Washington Decr. 12 --1838

My Dear Wife,

I felt last evening after the arrival
of the mail without any letter for me,
that I would not write again untill
I shd hear from home -- but I can't
keep that resolution. I forget how
short a time it is since I left Salem,
I have been in such a bustle &c. & I sup-
pose that the children delayed wri-
ting untill Sunday. Tell them from
their Father, that this was not right.
They should remember that I am
far away, and that nothing here
is comparable in contributing to my
happiness, to hearing from those I
have left at home. I not only felt
disappointed, but had some anxiety --
but I ought not to complain. -- I
have set them an evil example of dil-
atoriness & postponing from time to
time what might & ought to be done
at once, because it may be done at
any time. You must write often -- if
you can only say the welcome
words "All's well". But enough of

Tell Ann that her friend Atherton
is the poorest and meanest slave
there is in Congress. They could not
find a party hack at the south ready
to do their dirty work, or he being ready
was pitched upon to do it. You will
see by the Intelligencer which I shall
send with this, the resolutions which he
introduced, no doubt in pursuance of
a caucus arrangement, on the subject of
slavery, and then had the meanness
to make a speech in support of them &
to close by moving the previous question --
the effect of which is to stop the mouths of
every body else. This was mean and contempt-
able, beyond all expression, & is so con-
sidered by every honorable man in the
House. He has sold himself, soul & body
to party, and will be a poor creature all
the days of his life. Think he will favor
Ann with his speech?     We had a stormy
time yesterday. I had no idea of the
latitude taken in remarks in the House.
The House of Reps. of old Mass: is a
much more dignified assembly. -- Business is done with much more regard to order.
-- They are running down there
by following the bad example of Con-
gress.     Wise of Virga. actually
brow beat & frightened the Speaker
yesterday. The Speaker told him
he was out of order more than
twenty times, and in a voice more &
more tame and subdued, while Wise
grew more & more violent, & shook
his locks & his fist & kept on. The whole
scene yesterday was deeply humilia-
ting, and distressing to one who is grow-
ing old, & has children whom he loves
& a Country which he loves, and
which he shall soon leave. I could
scarcely restrain myself from rising & speak-
ing yesterday -- but I could not. -- The
previous question had been sprung &
besides, it is best for me to be a "looker
on", at present. I find that hearing
by the ear at a distance is one thing,
& seeing & hearing on the spot, is another.

I shall make you a political
Lady. -- At any rate, you are my poli-
tical correspondent, and my friends

who would know what I am about
& what is going on, must apply to you
as the fountain head.

I have attended the first meeting
of the committee upon which the Speaker
has so kindly placed me -- this morn-
ing. -- Several of the members have
been on the Comee before, & from their
account of the matter, as well as
from all the information I can obtain,
it is the most laborious & most to be avoi-
ded committee in Congress! Now is
not this too bad? But I must take
my lot as it comes & do my duty. -- If
I had not learned that lesson in the
earlier part of my life, events which
teach me so impressively, the uncertainty
of life, and which call upon me so loudly
to feel, and act under a sense of my acc-
ountability, will have been lost upon
me, unless I now learn it. My days will pass on,
quite methodically. I take a long walk
early in the morng -- and the mornings are
lovely. -- I shall then be in my chamber [in?] or the
Comee room untill 12, then to the House -- then
to dinner, sometime between 1/2 past 3 & midnight
I suppose -- & after dinner, when I can, walk,
then to my chamber and write letters &c. -- This will be
I suppose my tread-mill course. I find an absolute
disinclination to making calls & going into Society & fear
I shall not do my duty in that way. Goodby my dear -- I
shall not send messages at any time.

Ys. ever,
L. S.
[The following postscript appears along the right-hand side of page 4]


P. S. I shall be a lucky fellow if I escape
the gout -- but "I'll try."

25.1 cm x 20.2 cm

From the Saltonstall family papers