The Papers of Joseph Henry


50. TO HARRIET HENRY

My Dearest

Yesterday as I informed you I was engaged nearly all day in writing out my programe of the organization of the Smithsonian Institution and in getting it copied to day I shall devote in part to the Smithsonian papers and tomorrow if nothing prevents I shall start for home. I do not think however that you need expect me before Friday.[A] I will write a line to day to Mrs Ludlow[1] telling her that I shall be in the city on Thursday and that she is expected to go to Princeton with me on Friday.
I went to bed last night a little after nine slept well and now feel in good condition for the duties of the day. I am writing this while the servant is brushing my clothes.
I have just finished a letter to Mrs L[2] and have informed her that you had been quite unwell and that unless she made her appearance in Princeton with me I should possibly be received very coldly and that you would be in danger of a relapse. I have informed her that she must be ready with her family to start on Friday at the fartherest. I do not know who are to accompany her and therefore I used the expression "you and your's." Will. I suppose will have his establishment in good condition and I think it will be well to get the addition to the seat I suggested made as soon as possible. It should be small not more than
Fig. 1st
eight inches across just sufficient for the person who[B] drives to sit on and made with a toung a litle less in width to shove into two cleats on the under side of the present seat. To make the fastening stronger a strap of iron may be screwed across the under side of the front of the seat as a b in the Figer which represents the under side of the seat turned upwards. Perhaps the whole may be most easily fixed by three straps of iron see Fig 2nd
Fig. 2nd
screwed upon the lower side of the seat and into which the toung of the drivers seat may be thrusted slid.
3 o'clock I have just returned considerably tired from the Mall—the house I though of hireing and the patent Office. The foundation of the building is commenced but little progress has yet been made the workmen are waiting for the supply of water through the pipe which is about being put down. I went from the grounds to the house but could not get entrance. I found however my way into the garden which is very beautifully laid out and all things around appears in good condition. From the house I went to the Patent office to look after some of the effects of Smithson sent up to the Cost Survey Office. Among the articles which was found was the grat coat of Smithson—a queer looking article.
12 o'clock at night—I have returned from Col Tottens. I call this evening first at Mr Walkers found him apparently well but unable to speak or rather the physican had forbidden him to use his voice. He was apparently pleased to see me and read with apparent interest my schedule of the organization of the Smithsonian Institution.
From Mr Walkers I went to Col. Tottens had a long talk with him on the subject of the Smithsonian and gave him a copy of my plan of organization with which he was well pleased and entered warmly for him into the plan items of the scheme— All the house apparently have gone to bed but I could not resign myself to sleep until I had devoted a few minutes to you— I recollect that in my letter of yesterday or the day before I spoke of needing your sympathy your support & assistance but do you not require mine—have you no duties as the mistress of a Family as the mother of my children which do not require my assistance. You have many—many cares—many days of suffering—many days of hard labour and many moments of vexation from bad servants—from the thousand ills of house keeping and yet you are on all occasions to be at the bidding of Husband and children and nothing can be done without mother—verily you are a pet but my feelings tell me the pet is sometimes sadly abused. You know however bad as we use you that we do love you and that though no excuse on our part will I know go a great ways towards reconciling you to the Lot of Woman.

From yours as ever

Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
    [1] Anna Ludlow and her husband, John, were old friends of the Henrys from their Albany days. Henry Papers, 2:338n.
    [2] Not found.
    [A] Altered from f
    [B] Altered from to