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TO JOSEPH ALSTON.
I learn, with a good deal of regret, that the mountain plan is abandoned; at least, that no measures are taken or meditated for its execution. I should cheerfully acquiesce in any reasons founded on motives of economy, convenience, regard to law business, or personal influence; but the solitary one assigned to me by Theodosia is, that you and she '"may be near papa and mamma"'. Of this, too, I acknowledge the force; yet it might be considered that the mountain residence was intended for certain months only, and that during the residue (the greater part) of the year, papa and mamma might indulge their fondness. I had seen, or fancied that I saw in this project the assurance of health to yourself and wife, and sound constitutions to your children; profit in the location; amusement and economy in the residence, and an increase of your influence and connexions. How far it might comport with professional engagements, if seriously pursued, was not considered. One personal motive, I confess, might have influenced my judgment; the pleasure I had promised to myself in passing the summer with you, and in projecting little schemes of improvement and occupation. It is, indeed, with some hesitation that I shall visit your coast after the middle of May, and there is now no prospect of an adjournment of Congress before that time. Nevertheless, I shall come, though 'at your hazard', which, you know, would be a great consolation to me if I should be caught by a bilious fever in some rice swamp. The situation of Theodosia, so far from being an objection, ought, in my mind, to be an additional and strong motive. With her Northern constitution she will bring you some puny brat that will never last the summer out; but, in your mountains, one might expect to see it climb a precipice at three weeks old. Truly, I mean to be serious, and beg to know whether you have, in fact, resolved, and whether the resolution has, in good faith, been the result of reflection or of inertness. You will pardon the surmise. I allow something for the climate, much for the influence of example; and then, considering the uncommon warmth of the winter! it must be fatiguing even to talk of any thing requiring exertion.
The rapidity, however, with which your house has been furnished and established ought to redeem your wife from any share in this reproach. On the 22d of February I find her fully occupied in those concerns, with hopes of accomplishing the object by the time of my arrival. She was then, however, taking an eight days' repose, that she might renew her labours with more vigour at the expiration of that time. But, again, gravely I inquire where I am to find you about the middle or last of May. I presume, in the place where this will find you. Locomotion is labour.
I entreat your prompt attention to the enclosed memorandum, from my good friend Mr. Law. He says that Chisholm has never informed him of the disposition of the indents mentioned in his letter, of which the enclosed is a copy. Pray inquire and advise me. The thing is of small moment; but I should be gratified in the occasion to show an interest in his concern, for I am daily overwhelmed by the multiplied kindnesses of himself and wife.
The gazettes will tell you better, I suspect, than I can what is doing in the House of Representatives. The sloth with which things move is a daily source of vexation to me, as tending to protract the session. I dine with the president about once a fortnight, and now and then meet the ministers in the street. They are all very busy: quite men of business. The Senate and the vice-president are content with each other, and move on with courtesy.
Your Rutledge will be in Charleston, in the course of this month. I hope you are on terms of civility with him, for I receive from him the most marked politeness. He will tell you of many strange things. God bless you ever.
- Aaron Burr
- Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 2., by Matthew L. Davis, 1836