This 1805 letter was written by Samuel Green (1768-1859), the son of Timothy Green (1737-1796) and Rebecca Spooner (1743-1806) of New London, Connecticut. Samuel was married to Mary Starr (1781-1869) in 1803. Samuel was the editor and owner of the New London Gazette, a newspaper started by his father.
We learn from the letter that Green was traveling in a stage to Washington City from Philadelphia by way of Baltimore in company with New York Governor George Clinton (1739-1812). Clinton was no doubt on his way to the Nation’s Capital to assume the office of Vice President for President Jefferson’s 2nd term. The oath of office was administered on March 4, 1805 to Clinton — a frail but politically powerful public figure.
The substance of this letter centers on the impeachment proceedings of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase (1741-1811) then underway in Washington City. A staunch Federalist, and convinced that President Jefferson and his democratic allies in the Senate were attempting to oust all of the Federalist judges, Chase railed against the administration and was subsequently impeached for allowing his political views to color his decisions. He was ultimately acquitted by the Senate, however, which this letter states was the verdict predicted by Alexander James Dallas (1759-1817), a U. S. District Attorney residing in Philadelphia, who must have been with the entourage.
Addressed to Mrs. Mary Green, New London, Connecticut
February 23, 1805
We arrived here this evening after two days fatigue from Philadelphia. The roads are very deep & dangerous, but owing to Gov. Clinton’s being in the carriage, the drivers were very careful. We shall pass tomorrow (Sunday) here & on Monday proceed on for Washington.
This evening Mr. Dallas of Philadelphia spent the evening in our room and we had much political talk.He is immediately from Washington and expressed his opinion that Judge Chase would be acquitted by 9 Federal & at least 3 Democratic votes. He declined giving his opinion whom the Democrats would be but said the names of 5 or 6 had been mentioned. The pleadings he says will not probably be closed before Monday or Tuesday. It is therefore probably we shall be present when the opinion of the Senate is taken. This article is designed for particularly for our father. There is no other news from Washington.
Tell Nathaniel that I wish him to forward to Shepherd Kollock, Esq., Elizabethtown, N. J., 3 or 4 dozen of Davoll’s Chiths [?] bound, by the first opportunity and to send them to the care of Thomas S. Arden, Bookseller, [No. 186 Pearl Street,] N. Y. with a request that they may be forwarded as soon as possible.
I am all impatience to see you again and if I am disappointed in hearing from you at Washington, shall hardly know how to forgive you. So long a separation is painful indeed, but we must make it up when I return. It is an alleviation that I can communicate a few thoughts to you and be assured nothing I meet with gives me so much pleasure as thinking of & writing to her I so much love.
[Jared?] is in good spirits (tho’ just now sleeping) & grows fat every day. Remember me to all friends & be assured, my dear Mary, of the most ardent affection of your absent friend, — S. Green