Letter to Mary Collamer, January 14 1844
I cannot attempt to give you a journal of all my proceedings since I left home but I will state you the ordinary proceedings of a day. Fire is made in my chamber in such season that I am able to rise shave & dress & read my chapter in good season, before breakfast, which we finish about nine o clock. By ten o clock, three days in a week, I go on committee at the committee room at the Capitol. I there attend to business until twelve when session commences in the house & where we stay until four o clock, at which time the house generally adjourns. Four o clock is our dinner hour so that it is at this season of the year near sun down when we have some dinner. We spend the twilight in the parlor & between five & six o clock tea is there served round. It is in the evening between seven & nine that members call on each other & make short visits, never over an hour. The rest of the evening we spend in our own rooms, alone & this is all the time being after eight, or nine o clock in which I have to read, write letters, prepare reports &c.
I have considerable business sent me from various parts of my district which
requires me to go to the departments at the other end of the city, the General Post
Office, the Treasury, the
War or Navy Department or the Patent Office. In relation to those cases, I take the mornings I am not on committees. Saturday evening, I go to the congressional prayer meeting. This is entirely composed of members of congress of the different sects of the Evangelical church, and in all does not amount to 25 - & of those not over 15 are ever present at a time. We pray for ourselves, in our present condition, for our families & our country. It is attended by me with pleasure & I trust with benefit.
And now, as to others. Six members at this hour have, at present, their wives here & five have not. Three of those gentlemen whose ladies are here live in this vicinity, that is, within seventy miles. One of these ladies has two children with her & another has three all under five years old. These are ladies of all gentlemen of wealth, but, they are plain sensible ladies of no ostentations. Three of them are members of the church. They spend most of their time in their chambers. They are in the parlor just before & after meals & in the evening until about nine o clock. They seem to have very little visitings. Member ladies call on each other but have little intercourse, so far as I can learn. They go shopping some & occasionally visit the Capitol & stay an hour or two as there are ladies galleries in both the house & Senate.
Gentlemen are occasionally invited to dine out & they go & even go to
evening parties and dance without their wives, especially the younger men. Much of
all the visiting here is done by pasteboard, that is, by card. The members board in
, that is, in companies of from two to twelve, in
all parts of the city and their intercourse with the
has not thus for been much, this session.
The weather continues mild & the inhabitants say it is an unusually mild winter here.
My health is now pretty good, for me & better much than ten days since.
I wrote last week to William to call on Mr. Wright and if he his sons health was sufficiently firmly established he might come on & take the place of private instructor & I send inclosed a letter to E. Wright & requested our immediate. I mention this that if my former letter has not come to hand this may be immediately attended to.
I have Ellens letter and it was very interesting to me & she has much improved in her hand. It will be best that she write often to me. It will do her good. I wish she would w rite me every week & tell me all the domestic incidents in the village & family.
I you a draft, which has been delivered and, as part of my , for $120. Hand it to Mr Johnson & he will give you the money for it.
I have received a letter from Edward
Mary inquires if she must put M.C. to my name on a letter, in order to save postage. I say she need not do it.
Give my love to our children Affectionately Yours,J. Collamer