The Papers of Joseph Henry


My Dear H

I was much gratified to day in receiving a package of little letters[1] from the little girls. I was agreably surprised to find one from Helen and another from Harriet.[2] Tell the young ladies that they gave me much pleasure and that when I get a little more time I will answer ↑the↓ letters. This will not take very much trouble provided my letter to each[3] resembles those I received for though the chirography was some what various yet the news contained in each was remarkable the same. The letter from[B] Puss was fortunately accompaned by a translation which enabled me make out its meaning. Will's letter was not containd in the package but I presume it will be fourth comming.[4] I am quite anxious to hear something about Louisa but nothing was mentioned relative to her in the letters. I presume from this that she is about the same— I am still very busy about the Smithsonian the Regents have met every day since wednesday but they have been constantly engaged in examing plans of buildings and on monday will probably decide on a plan the feaver was high to day for a large building but the consideration of the subject was posponed until tomorrow I should say monday. I am not very certain as to the result. I found on my[C] return that there was so much feeling on the subject of a building that with Bache I concluded reluctantly that it was best on the whole to give way a little and suffer an appropriation of 150 thousand if we could not get less; on this consideration I ceased to make any farther effort against the building and the consequence was that to day the indication seamed to be that the sum appropriated would be 200 thousand.
I have therefore been engaged this afternoon in renewing my efforts to allay the feever and I think with some effect. I felt at first some what depressed but after some conversation with Judge Breeze and Judge[D] Tawney (Judge of the supreme court of the US) who are warmly with me I felt quite cheered. I have not suffered any of the affairs to perplex or annoy[E] me. I have resolved to first study carefully what is my duty and then to do it fearlessly relying on a conscience void[F] of offense for justification of my acts leaving the result to the direction of a kind providence.
I wish very much I could be with you if it were only until tomorrow morning. My cough has almost entirely left me the weather has been plesant to day and I think there is a prospect of its being[G] considerably warmer. I left Bache this afternoon quite down in the mouth about the smithsonian.[5] I do not feel myself ver[y][H] much troubled. If after having done all in our power to direct the affair in the proper channel I leave the result to Providen beleving that the failure is for the best in the long run or it would not be permitted to take place.
Give my love to Louisa if she be still in the world to Stephen Grandmother all the children ↑&↓ Charlotte Meads and receive for yourself the assurance that I am as ever most sincerely your own—
Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
    [1] Not found.
    [2] Henry meant to write "Mary."
    [3] Henry to Helen Henry, January 30, 1847, and to Mary Henry, January 31, 1847, Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
    [4] William Henry to Joseph Henry, [January 29, 1847] (dated "Friday," with a file note of "February 1847"), Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
    [5] Perhaps a pun: Bache had two teeth pulled a few days earlier.
    [A] From internal evidence and the postmark (January 25).
    [B] Altered from for
    [C] Altered from mis
    [D] Initial parenthesis deleted.
    [E] Altered from anoy
    [F] Altered from p
    [G] Altered from beang
    [H] Paper torn.