know not, shall probably have to send it via Albany, and should it fail to reach you, and you be from home, Justin and Marie will be too sadly disappointed. Justin.

Federalist Chimeras

  • Two weeks later they have reached home. Notice they were on horseback. Going across country as they were doing, nothing but a heavy carter's wagon would have been of any use. Sackrider house still stands on the road to Stamford, but I believe in other hands now. They were people of prominence in the town, but almost everybody was called upon to care for wayfarers, and I like to think that, as E. would know them well, he having rode with Justin as far as that, introduced him, and all had a friendly luncheon together.

Newburgh 26 Sept 1805

Dear Eben. According to promise, I now intend giving you the history of our Jaunt home. After leaving you at Sackriders, we rode to the home of —: , two miles on the turnpike, where we dined. While at dinner who should come in but R. Bowne on his way to Franklin. From there we drove to Rackmires, where we lodged, and from there to Deweys to breakfast. Called at J. Barkers for a short time, and drove to S to dine. After dinner we rode 17 miles to and put up at D , within 7 miles of Kingston. The 3d day we arrived at de Zergs for breakfast. That night staid 7 miles from Poughkeepsie, & arrived at G. Everstons to breakfast and dine, and in the afternoon rode to Valley (Pleasant Valley). Saturday after breakfast we started for home, dined with Mrs. DeWitt, and reached home about five o'clock. . . . Justin. [166]

From Abram Van Vechten. Albany Oct 18 1805

Your agreeable favor by Judge Leal reached me last week. Touching the schism among the democrats, I can only say that I can perceive no signs of a reconciliation. What it will produce, I am at a loss even to conjecture. At present there is bitter enmity between the Lewisites & Clintonians. . . . DeWitt will probably have a majority in the Council. If so, the Gov. will have a turbulent meeting. Federalists I fear have not much to hope for, the people are under such strong delusion, that nothing short of a miracle will remove it. Ambrose is in a dilemma. What course he will ultimately pursue is problematical. I suspect he is not very sincerely attached to either.

Tillotson writhes under the lash, and stands ready to make ample confession of his sins, and promise reformation as soon as he can meet with a person whose authority to grant absolution may be deemed competent. Poor fellow, it is surmised that his repentance will be too late, and that judgement is made up against him. I confess I am so depraved as not to be much moved by the tribulation before him.
Best wishes for health, happiness & prosperity, to you & yours. A. Van Vechten.

From Judge Isaac Foote. Jerrico Dec 14 1805

Dear Brother. ... I have inspected the bridge erected across the Susquehanna under the superintendence of Major de Zerg, and am highly pleased with the performance. I think the work is executed in a very masterly manner both for strength and elegance, and reflects great honour on both the architect [167] and superintendent. I am so well pleased with the unexpected acquaintance with Mr. de Zerg, that it would add peculiar satisfaction to me to wait on him in company with you at my dwelling in Sherburne, although you will not find me situated in such elegance of style as you are.

Believe me, it adds sensible pleasure to understand that altho your enemies have been indefatigable in their endeavors to press you down, you have imitated the Palm tree in some respects and risen high. Accept of my most brotherly affection to you and yours. Isaac Foote.

  • There is a torn strip addressed to Mr. Foote, care of Leroy & Bayard. Lotteries were the great rage, and I find my ancestor foolishly indulging.

1806

From John Parsons Foote. New York 24 Jan. 1806

Dear Sir. ... I enclose Mrs Caines receipt for the Turnpike stock, and purchased ticket No. 25627, which I had no doubt, would draw the highest prize,— but by some unaccountable mistake, that prize came to some other number, and a prize of $5,000 being the best that remains, we must calculate to be content with that, as I do not suppose it would answer any purpose to tell the Managers of the mistake they have made, in not giving us the $20,000 one.

I am sorry to find that the Continental Powers of Europe have made as great a mistake as the Managers of the lottery, for it seems that instead of destroying the rascal Bonaparte & his army, they have suffered him to take peaceable possession of Vienna, and it is feared will patch up a shameful peace with him.

With affectionate remembrances to my Aunt & cousins,
I remain John Parsons Foote. [168]

From Justin. New York Jan 24 1806

Dear E. Am sending this by Mr. Hobby. . . Marie still having trouble getting such service as she likes. Have just bought a black girl much like your Bet, but she is not Hagaar. It appears that Bony is driving the Austrians like sheep before him, and killing as many as he pleases and the British are dreading him as badly at sea,— their Navy is nearly destroyed. It is said that Bony has made his triumphant entry into Vienna, and the Prussians keep his army to defend his neutrality.

"Has gotten on a Lee shore," Letter from Colonel John Swartwout of New York, a political supporter of Aaron Burr, written to Ebenezer Foote referring to the business and mercantile matters. New York 5th April 1806. The last line of the letter makes an oblique reference to the Burr Conspiracy.

Dear Sir, I recvd your favor of the 5 Mar via Albany — My answer has been delayed by our having been then in treaty for the sale of our stock in trade of paints Oil & Glass which has since been affected. our business will in future be confined to the sale of dye woods and [drug/s?] — still it will afford me great pleasure if I can afford you any aid in procuring the articles you want for the [dead?] stock and therefore beg you will command me with freedom.

In answer to your postscript as I presume you have seen the late papers and of course observed that the late foreign usurper has gotten on a Lee shore — I answer your question by asking another, viz Pray who is the Dupe

In great truth and Sincerity Yr. [Obedient] Friend & [Servant] John Swartwout
E Foote, Esq.
  • John Swartwout Letter, Mss. 1580, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The letter was written prior to the arrest of Swartwout's brother Samuel in New Orleans because of his association with Burr. Also in EFtF, where Katherine Foote, when the letter was in her possession, or in the Ebenezer Foote desk transcribed "famous Union" under the ink blot where I read "foreign usurper." I think that this last phrase makes more sense and was probably used, as usual, with a generous dose of sarcasm.

From S. Sleight. Newburgh Apr 6 1806 [169]

Dear Hal. There is the de—l to pay again in New York. Gen. Baily says in the papers that the Clinton party and the Mayor of New York (Dewitt Clin- ton) had no hand in forming the Union. Col. Swartwout flatly contradicts him in terms too, not of the mildest. You can easily conjecture what this will lead to.
Tell Mrs. Foote we esteem, love and honour her. Sleight.

  • James Cheetham spoken of in Mr. Van Vechten's letter was an English refugee, the tool of Dewitt Clinton, editing "American Citizen and Watchtower," but was discarded in 1809. (See Alexander's History.)

From Abram Van Vechten, Albany April 7 1806

Dear Sir. To evince my charity, I hasten to answer your letter, although it is pretty late in the evening of the day, in which we close our legislative labors. The result in a certain case I will communicate to you, sub rosa, in my next. You venture on a bold assertion when you declare it is the most rascally cause I have ever been engaged in. To prove this, I need only tell you that I am to try two slander suits, for Cheetham, against the ex-recorder of New York. Do not stare! but hear my apology if it is necessary for a lawyer to make one for lending his services in a controversy between two democrats,—when he is well paid for it. The simple truth of the matter is this,—I consider the parties as fair professional game, neither has any claim on a federalist, but in a professional capacity, both are proper subjects of speculation. I do not mean to prostitute myself to the interests of such men, their money [170] however when obtainable in an honest way, is worth as much in an action for slander between them, as other mens. I submit to your impartial judgement the whole case.
There is now more real bitterness between the Lewisites and Clintonians than there ever has been between the democrats and federalists. In New York, I am informed, a strong federal ticket will be run, and my correspondents speak with confidence of success. Thus stand things at present—what changes a few days will bring, you shall have in my next.
Yours Sincerely Abram Van Vechten.

  • T. Tillotson was an old acquaintance of E., one of whose letters I believe has been included, and I put in this for what it is worth. My notes say, "Thomas Tillotson worked hard for Tompkins for Governor and then was turned out of office by Tompkins' Council of Appointment."

Albany April 18 1806

Dear Sir. You are I find, very much of a croaker, and have not the same confidence in the good sense of the people as you know I have been in the habit of indulging in. To conclude that Jacobinism is as prevalent in the other counties as in yours is not charitable. Among poor ignorant uninformed people, a "Root" is sufficient to produce mischief for a time, but though he may be of the root, I am sure he is not of the stem of Jesse. The prospects to the west and middle are good, to the north as good as the means we have to employ & the disadvantages incident to them, in the kind of warfare we are embarked in. Your federalists at New York and Ulster are likely to do us more harm than all the Footes and Roots in the state. Should they make a ticket (by the by I feel very [171] apprehensive), it will effectually prostrate those who have set their faces against the Jacobinism of the state, and throw them back at least three years. It will be of some use, inasmuch as it will satisfy the federalists that their visionary schemes of resuscitating as Federalists,—are delusive and hopeless. If they persevere, I shall knock under, and shelter myself under the spreading oaks of Rhinebeck. Their conduct will be as treacherous as anything we have received from the Clintons & Spencers ...
I am Sir Yours sincerely Thomas Tillotson.

  • In a letter full of politics I copy only the last paragraphs. E[benezer] was at this time just 50 years old.

From Garret B. Van Ness. Poughkeepsie April 17 1806

Dear Sir. . . . Could I see you for one hour by my fire- side, I should feel delighted in entering much more in detail on these matters, but I cannot in this way. Indeed the labors of the day have too much fatigued me to devote more time to a friend whom I ardently cherish, and whose councils are sanctioned by age and experience. Garret Van Ness.

From Gov. Morgan Lewis. Staatsburgh 31 August 1806

Dear Sir. I forgot when last with you to request the favour of you, to preserve for me some of the stones of your wild Plumb, and shall beg of you to send me some. Your friend and servant, Morgan Lewis. From Gen. Jacob Morton. [172]

Letter from Jacob Morton New York, to Ebenezer Foote, Dec. 10 1806

My Dear Sir. I wrote you and enclosed a map of our lands. Will you do me the favour, if you can, of informing me of the situation, soil, vicinity of settlements, &c. We are desirous of disposing of it and some offers have been made. . . Our triumph in the Charter election you have heard, and rejoice with us. The current is set against the folks at present in power, and when it begins to run, it generally goes the tide out. The news- papers will inform you that Bonaparte has lately made a breakfast upon the King of Prussia and his 150,000 men. Tho' this is but a just retribution of Heaven, for the royal rascal's former duplicity,—yet in the scale of weight, is most dreadful, and will go far toward giving Bonaparte complete ascendency on the continent.

I have scribbled my paper full, and have hardly room to say, what my heart is full of,—that I am very sincerely your friend, Jacob Morton.

From Abram Van Vechten. Albany Dec 29 1806. Dear Sir. It is so long since I have heard from you, that I begin to fear that Quidism has swallowed you up. The New York Charter election and the exultation is has produced, excites some alarm among the quids. With respect and esteem, Yours, Abram Van Vechten.

1807

From Obadiah Sands. Walton March 16, 1807

Dear Sir. I have not time to write you as I wish. Can only mention that Esq. Osborn did in the presence of Capt. Goodman when called upon, did declare [173] that he was a Lewisite. Yet after all, he is a suspicious character, for Mr. Root says he will avouch for Osborn's Conduct!!! . . . Obadiah Sands.

From Abram Van Vechten. Albany March 3d 1807

Dear Sir. . . . Having said so much on the subject, I will add that I believe Gov. Lewis himself is not perfectly pleased with the measures of the Council (Council of Appointment. K.F.). He appears ready to adopt a more magnanimous course, but is over-ruled by narrow minded and timid Councillors. The idea that I meant to express at the meeting at the Tontine, was that the Federalists go to the Polls and cast their votes for Lewis, on the grounds that his administration is the most acceptable of the Democratic kind,—since we can- not have our own at present. When we have a second meeting, you shall be informed of the result. I am yours sincerely Abram Van Vechten.

From Elisha Williams, Hudson March 10 1807

My dear friend ... I need not say that the good old cause be- comes more endeared to me every day, as the new fangled theories of Modern Philosophy are reduced to practice. The opening prospect is to me most alarming, honest men differ in opinion, and we no longer have an Umpire (Washington. kaf) to direct and advise. We have yet no Mayor of New York, no Judge of the Supreme Court. There is no warrant that the Chief Magistrate has any influence in his own Council, and there is certainly much heartburning and recrimination. . . all this I say to you and you alone. This [174] state of things ought to be realized by as few as possible unless we abandon all in despair. "When I am in better spirits, I will write again.

Your sincere and cordial friend, Elisha Williams.
  • Two letters from John Suydam, of the same tenor as the last.

Wm. Van Ness. New York 11 April 1807

My dear Sir. I have time to write you a few lines only. We are anxiously awaiting your nominations from Delaware. The election is at hand, and for Heavens sake, give us somebody. It would be unpardonable in this District which can elect honest men, to allow Clintonians to prevail. I have heard nothing from your county, and know not whether you have been nominated for Senator or not. (Almost all of the late letters have urged standing for Senator again, but I do not think he ran. K. F.) The federalists in New York have but one sentiment among them now, and Lewis will hardly lose a Federal vote here. Let me hear from you. Yours truly and sincerely, Wm. W. Van Ness.

From Peter K. Livingstone. April 12 1807

Dear Sir. Permit me to beg of you the favor to give me a statement of the State of your county, on the subject of the ensuing election. In your calculations My Friend, let not your Wishes, and feelings enter into the estimate, for they too often lead us into error. Our information from the North promises a favorable issue to the election. In our District, we shall disappoint our Enemies. The city I have no doubt, will give [175] the Good Majority of 300, and it is the General Opinion that the Faction will not succeed in the Assembly ticket. Let me hear from you by return Post, and give me all the information you can. Yours truly Peter R. Livingstone.
P.S. I pray you not to delay my request, as I am highly interested in your information.

From Judge C.J. Brooks, April 15, 1807

Dear Sir. Not recollecting with precision all the facts relative to our dispute with the squatter, I thought it most safe to refer Mr. Williams to you. The deed of L. Kortright is recorded in. . . We leave to you and our lawyers our affairs to do what you think best. Yours with esteem C.J. Brooks.

  • I have not found out who Judge Brooks was, nor do I know the one which follows, but both were Federalists and their party had failed to elect their forlorn hope, Morgan Lewis.

Letter from Charles A Foote, New York City, to his father, Ebenezer Foote, Delhi, New York, "Rvd 24th" 19 May, 1807:

My Dear Father
It has become so common a thing "to leave undone those things "which we ought to have done" that it is hardly worth while to say why I have not written sooner. I staid at Catskill but a very short time (and that I spent in bed) and since having been here I have found myself pretty busily employed about the office exclusive of many little businesses of my own which together have occupied all my time. I live in Beekman street some distance from the office but it is none the worse for that. I suppose at this late hour it would not require an affadavit to convince you that all those rumours which Fred and I collected at the head of the river respecting the election were out in point of fact. There have been some unaccountable mistakes in reckoning up the votes — Whether the canvassers have been in error or whether the people have written the wrong names upon their ballots is a matter of very little consequence. Lewis is handsomely juggled out of his election, and Peter B. out of his cash and federalists out of their hopes of rising again into power if any there were short-sighted enough to entertain serious hopes of that kind. What the details of the business are I know not neither do I care. Let those who win settle those things according to their liking Indeed it is possible that good policy may ere long keep us more quiet even than we are. for who knows but our imported masters may take it into their heads federalism is a nuisance, and deprive us of the privilege of voting for their outcasts, and make irish jacobinism instead of citizenship and property the electoral qualification? — George Clinton will be our next president! — This is a conjecture of my own but founded I think on very good grounds. He has been nominated in Pennsylvania by Duane's men, and this measure is spoken of by Freeman's journal as a "forestalling of public opinion"—that is as much as to say, he is our man as well as yours. If Pens. N.York and Mass. unite in favour of the old Phoenix it's up with Maddison, particularly as there is a division in the "ant. dom," itself, and there is every reason to believe that the Mass. gentry will give him Clinton their support without hesitation for two reasons 1 out of hatred to the Virginians 2 because he is a greater scoundrel than Mad. and therefore nearer the standard of yankee republicanism — Politicks appear to be altogether at a stand here, not a word is to be heard on the subject. Tis not to be wondered at that the Federalists should think it disagreeable subject. There is nothing of the ferment and bustle which I expected to behold — one would scarcely think there were two parties in the Country. — You have seen how Cheetham speaks of Mr. Jef.'s proclamation — warfare. The rascal can speak like an honest man when it suits his purpose — It is high time for the philosopher to abscond — he is evidently in the way and will stand a good chance to be hustled out of his seat unless he quietly [mounts/moves?] down to the "post of honour". Remember me most affectionately to Mother and the Girls and to Frederick, and believe me to be with the utmost respect

Your Son &c– Chs. A. Foote

—Courtesy of the New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections

"We must wait for other and better times." William W. Wilson, Cleremont, to Ebenezer Foote, May 9, 1807

Dear Sir. . . Below I give you the return of votes canvassed or ascertained as nearly as possible. From the result we have not much to hope, and I can only add that we must wait for other and better times.
I am Sir, Your humble servant W. W. Wilson. There had been nothing lately of Major de Zerg's road, and I imagine that the hopes expressed [176] in the next came to naught but, however that may be, it comes in with the settlement of the new counties.

"A great Appian Way to Lake Superior." From John De Witt of Newburgh, Walton June 17, 1807

John DeWitt to his brother (Masonic) Ebenezer Foote, greeting. I left Newburgh last week Wednesday in company with Francis Crawford and others appointed by the inhabitants of Newburgh to explore the country for a road from that place to Oxford, for a great Appian Way to Lake Superior. We are so far on our return from Oxford. We are well satisfied that a good road can be cut through, the only part not extraordinary good is the hill between the two branches of the Delaware and one between the East branch of the Delaware and the Beaverkill. Time will not permit, or I should call on you. Adieu. John DeWitt.

From Barent Gardinier, New York Sept 5,1807

Dear Sir. A letter from Luther Martin reed this morning, informs us that Col. Burr is acquitted. In haste Yours, B. Gardinier.

1808

"Old Thomas is nicely chucked a-one side and will I think go near to an impeachment, at least I think Randolph will try..." Letter from Charles Foote, New York City, to his father, Ebenezer, 8 January, 1808

My Dear Father
By this time I imagine you must have reached home though you have had I fear a very bad time of it. Ever since you left here we have had a continued series of unpleasant weather and considerable quantities of [ice? an/enjoys?] to make bad sleighing and if possible worse walking. Not having seen anything of the power of attorney I conclude you could not prevail upon Noys to put his fist to it. If so — why it cant be helped, that's all—

If Cheetham's paper has reached you as it must have done ere this you will have seen his remarks upon the Embargo business. Yesterday he concluded them I believe for the present. They upon the whole contain some very correct principles, tho not quite up the the mark His ideas respecting French power and ambition are so correct and so much more than we had any reason to expect from such a rascal that they seem to atone for a great many of his old sins in relation to domestic affairs — His intention of upholding Clinton for the next president even at the expense of Mr. Jeffersons favour is now too plain to be doubted, and I have no doubt in my own mind but he will be As usual successfull (By 'he' I mean Clinton himself for Cheetham only expresses the sentiments of his masters) Those Clintons are the most wily politicians in the United States Their management here is the same as it was in the contest for Governor here, and I think we have reason to expect a similar result. Old George may now be considered as in nomination. He is before the public and is the only person who has been expressly and formally put forth. He has therefore got the start of his competitors, and whosoever follows must be content to bear the odium of dividing the republican party. Old Thomas is nicely chucked a-one side and will I think go near to an impeachment, at least, I think Randolph will try such a motion in the House of Representatives whether it would be it would be a gratifying thing to have it made when we know there is good ground for it — Here we have been for years on the eve of a war with Spain. The Comander in chief of our Army in Spanish pay — and this thing known to the Executive who takes no measures to correct the proceedure! I say it was known to him — For fact was laid before him — For if Clark can be believed [_____? crease] proof the fact was laid before him — and if he under these circumstances will shut his eyes to conviction he is as much in fault as if he actually knew it and then refrained in action. They are a precious set of Scoundrels all together — I wish there intercepted dispatches could be made public, not for any good they would do, but for the gratification fo curiosity in seeing how far this french influence has induced our great men to commit themselves and furnish proofs of their own infamy — There is more knavery in the U.S. than meets the public eye — Give my love to Mother and the Girls and Maria's too — And be assured I am most respectfully
Your Son &c. Chs. A. Foote 8th Jany. 1808
I wish you and all the family and very happy New Year I was agoing to send [La?ng's] address]] but it is republishd in the Herald I think it the best that has appeared —

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia

From Judge Van Ness, Hudson 10 Jan. 1808

Dear Sir. Having understood that you are to be in this city this day, I have a few words to say to you. Williams and I are obliged to go to Gen. Livingstons on business, and it is quite probable we shall be detained until evening. Now I strictly charge and command you, not to depart the city of [177] Hudson, till I have seen you and had you at my house. You have given out I hear in speech at Catskill, that you meant to go to Williams only, and not to any other house. This also I peremptorily, and positively forbid—you may stay with him 1/4 of your time, and the remaining 3/4 with me. He is but a Member of Assembly, I am a Judge!!!! Fail not on your peril.
Affectionately Wm. Van Ness.

  • As I have before remarked, people seemed to find winter, when there was sleighing, a propitious time for visiting. This definite record of a visit from Gen. Morris to Arbor Hill interests me very much. Isaac Cooper was the son of Judge Wm. Cooper, and James Fenimore Cooper in one of his novels, gives an account of a similar visit to another great house of the early days.

"Many a scoundrel of a Cartman in this City who has been these seven years halleliuias to Republicanism now begin to feel some of its blessed effects," Letter from Charles A. Foote, New York City to his father, Ebenezer, Delhi, New York, 14 January, 1808:

My Dear Father
I have examined the library we are speaking of when you were down and find it contains about three hundred volumes which will average about four Dolls. per vol. This would make twelve hundred Dollars and would bring the price (after deducting the 30 per Cent) of the whole to about a thousand Dollars — This is too heavy a lift for a weak back like mine. Schoonmaker would take a part of them to the amount of three hundred Dollars, which would leave seven — very heavy still! But no method of lightening the ship further for the present. There might be a possibility of heaving some of them overboard between this and Spring by way of sale or exchange — but not to be depended on. If you think it will do — write as soon as possible, for about the first of February they will be tried again at Auction. The time of payment is anything short of ten years. What a pity a poor Devil could not muster 2 or 300 Dollars when he pleased! These Books or at least, all that I wanted might be bought at auction for that sum no doubt.
We have had a violent snow storm here all day, to day for the first this winter. The snow is now six or eight inches deep or more Up the river I suppose the sleighing is of course very good — This is lucky — I hope every Democrat in the Western District will get his wheat safe to market, before this Republican "blistering plaster" is removed. Then let him sing the "overflowing treasury" and see if it add sixpence to the price of grain. Many a scoundrel of a Cartman in this City who has been these seven years halleliuias to Republicanism now begin to feel some of its blessed effects. One good thing is the evil is a general one and falls upon all alike Maddison to the contrary notwithstanding He would have it beleived [sic] the Embargo is a Fanning Mill that will separate "wheat from the chaff" [_] If by wheat he meant Democratick Farmers he is out, I believe for in the end it will be felt by the Country as much as by the "British garrisons" as Duane calls them — However this has nothing to Do with the book [chaff/sser??] — Do you thnk 6 or 700 to much to spend when you have not got it? It is a confounded heavy load to begin the Journey of life with. — Do write soon for if you conclude it not best to saddle myself with such a burden I must try and get Jack to bid up for some of them at the Auction and trust me for the money Tho I do not know this could well be done with a good face — But here I believe are difficulties enough for one letter.

Please to give my best love to all as usual and believe me to be
Most respetfully Your Son &c
Chs. AFoote

{I have written to Uncle Justin by this mail}

I hate to leave a blank here since the postage is the same for that as writing so I'll fill it up with Cheetham — The Rascal has paddled back again. The Republican Committee here sent a Deputation to wait on him and know what he was about. It seems they opened his eyes so effectually that he saw he was on a lee shore: and 'bout ship instantly was the word from the Watch tower — I suppose they made it appear that Jefferson was too firmly established to be shaken without endangering himself, and as he was not to be a competition of Old George it would answer no good purpose to prove him an "accomadating [T/s/bummer?]" &c.

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia

From Gen. Jacob Morris, Butternuts, Near Morrisville, New York, 10 March, 1808

Dear Sir. On Saturday the 25th ult, with my daughter Sarah, and her companion Miss D. Hanson, I started in a sleigh for Delhi, to make you and your family a visit. We arrived at your house about 7 o'clock in the evening of that day, and were received and entertained in a polite, friendly, and hospitable manner, by your son and the ladies. I regretted much your absence, for your company and conversation are at all times most agreeable to me. After passing our time very pleasantly till Saturday morning after breakfast with your good wife and the rest of the family, we returned by way of Walton, and came home that evening. Having thus paved the way, I flatter myself we shall not be long without the pleasure of a visit from you and Mrs. Foote. Mr. Frederick Foote promised if there should [178] be sleighing after your return to bring his bride and the young ladies to see us, and as it is probable there will be sleighing for some time, we shall look for them, as will my son-in-law, Mr. Isaac Cooper, to whom I gave him a letter. We found the sleighing very good by the way of Walton, but further than the other way.
Our public concerns look rather squally,—if we submit to the late decree of Napoleon at Milan, we will submit to anything—it is aimed at us alone, is subversive of our neutral rights, and is just cause of war, which in the present state of the European world, would, in my weak judgement, be a salutary measure, saving us from greater misfortunes, and preserve our honor and independence.
Mrs. Morris unites with me and my daughter Sarah, in respectful compliments to yourself, Mrs. Foote, Mr. Fred Foote and his lady, and to the young ladies.
I remain Dear Sir, A Your friend and obedient humble servant Jacob Morris.

  • C.E. Elmendorf writes of a federalist meeting, at which L. Gansevoort was chairman, and adds:. . . Have you seen old Tim Pickering's letter. It ought to be written in letters of gold, on a table of steel. C. Elmendorf. The next is from my grandfather, Charles, speaking of the Embargo, of Mr. Jefferson's partiality for France, and the forced general training of the day. He had left Judge Van Schaak's, at Kinderhook, where he studied law with Martin Van Buren—whose coming out to Arbor Hill I have spoken of elsewhere—and was now in New York, in the law office of Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Esq.

Letter from Charles Foote, New York City, to his father, Ebenezer, April 7, 1808 [179]

My dear Father. . . Captain Evertsen said something about Sergt Major for me, if it is attended with little trouble and less expense, and he can put in a good word for me, I should be glad. Some such berth would be very convenient, and save both training and fines. Very respectfully and affectionally Charles.

Political Betrayal

  • The next few letters I have hesitated about including, but the injustice and trickery were so abnormal I copy a part of the story.

From General Morris to Frederick Foote. Butternuts 31 March 1808

Dear Sir. Lest the Committee appointed to promulgate the intelligence may be remiss in their duty, I take the opportunity to inform you that at a large and respectable County meeting of the Electors of this county, at Cooperstown on Tuesday last, the 29 inst. your Father was unanimously nominated as a candidate for representation in Congress in this district. It is the earnest desire of your Fathers friends in this county, who are sanguine of his success, that this information should be made public in Delaware without delay. With respectful Compliments to your Father and all the family, in which my family unite, I remain your friend. And obedient servant Jacob Morris.

  • The next is a part of a letter written by Ebenezer to Judge Cooper of Cooperstown, as a partial justification of my honest and upright relative. The whole story is too personal and infamous to transcribe.

Ebenezer Foote to Judge Wm. Cooper, Delhi May 10 1808

Dear Sir. From my long acquaintance with you, and the [181] cordial political and personal friendship I have always entertained for you, and from a belief that these feelings are in a measure at least reciprocated I now take the liberty of addressing you on the disagreeable subject of the late election, and hope that my observations will be received and treated by you with that candour, for which you have always been preeminently characterized. In order to impress you with a just sense of my feelings in the occasion, I must be permitted to repeat a plain unvarnished tale in the language of confidence and friendship. You must know then that just as I was about to set out for New York on business that could not be dispensed with, I was informed by my friend Gen. Chamberlain, that I was nominated at Cooperstown to run as a candidate for Member of Congress. This was the first intimation I ever had that such a thing was contemplated. My friends insisted on my accepting, and said I would be supported, so I left home accompanied by the pleasing reflection that I should receive the support of honorable men, although I did not expect to be elected. . . The story of the base means used to elect an opponent I omit.

From Judge Cooper's son, Isaac, Butternuts June 3 1808

Ebenezer Foote, Esq. Sir. I received by the hands of your friend, Mr. White, yours of the 1st inst, directed to my Father. As he is not at home, I have taken the liberty to peruse and answer the same. On the 26 day of March, the federalists of this county had an uncommonly large and respectable meeting at the academy in Cooperstown. It was resolved almost unanimously, to support yourself for representative in Congress, from this district. So far from intriguing for this nomination, I believe [182] I was the first person to mention your name as a suitable person, which I did some days before the meeting. Sir, you may rest assured that the proceedings of the committee from your county were not seconded by any of our family, and how these gentlemen under the respectable standard of Federalism, could assert this falsehood, I cannot conceive. I give you full authority to tell these honorable gentlemen!!! that when they assert that Judge Cooper and his two sons were at their meeting, they assert what they know to be false.
With my best respects to your family, I remain Yours Isaac Cooper.

From Gen. Jacob Morris, Butternuts 3d June 1808

My Dear Friend. Mr. White has this moment handed me your favor of the 30th ult. The first intimation of the intrigues and maneuvres practiced by a knot of contemptible fellows from your county to defeat your election, was given me by Mr. White in a letter of April 30, but which did not come to hand till 20 May. I feel extremely indignant at such conduct, knowing your integrity, your independent principles, and your uniform attachment to the Federal cause. Notwithstanding the tricks practiced by a number of people unfriendly to you, and pretended federalists, I never for a moment entertained any doubts. My son-in-law, Mr. Isaac Cooper, is now on a visit here. His father is absent on a journey to the west. He informs me that not one of the Judges family ever gave the least sanction to the measure you complain of. I cannot conceive how it happened, but will endeavor to search out and inform you. We contemplate with much pleasure a visit from you and some of your family this summer.
Believe me, Most affectionately your friend and humble servant, Jacob Morris.

Letter from Justin Foote to his brother Ebenezer, Newburgh July 30 1808 [183]

Dear Ebenezer. Your favor of 13th inst came safe to hand, via New York. That you should discover by my last letter, an unusual depression of spirits is not to be wondered at, as I am not in the habit of cloaking or disguising my feelings to you. I was to be sure almost sick, but that was not all for by the continuance of the rascally Embargo, I was, and am, prevented from placing myself in a situation not to have ruin constantly staring me in the face. [184] A total stop put to all my business both here and in Carolina, with a heavy debt constantly brought into view by Bank operations, vessels lying idle and food for worms, with a daily expense to take care of them, beside a considerable amount of property in the hands of the Hubbards, with no immediate prospect of collecting and great prospect of losing a large part if not the whole,—all of these put together, with the addition of a debilitated constitution, is rendering my life extremely unpleasant, but as my health is now better, I am less disposed to complain and think less and eat more than for some time past. It is a current report here that the Ulster and Delaware turnpike stock is now worth little or nothing, and that the stockholders will have to make a new road, or never get any income. If so, I shall lose $3,000. I think from present appearances, that I shall not have the test of scripture applied to me,—viz., that it is easier for a camel to go through, &c. How it will end God knows.
You will see by your Herald that Bonaparte has got the grip on the Spaniards. If some one Spaniard, more fortunate than the rest, be able to reach the rascals heart, it would immortalize his name, and relieve mankind of its greatest scourge. That the good Lord may have you in his holy keeping, is the prayer of your brother Justin.

  • Justin writes from his summer place at Newburgh. His letter is important as touching the Embargo of 1807 to 1809, concerning which I copy an extract found at the New York Public Library. The Act was passed Dec., 1807, by Jefferson's recommendation, to force the repeal of the Berlin and Milan decree of Napoleon, and of the British orders in Council. It had the same effect as a blockading of American ports. New York was the most severely crippled of all, because of her immense trade with the West Indies, all the Southern ports of North America, and much of South America. Incomes dwindled to nothing, ships decayed in the harbors, and grass grew on the silent docks. Federalists denounced the measure hotly. It was repealed in 1809, after ruining hundreds if not thousands of honest men. To any who have read up to this point, it will be no news that for many years Justin had owned vessels trading with the West Indies and Southern ports, more particularly with North Carolina, where a partner took charge of a store at Murfreesborough, which Justin visited frequently.

One from Barent Gardinier, New York, is full of Federal hopes, and speaks of what he has written for the "Evening Post."

From Conrad Elmendorf. Kingston Aug 9th 1808

I am directed by a number of free and accepted Masons, who have obtained a dispensation &c from the Grand Master of the State of New York, for a new lodge in this place, to apply to you to install the same on the 29th inst, if your [185] business and arrangements will permit. Your answer by the next mail is desirable for reasons which are obvious.
Your obt. servant and brother Conrad Elemdorf.

Thomas P. Grosvernor writes an amusing letter, ending with,

"I declare myself your friend forever, and hope to have the honor of seeing you at your house in '1 fortnight.'"

The Embargo again. A broadside endorsed, "Resolutions of Freeholders of Chenango County respecting the Embargo. ..." Dated at, "Norwich (Chenango Co.) 17 Sept. 1808. Hon. Joel Thompson in the chair. David Buttolph Esq. Sec." Isaac Foote, one of the numerous committee. I copy a few lines:

Your memorialists have viewed with deep concern the total decline of trade and commerce under the ruinous prohibitions, restrictions, and provisions of the aforesaid acts, and feeling in the most sensible manner the distressing effects of these measures of our government, we are constrained to come forward with an earnest request for their immediate suspension, accompanied with our anxious and increasing wishes for their final repeal as soon as the congress of the U.S. shall be assembled.

My grandfather, Charles, married Marie Baldwin, Oct. 10, 1808, as I know from the genealogy, but not a single letter have I concerning the act, which I should value so highly as I do the few words of their subsequent journey back to New York from Arbor Hill, where it would appear they had come for their honeymoon.

"They are the cursedest set of Jews here that ever sold," Letter from Charles Foote in New York City to his father, Ebenezer Foote, Delhi, New York, 22 October, 1808 [186]:

My Dear Father
Yours inclosing $30 for Kemble I received, and have paid the money and taken his receipt.
We were somewhat longer in coming to NewY. than we expected to be when we left home and after all contrived it so as to ride during the whole of the only two rainy days we had in the time — Mother was very well when we left her at York on monday last – Much better than when she left home –
There is not much news worth mentioning except the report of a French War which I do not believe is correct – It however made a great stir among the wiseacres here and nothing else was to be heard of yesterday. Pensylvania & Jersey have both gone to the D–––l. So that Pinckney & King run low Just at present —

I do not think we shall be able to leave here before the beginning of the Week after next Maria has concluded to get only a part of her quota of furniture now, everything is so abominably high — They are the cursedest set of Jews here that ever sold – If we were at war with all the world they could not ask for more for every thing that comes from abroad —
Gardner will take this to you if he is not already gone – I must go with it down to the boat immediately through a fine N.E. Storm which I think may last several days and makes it very comfortable getting about town – Give my love to the Girls & Fred – & believe me
Respectfully Yours &c Ch.A.Foote

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, also see: kaf, EFtF;186, in which excerpt Katherine Foote leaves out the anti-Semitism of the original.

Letter from Abram Van Vechten, Albany, New York to Ebenezer Foote, 23 Oct. 1808

Dear Sir... I wrote you in the way I did, to prevent any discovery by unfaithful postmasters. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are against us. Our hopes therefore of a federal president are at an end. The Circuit court is still sitting here, you will therefore excuse my brevity and haste. Yours sincerely Abram Van Vechten.

  • Another allusion to the unreliability of the postal service. Daniel Tompkins succeeded Governor Lewis. [187]

From ex-Governor Lewis, Staatsburgh January 24, 1809

Dear Sir. I know not how it happened, but your letter reached me but two days since. It certainly otherwise would have received an earlier answer. My engagements I assure you are not in politicks. It is true the presidential election interested me considerably, not from hostility to any one of the candidates, but from a real conviction of the superior talents of, and a personal attachment to, the successful candidate. I do assure you I have not one particle of interest with the State administration. Tompkins I neither have, nor wish any intercourse with. I despise him most cordially, and really feel almost a contempt for anything connected with his administration.
Present my best wishes to your family, and believe me to be Yours faithfully, M. Lewis.

From Albany committee, Albany January 16 1809

The circular letter inclosed herein, is sent you in the fullest assurance that you will not allow it to be copied, nor permit it to get into the papers. It is intended solely for the information of our political Friends. We remain Sir, with great respect, Your humble servants, Leonard Gansevoort, Abram Van Vechten, Wm. Pitt Beers.

From Judge Isaac Foote, "Sherburne Jany 18 1809"

Dear Brother. I perused your letter sent by John, and can assure you it would give me almost consummate pleasure to visit you this winter in company with [188] Gen. Morris and his lady, but there are sundry obstacles in the way. 1st, a meeting of delegates from all the counties in the Western district is appointed to deliberate upon National Concerns, and my attendance is insisted upon, but you must note, that it is in a peculiar manner Federal concerns. 2d, on proposing the visit to your sister, she demurred, alleging inability to take such a journey in the winter, but upon a critical examination, I discovered (as I thought) a little pride at the bottom, our equipage would not be quite equal to Morrises. However, I believe I could get over this difficulty if there was nothing else in the way, but you will be going to Albany about the time our Western congress will rise, and have had it in contemplation to visit Albany myself this winter. These few lines will be accompanied with the most cordial affection of your brother and sister. Isaac Foote.

There are a good many letters from Thomas Tillottson, but as they disagreed in politics, I am wondering what the bond was. From Thomas Tillottson. Rhinebeck March 7 1809

Dear Sir... I have seen nothing, nor heard anything worth communicating since you left the Flats (Gen. Schuyler's place). The Embargo is to be raised the 15th inst, by the bill as it went from the house of Representatives, and conclude from the course pursued, it will pass the Senate. If this does not please you Federalists, what will satisfy you. Madison shows a disposition to meet you on neutral ground. If your hostility should be as unceasing vs him as vs Jefferson, his overtures for peace will be treated as acts of open hostility. Make my best [189] respects to Mrs. and Miss Foote, and Believe me to be, Yours sincerely, Th. Tillottson.

From General Morris. Butternuts 15 March 1809

... I have been anxiously looking my dear friend for a line from you, not having had the pleasure of hearing a word from you since you left us. We hope you and the young ladies reached home in safety. Just at the time of receiving the happiness of the visit from you and your daughters, I began to flatter myself and thought I saw through the dark cloud of democracy that has enveloped our unhappy country for years past, a dawning to cheer the spirits, that we should again, ere long, have the light of sober reason and correct principles, to save us from our then impending fate. But although I had seen several evidences of a return to good sense,—and loss of confidence of the people in the miserable Embargo tools—who with Jefferson presided over the destinies of the nation—yet when I came to converse with you, I lost confidence in my own judgement. Now however I can with pleasure assure you, that we begin in a degree to realize the fond hopes and expectations I then entertained. Things look more favorable when I tell you that at the late Town meeting, we gained 14 Supervisors, federal, out of 20, a number we have not had in years, and we hope for Assembly. The mail this week will bring us an acct of the rising of Congress, and the last expiring struggles of the most detestable and Jacobinical house of Representatives of that body that ever this country was, or I hope ever will be cursed with again. If they have not plunged us into war with Great Britain, we may bless our stars, and our country may hope to be saved. My family unite with me in affectionate [190] regards to you and Mrs. Foote, and all your children. Your friend and comrade, Jacob Morris.

  • Three letters from John Suydam, all on political hopes. I give the last.

Kingston March 21, 10 at night

Dear Sir. Mr. Elmendorf has just returned from Albany, and brings the information that Philip Cosine has resigned for senator, and that Elisha Williams or J.R. Van Rensselaer will be that candidate. We will of course send you tickets by the next post, should you feel that conveyance safe. The mail on Friday will bring us the name of the person agreed on. Van Vechtens speech, &c., accompany this.
Most truly yours John Suydam.

From Harmanous P. Schuyler. Albany March 29, 1809

Dear Sir. We send you some packages containing Lyon's letters which we think may be judiciously distributed among the moderate democrats, and add some other papers. I am in haste Dear Sir, Your obt. Servant Harmanous P. Schuyler.

From Elisha Williams, A letter too long to copy, with discussion of what sort of an address would reach the greater number of people, where to distribute bills, and ending:

. . . We groan under the Embargo. The word itself is a vote in our favor. In your county it will be less unpopular. . . The exchange of candidate for Senator is as you wished it to be. Most affectionately Yours, Elisha Williams.

From Abram Van Vechten. Albany April 6, 1809 [131]

Dear Sir. I rejoice that your county is so well organized. It is important at this season to bury all private differences. Your brother committeeman is I believe perfectly understood here. Our friend the Judge thinks pretty much on the subject as we do. Our committee is very industrious, and if we fail it will not be for lack of exertion, but we have the most sanguine expectations. I am Dear Sir, Yours most sincerely Abram Van Vechten.

From Philip J. Schuyler. Albany April 8 1809

Dear Foote. . . . Should have written before but politicks and other concerns have made me put off till to- morrow. Our reports from the state are much more favorable than for many years. . . . When we meet again, Heaven grant that we may speak of our successful labors. Yours as ever, Philip J. Schuyler.

The Closing Years

  • I much regret to say that I have nothing from this one of April 8, 1809, until the one following from Governor Clinton, March 4,1818. Although differing in politics, Dewitt Clinton, at this time Governor of New York, and Ebenezer were very good friends, as see the extract from one of the many small memorandum books kept by Judge Foote, all now lost, except one to which I am denied access. But one leaf I have is interesting in connection with Governor Clinton's letter, as it was he who made one of the appointments.

1816

Land Advertisement, Hartford Connecticut Courant, 4 January, 1816

Lots No. 21, 25 and 26, in a tract granted to Gen. John Lamb and others on the north side of the Charlotte River in the County of Otsego; together with 13 farms in the 13th township, Chenango County, and 10 farms in the 6th Township, Madison County. Information respecting the lands in Chenango, may be had of Isaac Foote, Esq. of Smyrna; and respecting those in Madison, of John Foote, Esq. of Hamilton. Indisputable titles will be given by the subscriber.

Ebenezer Foote. Arbor-Hill, Delhi, Jan. 4, 1815

1818

From Governor Clinton. Albany 4 March 1818

Dear Sir. Your letter gave me . . . pleasure, because the esteem of estimable, and the praise of laudable men are in my opinion, the rewards as well as the [193] evidence of at least . . . The course which I have marked out for myself will be with a single view to the honor and prosperity of our Country. I have lived long enough to know that the only solid foundation of character, is to consult the public good, regardless of the denunciation of bad men, and the conspiracies of folly and vice against purity of reputation, and elevation of views. I am with perfect esteem, Your most obedient servant Dewitt Clinton.

1819

  • Early in the 1900's I met Mr. Smith, then editing the "Delaware Gazette," Delhi, who said to me: "I have just found in the Gazette wood house, in the bottom of a barrel, a valuable book, in which you will be interested, and why or by whom it should have been put there, is a very singular thing." We discussed the matter, and mutually agreed that so malicious an act should be dealt with. I was much occupied but supposed of course that Mr. Smith would see that the book should not again be lost, and as the appended article appeared in the next number of the Gazette, I delayed trying to see the whole book until after Mr. Smith's death. I found it was not at the church, and I have never since found anyone to admit having seen it.

The following is taken from a slip cut from "Delaware Gazette," 1905:

"By the Editor. A valuable record. Accidentally there came into our possession on Monday a book which for many years has undoubtedly been regarded as lost. It contains a complete record of the acts of the vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church in this village, from Sept. 13, 1819, to July 5th, 1851. The first page reads as follows":

1819. We certify that at a meeting the congregation who have heretofore worshipped at the [194] Courthouse in Delhi, according to the rites of the Protestant Episcopal church in this state, met for the purpose of incorporating themselves into a church by such name and style as shall be adopted, and also for electing two wardens and eight vestrymen, and transacting other necessary business, holden at the courthouse aforesaid, on Monday the 13th day of Sept., 1819, pursuant to notice already given, according to the statute in such case made and provided. The Revd D. Huntington in the chair. The meeting proceeded by ballot to choose two wardens, and eight vestrymen, and on estimating the ballots, it appeared the following persons were duly elected.

Wardens—Ebenezer Foote, Samuel Sherwood.

Vestrymen—Gideon Frisbee, Benjamin Barlow, Samuel L. Judson, Thomas Landon, Frederick P. Foote, Oliver Peak, Jabez Hitchcock, and Homer R. Phelps. 1819, Oct. 11.

It was resolved that the name of the church be St. John's Church, Delhi. In the year 1831 the church appears to have been completed, and the thanks of the vestry were presented to Levinus Monson, Esq. (Hobart), for his services in obtaining a liberal and munificent donation from Trinity Church, New York City. Said donation consisted of $1,000 and a stipend of $125 (missionary).

Why good, kindly Mr. Smith should have neglected to put the book in the church again, or if he did, how the miscreant who endeavored to destroy it the first time, should have been tempted more successfully to do the work a second time, we cannot know.

The church was not completed in 1831, but sufficiently so to hold services, but without, alas!, the prime mover, Judge Foote, who had died in 1829.
  • I find among my papers the following marked, [195] "copy," evidently taken from the lost book, and for some reason copied.
At a convocation of the vestrymen of St. John's Church, Delhi, holden at the Courthouse in Delhi on Monday the 13th day of Sept. Anno Domini 1819. The Rev. David Huntington in the chair. On motion of Mr. Sherwood resolved: that Ebenezer Foote be, and hereby is, appointed a delegate from this Church to the State Convention of the Episcopal Church. Extract from Minutes. Selah R. Hobbie, Secretary.

1812

1813

1814

1815

Letter from Frederick Foote, Arbor Hill, to his father, Ebenezer "To the care of Mr. J. Baldwin Merchant No 161 Broad-Way New York—" 11 June, 1815:

Arbor Hill, June 11th, 1815
Dear Father I arrived at home safe Friday. the horse that was sick is well. [I] the only difficulty was the business of the water in Catskill. for he got better immeadiately when we got were there was good water—
Mr [Leal?] paid that money you spoke of to Mr. Atkinson and took his receipt. Joel has absconded. in consequence of our discovering some more money which he took the money was taken out of Margarets trunk. there were seven half Dollar pieces that he toock we have got all the money back from those persons who he let have it — I wish you would try if you please to get him on board of a vessel, if he should be brought back.
Mr[s] Hathaway has not yet returned, but as soon as he does I will let you know — we are all well.
I am sir with esteem your affectionate Son — Frd. P. Foote—

Letter from Frederick Foote, Delhi, New York, to his father, Ebenezer, New York, 19 June, 1815:

Arbor Hill June 19th, 1815 Dear Father
Mr. Hathaway has returned with his Carriage, but I believe that Steel wants to purchase it as he calculates to take Mrs Steel to the sea shore if she is able to travel that distance of course I think it is doubtfull if I can get it to bring you from Catskill with unless you should buy it — and that I would not advise you to do, because you will have to pay $200- for it, and all down, and there may be one got in New York that has run one or two year, that is a good deal lighter will answer our purpose better — and will not cost more than $100 — which is no small difference — Pleas to let me know whether I must fix the waggon to bring a [load?] with — or for you to [] in, or, if Steel will let me have the carriage [] then I must take it or not. provided he will not charge to much for the journey —
Joel has not yet returned. and I hope never will it is now better than a week since he went of — we are all tollerable well, and am extremely glad to hear that you and MaMa, are in such good health — I am sir your affectionate son Frd. P. Foote

N.B. We have Purchased the Lot of Sherwood for $210-. to be paid 1st next May and we have rented the shop for $15. for year — which pays the interest —

1817

Philadelphia Saturday Dear Pa—
This is the most difficult piece of business that I ever undertook in my life. it is impossible to form any idea, of the difficulty that ixists in selling lumber hwen the market is so low, and the probability its being over stocked[t] — the board Merchants seem to have no great liking to me, of course I stand but a poor chance with the rest of them — since I have been here I have been a good deal unwell, but, have used all my exertions to sell at some price, but have not been able to get a single offer, as the board Mernt are not disposed to purchase unless they can get a great bargin — There has been a few sales of the best of lumber but no other. [Part?] sold his yesterday for $20 — including his curled mapel, cherry, and pine — taking all together at that price — curled mapel sells for $60- and cherry for $35 There was three men examined the rafts yesterday but did not feel disposed to make any offers till next week — I have seen two others this morning who have promised to looke [at them?] on Monday or Tuesday. Phelps has gone to see an other of them — in the back part of Citty — who is a very [] Man — so, among them all I am determined to get [w/mill?] of them next week — Phelps will be able to [] a more general description of the situation of the lumber business here than I can in a Letter he will [leave/have] this on Monday or Tuesday as I am now able to attend to it myself and want to incur as little expense as possible — I shall leave this place as soon as possible — for I wont [fancy] it much — be pleased to give my love to all — I am your affectionate son — Fredr P Foote —

1818

1819

Bibliography of Foote Family Sources

Letters and Papers of Ebenezer Foote; 1795-1799

Foote Family Papers, 1820–1861