Letter to Mary Collamer, February 4, 1844

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Washington City Feb 4, 1844Mary,

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I was gratified with receiving, last evening, yours of Monday last. I had entertained some anxiety in relation to the epidemic & was gratified to hear it was not, apparently, making much progress. Heaven grant it may be stayed & subdued. You say Mrs. Hutchinson was a case of relapse & now most of the fatal cases in Norwich last winter were so. I cannot but feel for the Howe family; express my to Mr Howe, in his trouble.

Last Wednesday noon Edwin Wright arrived here & called on us at the Capitol. I there introduced him to the gentleman for whom I sent for him. The usual way of going to his place of destination from here is down the Potomac River in a steam boat but the river is now frozen so hard that the boat cannot go. This is unusual & it was hoped would continue but two or three days & Edwin was advised to stay. That evening he called at my room & we went to our parlor & he spent the evening with the mess. Next morning I went with him to the Patent Office & showed him the curiosities there & showed him the various rooms, pictures & library in the capitol until I had to go to the house at 12 o clock. He spent the evening at my room. It continuing extremely cold & an opportunity offering to take passage by land Edwin left here at two o clock Friday morning on the offward & felt well.

He had brought on a box for Helen Anderson but going on unexpectedly he left it with me. Yesterday I look in to fun at Georgetown. Helen was saved unwell with a sore throat but was

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was able to come down and see me. They a great examination at their school next week & her sister informed me that at its conclusion she should visit Baltimore next Saturday. I see Mrs Mayheay; so I occasion to send my respects.

You ask for a description of the party at our house. It has been indefinitely by the illness of two of the in the mess who are now better.

No doubt you hear & read in papers much of the discarding & irregularity of our House of Representatives. It is indeed a disorderly body, that is, it is not silent & attentive to what is being said. It is difficult to hear & very few men or subjects will engage attention. Most of the members are engaged in reading, writing letters, documents or in private conversation, not generally in whispers. But these are not the irregularities of which I speak. It is the personality abuse & superciliousness in which some indulge. Our topic of irritation is abolitionism & on this the abuse is principally levelled at Mr Piddings, of Ohio, Mr Adams being too old a man to be the object of personality. But the truth is the democratic party which has much more than two to one of the whigs in this house has a very considerable number of bullies & rowdies in the house & whatever you read & hear of personal abuse is almost entirely confined to them. It is also true that quite a large proportion of the Speech making in the house is by such men or by men more distinguished for strengths of lungs & vociferation than for superior intelligence.

But the instances of personality are, after all, infrequent & quiet over & the disgraceful to those concurred very little disturb the general harmony of the body & the accounts of them by letter writers are much exaggerated. So far as my observation extends I think a member

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or speaker of ordinary prudence will seldom be attacked with personal abuse. You say you wish me to send home more newspapers, I will attend to the suggestion.

I perceive by all the papers from the north that you are having a winter of great severity, & it has been quite cold here a few days. I regret the loss of your house plants that reminds me to tell you there is in the back yard of the Patent Office a grand house containing hundreds of choice & beautiful flowers. I visited there with Edwin Wright & we found great numbers in full blossom, but I think the air in it very hot moist & unwholesome.

Say to your mother that I recd. a few days since a letter from Mr Cutter at . He says he suffers much with the asthma that Mrs Cutter is well & sends her love, for Mrs Collamer.

I hope you will find your new cooking stove convenient. You know it requires some practice to get the hang of a new cooking stove.

I wish Ellen to me in her next letter one of her marks, worked in her best .

I have written this on a larger sheet in order to give you a sample of the different kind of paper which is furnished us.

Give my respects to Mr wright also to Mr Cushing, when you next see him also to Capt Simmons and to Elizabeth Wright & Mary Williams.

are two ten dollar bills. They were sent me to pay to the patent office but would not go there so I had to furnish other money of my own & I now send them to my family.

Miss Mary Collamer

I have this morning recd a letter from Mr Wright for which thank him, & I will answer it soon.

With my love to my wife & children & grand children I must conclude Your affectionate FatherJ. Collamer