Washington Decr. 7. 1838
My Dear Wife,
I don't know why, but it is
almost impossible for me to realize that
it is so short a time since I left home.
I suppose it is the great distance at
which I am, and the great numbre
of new people I have seen. For every
purpose except becoming somewhat
acquainted here & being in the way of being on Committees I might as well have
remained in Salem untill this time.
The House after being together about
half an hour yesterday, adjourned to
Monday next, when I suppose busi-
ness will really begin. There is a
great deal of etiquette here, and cer-
tain rules are established, for general
convenience -- one is, for members of
the House to call on the President,
the heads of Departments, foreign
ministers, and such Senators as they
desire to cultivate an acquaintance
with. Accordingly, I made prepa-
ration this morning by procuring a stock
Mr. Van Buren, who of course received
us very politely. He recognized me at
once, and was very agreable, -- but
said nothing striking or worth repeat-
ing or remembering. Mr. & Mrs. Sibley
called while we were there, & they invited
me to go the rounds with them, and we rode all
over Washn. & Georgetown, leaving cards
at the residences of all the heads of Departments,
the foreign ministers, the Atty. Genl. &c &c
We called at Mrs. Madisons -- one of the
most celebrated ladies in the U. States,
you know -- but she was unwell and could
not see us. We also visited Pre Mr. Adams.
I have but little more of this sort of business
been much improved since
I was here -- many buildings have been erec-
ted and it has a much more City-like ap-
pearance. The Capitol has been finished &
the enclosure around it has been greatly
enlarged, and ornamented with trees &c
It is a magnificent place. The views from
The Presidents House and the grounds
around it, have also been much improved.
I wonder if the day has been as fine in
Salem as here. The weather has been de-
lightful. Nothing can exceed the beauty
of this morning. I was walking some time
before sunrise. Tomorrow I intend to try my
luck on horseback. I wish my horse was here.
I suspect I am as well situated
as I could possibly be, in this place. It
is about as far to the Capitol as from my
house to my office. Our Landlady,
Mrs. Auld is very keeps her house in
perfectly good order, and she keeps an
excellent table. There could hardly
be a more agreable mess, -- I wish
you were here, with Mrs. Sibley -- a
very sensible, pleasant woman.
My chamber is not so large as I should
like, and the price is larger than I like,
$14 a week!! But I could not do better.
Tomorrow, I expect to hear from
home. If I had been detained a day, I shd
have been in the cars when the dreadful colli-
sion happened, on the road between Phila. &
Baltimore. I should be delighted to receive
a letter from you, my dear wife. Love to the
children. Tell them to write often. I wish
is. Mr. Phillips I suppose has
taken my place. I hope he will find
it as peaceful, and comfortable an of-
fice as I did.
My seat in the house, is the one
left. I don't believe I can hear a word.
I did not understand one syllable
of the little that was said, yesterday.
And as to speaking -- I am sure I shall
never attempt it in that place.
Mr. Cushing did right to come on
in season to select a good seat.
Many enquiries are made
about Mr. Phillips. He was really
very much respected in Congress &
highly esteemed by some of its best
Your truly affecte. Husband,