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Glimpses o> 
Colonial Society and 

at Princeton 




College 1766-1773 



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5^3fi^^S:;.f^*X i r;* Nassau 




By One of the Glass of 1763 





Mills 



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LIBRARY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 



Cla&s 



GLIMPSES 

OF 

COLONIAL SOCIETY 

and the Life at 

PRINCETON 
COLLEGE 

1766-1773 



By W. Jay Mills 

THROUGH THE GATES OF 
OLD ROMANCE 

True romances of American life in the 
original Colonies North and South, and 
during the early days of the Republic. 
Charming stories of love and adventure 
told in Mr. Mills s happiest vein. With 
many illustrations from drawings by John 
Rae, and from rare prints. 

I2mt. Decorated cloth, $f.jTO, net 

HISTORIC HOUSES OF 
NEW JERSEY 

This handsome volume, the only one on 
the subject, describes the most interesting 
and important historic residences in a State 
rich in memories of the past. The valuable 
and hitherto unpublished material it con 
tains renders it a book of national interest. 
With nineteen photogravure illustrations 
by John Rae, and from photographs and 
prints. 

8vo. Decorated cover, $5.00, net 




WILLIAM PATERSON 
Governor of New Jersey 

By Mrs. B. S. Church, from an earlier picture in the 
possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson 



GLIMPSES of 

COLONIAL 
SOCIETY 



AND THE LIFE AT 



Princeton College 

17661773 

by One of the Class 
OF 1763 

Edited by W. JAY MILLS 

AUTHOR or " HISTORIC HOUSES OF NEW JERSEY," " THROUGH THE 
GATES OF OLD ROMANCE," ETC. 



x 

ILL USTRATED 
j 



PHILADELPHIA & LONDON 
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 

MDCCCCIII 




Copyright, Nineteen 
Hundred and Three 

BY W. JAY MILLS 
Published March, 



1VH3N.13 



Printed by 

B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 
Philadelphia, U. S. A. 



To 

ALL LOVERS OF 

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY 

AND ITS ILLUSTRIOUS PAST 
THIS BOOK is DEDICATED IN 

MEMORY OF 
WILLIAM PATERSON, 3* 



CONTENTS 



Page 

INTRODUCTION i 3 

PART I 

A SERIES OF LETTERS, GIVING MUCH ENTER 
TAINING KNOWLEDGE OF COLONIAL LIFE, 
WRITTEN BY WILLIAM PATERSON TO JOHN 
MACPHERSON, JR., 1766-1773 

Letter I Contains Pertinent Reflections on the Study 

of Law 27 

" II Contains References to Samuel Greville, a 

Philadelphia Actor 29 

HI Contains a Picture of Perfect Friendship 31 

" IV Contains a Description of Jacob Rush, of 

Philadelphia 34 

^ V Contains Charming Gossip of the Times 37 

" VI Contains a Catechism on Lucy Lawrance, 

of Maidenhead, now Lawrenceville, 

and Miss Young, of Boston 40 

" VII Contains a Dissertation on the Charms of 

Miss Rebecca Redman, of Philadelphia 43 
VIII Contains News of the College of New 

Jersey 47 

IX Contains Remarks on the Wedding of 

William Schenck 49 

7 



CONTENTS 



Letter X Contains References to the Kisses of Laura 

Lee and Betsey Randolph 53 

<* XI Contains more about Cupid 56 

" XII Contains an Account of Commencement 

at Princeton 58 

" XIII Contains a Reference to the Illness of 

William Da vies 62 

* XIV Contains more Gossip of the Times 64 

" XV Contains Musings on Leaving a Boyhood 

Home 68 

" XVI Contains an Account of a Search for 

Cunningham s Dictionary 71 

" XVII Contains Reflections on the Usefulness of 

Beaux and Monkies to Lonely People 73 

" XVIII Contains an Account of Some Visionary 

Ladies 7 7 

XIX Contains Accounts of Philadelphia Beauties 
and a Eulogium on a Woodland 
Nymph 82 

XX Contains a Treatise on the Value of Good 

Family 88 

" XXI Contains Pictures of English Society and 

College Society 91 

" XXII Contains an Imaginary Picture of a Fash 
ionable Man in London 98 

" XXIII Contains the last on the Subject of Love 

and Miss Rebecca Redman 101 

8 



CONTENTS 



Page 

PART II 

" THE BELLE OF PRINCETON, BETSEY STOCK 
TON. " A POEM WRITTEN AT NASSAU HALL, 
1772, BY WILLIAM PATERSON 109 

PART III 

A SATIRE ON BETSEY S COLLEGE SUITORS. A 
CONTINUATION OF "THE BELLE OF PRINCE 
TON," BY WILLIAM PATERSON 119 

PART IV 

LETTERS ON THE SUBJECT OF LOVE (" PLA- 
TONICK AND SELF-LoVE* ) TO AARON BURR 
AND HENRY LEE, JR. 127 

PART V 

LETTERS BY WILLIAM PATERSON TO VARIOUS 
GENTLEMEN 

A Letter to Mr. John Davenport, of Princeton 1 3 9 

A Letter to Mr. Luther Martin, of Maryland 141 
A Letter to the Rev. Theodrick Romeyn, of Ulster, 

New York 144 

A Letter to Dr. Barnet, of Elizabeth-Town, New Jersey 148 

PART VI 

A SENIOR S LETTER, IN 1786, TO A GENTLEMAN 
" ACTING A SUPERIOR PART ON THE THEATRE 
OF THE WORLD" 153 

9 



CONTENTS 



Page 

PART VII 

LETTERS CONCERNING THE COLLEGE FROLICS 
OF THE LAST PATROON OF RENSSELAERSWYCK, 
AND OTHERS 

A Letter from William Paterson, the Grandfather of Stephen 
Van Rensselaer, to Henry Kollock, a Tutor at the 
College of New Jersey 163 

A Letter from Dr. Samuel Smith, the College President, 

to William Paterson 164 

A Second Letter from William Paterson to Henry Kollock 167 

A Letter from the Father of Stephen Van Rensselaer to his 

Father-in-law, William Paterson 168 

PART VIII 

SONGS SUNG AT THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY 
IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, FROM A PATER 
SON MANUSCRIPT 

Cupid Triumphant 1 7 3 

Pauvre Madelon 1 7 r 

Jersey Blue 177 

Lullaby ^g 

Roger i ?9 

Song ,8, 



10 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Page 

WILLIAM PATERSON, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY. By 
Mrs. B. S. Church, from an earlier picture in the 
possession of Miss Emily K. Paterson Frontispiece 

JOHN MACPHERSON. From the oil-painting in possession 

of his great-niece, Mrs. Julia M.Washington Homer 38 

VERSE FROM AN ORIGINAL POEM WRITTEN BY WILLIAM 
PATERSON WHEN IN THE LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD 
STOCKTON, OF PRINCETON 48 

RICHARD MONTGOMERY. From the painting by Chappel 60 

THE STOCKTON HOUSE, PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY, WHERE 

WILLIAM PATERSON STUDIED LAW 90 

AARON BURR. From a drawing by Albert Rosenthal, 

after the painting by Gilbert Stuart 130 

HENRY LEE, JR. From the portrait by J. Herring, after 

Stuart 1 34 



1 1 



INTRODUCTION 

THE following papers belonged to 
William Paterson, a graduate of 
the College of New Jersey in 
1763, who succeeded the famous 
William Livingston as governor of New Jersey. 
The latter part of the eighteenth century saw no 
more brilliant figure than that of this youth, whose 
name deserves to rank high on the honor roll of 
illustrious Americans. Attorney-general of New 
Jersey during the Revolution, a framer of the 
Federal Constitution, senator of the United States 
from New Jersey, governor of the State, and at 
the time of his death an associate justice of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, his life was 
one of remarkable achievement. Until a few 
years ago most of his correspondence was care 
fully preserved, and in his great oaken letter-chest 
one could find almost a complete record of his 
life from youth to old age : Essays prepared at the 
College of New Jersey in 1760; poems written 

3 



INTRODUCTION 



on portions of old law-briefs, bearing dates when 
he served as a law-apprentice to Richard Stockton ; 
his earliest and last love-epistles to Cornelia Bell, 
the fair Jersey girl who became his wife ; packets 
of letters from a host of faithful friends, together 
with a tear-stained copy of the order for his tomb 
stone. 

William Paterson was born in County Antrim, 
Ireland, December 24, 1745. Shortly after his 
birth his parents emigrated to the New World, and 
for a period of about three years wandered here 
and there through the colonies before adopting a 
fixed abode. In the Paterson papers we find it 
recorded that they journeyed to the hamlet of 
Princetown in the spring-time of 1 750, and be 
coming so enamoured with the place, purchased 
one hundred acres of land in the centre of the set 
tlement for a permanent home. Six years after the 
family became residents of this isolated spot on the 
King s Highway connecting New York City and 
Philadelphia, President Burr of the young College 
of New Jersey removed his students from Newark 
to Princeton, to shield them from the temptations 
and allurements of the nearby city of New York. 

H 



INTRODUCTION 



William Paterson was matriculated in that in 
stitution in 1759 or 1760, receiving the degree 
of A.B. on September 27, 1763. Of his class 
numbering nineteen graduates twelve became 
ministers. As family tradition points to the fact 
that in his studies he was the most successful of 
that little band in college, so his subsequent career 
far eclipsed that of any of his fellow-students. 
With the exception of Tapping Reeve, who mar 
ried the daughter of President Burr and afterwards 
acquired fame as an eminent Connecticut jurist, 
his latter life compared to theirs was like a star 
amidst an assembly of candle-lights. A youth 
of obscure parentage who by his industry and 
self-denial fitted himself to receive the highest 
honors of his State, he deserves one of the laurel- 
strewed places in the history of the early republic. 

Standing before Nassau Hall to-day once the 
most stately college-building in America the 
mind grows retrospective. Drinking in that mys 
tical, intangible something which seems to hallow 
its ancient walls, our imaginations lead us back 
to the Princeton of William Paterson s time, a 
Princeton less flourishing than that which wel- 

15 



INTRODUCTION 



corned the tidings of the Revolution ten years 
later. The trees on the campus were then only 
young saplings. On the main thoroughfare there 
reposed a tavern, a general store, and several small 
tinkers shops. Among the travelled gentry of 
the time the village was quite noted for its silver 
smiths, over one of whose doors hung the sign 
of Elias Boudinot, the father of Mrs. Richard 
Stockton, and nearby a member of the Paterson 
family followed the same trade. There the stu 
dents loitered during recesses, running to meet the 
" Flying Wagons/ as the great coaches from New 
York were called. 

A hundred and fifty years have worked a great 
transition in Princeton College life. When Wil 
liam Paterson was a fourteen-year-old freshman the 
students were obliged to attend their classes in a 
style of dress prescribed by President Davies. 
Every youth during his first days at college was 
set to copying the long parchment of laws. Fines 
were imposed for absence from church or prayers. 
No student was permitted to keep his head cov 
ered within ten rods of the president and five 
rods of the tutors. Something of the formal, old- 

16 



INTRODUCTION 



time collegiate manners can be learned from the 
fact that Samuel Stanhope Smith, when president, 
refused to speak to his own nephew for a period 
of six months, owing to the unfortunate young 
man s breach of etiquette in calling him " Doctor," 
instead of " Doctor Smith." The college course 
itself was not as extensive as the present curriculum 
of the average high school, and lapses in spelling 
and grammar are to be found in the letters of the 
faculty as well as of the students. 

Two years after leaving college, and still residing 
at his father s house in Princeton, William Pater- 
son aided Robert Ogden, Luther Martin, Oliver 
Ellsworth, and Tapping Reeve in the formation of 
The Well-Meaning Club. The Stamp Act had 
just been passed by the British Parliament, and 
this forerunner of the Cliosophic Society could 
be said to be the outcome of the sentiment of 
patriotism. 

In the year 1770 The Well-Meaning Club was 
reorganized under the name of the Cliosophic 
Society. Paterson was then living at New 
Bromley, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, but 
on his frequent visits to his home he acted as an 

17 



INTRODUCTION 



amicus curi<e to the new organization of young 
literati. Under the name of " Lucius, The Occa 
sional Reader," he wrote many poems for the little 
band of students which held its first meetings in 
one of the upper rooms of Nassau Hall. There 
he would resort of an evening when the candles 
were snuffed in the busy Stockton office, where he 
usually spent the daytime. We can picture him 
to ourselves standing in the centre of the floor, a 
slight, animated figure, reading his quaint " Belle 
of Princeton" to a jolly crowd of bewigged and 
beruffled students. Many laughs of appreciation 
must have been accorded to his witty innuendoes, 
aimed at the bugbears of their lives. " Mark the 
conduct of this tutor, the Iyer Smith !" we hear 
his ardent voice ring out. With what derision his 
hearers listen to his recital of the actions of the de 
tested Smith during a recent fire in a house near the 
college. Soon the society is in an uproar. " Great 
Paterson ! We will leave it at his door in the morn 
ing," some daring spirit no doubt called out. Then, 
as the mirth grows louder, the stentorian tones of 
the Doctor fall upon the company, with his " To 
bed ! To bed !" 

18 



INTRODUCTION 



" Lucius" was the pseudonym adopted by Richard 
Stockton in his charming correspondence with 
his wife ; and it is a remarkable coincidence that 
both student and master should have used the 
same now de guerre. Although Richard Stockton 
is credited with having given voice to the re 
mark that Mr. Paterson was so "industrious he 
would some day be an honor to his profession," 
it is refreshing to know that he sometimes turned 
from his dull Blackstone to consort with Calliope. 
Old law- briefs still retain two of his early poems. 
On a deed giving John Moses possession of a 
tract of land are the following pastoral verses : 

"How sweet to listen to a purling stream 
Whose falling waters lull me in a dream. 
How sweet to read, and if the fit should take 
To court the muses by a sunny brake. 
How soothing sad to hear yon turtle-dove 
Deplore the loss untimely of her love. 

" How plaintively, and oft, she mourns the fate 
Of her too tim rous and unhappy mate. 
Hark ! Now ! the little warblers tune their throats, 
Welcoming the morning with their notes. 
19 



INTRODUCTION 



The mingled melody from every spray 
Conspires to add new lustre to the day. 
All one, and all, doth in the chorus join. 
Pleasure how sweet, and concert how divine. 

On a portion of an old letter we find some un 
finished verses addressed " To Sally," which the 
youth may have hidden in a musty tome as some 
stern and pompous client entered the Stockton 
office. 

"Hail, beauteous maid ! thy charms inspire 
Old age with transports and unwonted fire. 
Roving and young, the pride of every Heart, 
Nature sure form d thee with her utmost art. 
E en Nassau s sons, so dazzling bright thy eye, 
Revere in silence, and in silence die. 

" Sally, of thee I sing : the belle, the toast ! 
Aurora s self not half thy charms can boast ; 
Lofty thy look and graceful is thy mien. 
Love, God of raptures, in each feature s seen. 
You * * * * * * " 

William Paterson was the popular man of his 
class in college, and during a period of ten years 
after graduation he retained an active interest in his 

20 



INTRODUCTION 



alma mater. He was the friend and idol of many 
a struggling youth, his character being singularly 
warm-hearted and lovable. For Aaron Burr he 
conceived a remarkable attachment, lasting until 
death. That merry youth did not hesitate to 
accept his aid with his essays, and the Burr exercise 
on dancing, published in Mr. Davis s " Memoirs 
of Aaron Burr," was in reality the work of his 
friend William Paterson. 

Among the pleasantest features of college life 
are the friendships formed there. The fraternal 
feeling engendered and fostered by mingling in a 
large company of young men of like age and 
purpose is generally proof against the world s 
strongest vicissitudes met with in later years. No 
young man ever turns his back upon the college 
where he has passed the time which carried him 
over the bridge of youth to manhood without 
learning something of the meaning of universal 
brotherhood. A friendship formed at the College 
of New Jersey was that of William Paterson and 
John Macpherson, Jr., who was graduated three 
years later, in 1 766. These two youths could be 
compared to Nisus and Euryalus, although, one 



21 



INTRODUCTION 



lived on long after the other had been pierced by 
steel as cruel as that of the Volscian horsemen. 
It is impossible to read the series of letters written 
by William Paterson to the college-mate he loved 
so devotedly, without being touched by the perfect 
picture of affection they disclose. John Mac- 
pherson was the eldest son of Captain John Mac- 
pherson, the builder of Mount Pleasant, the man 
sion where Benedict Arnold entertained so lavishly 
after his marriage to Miss Shippen. The Mac- 
pherson family was one of the most prominent 
in Pennsylvania, and young Macpherson enjoyed 
all the advantages wealth and position could 
bestow. This makes the attachment of the two 
friends all the more remarkable. They corre 
sponded with each other for a period of seven 
years. The last letter was written by William 
Paterson, at Raritan, New Jersey, September 15, 
1 773, and contains characteristic raillery on Mac 
pherson s passion for Miss Rebecca Redman. That 
fair belle of old Philadelphia could not have 
returned John Macpherson s love, or else must 
have been a heartless coquette, for she flits through 
the recorded pages of the Quaker city s society as 

22 



INTRODUCTION 



one of the most frivalous figures during Sir William 
Howe s regime. Two years after Paterson penned 
his last words to his friend " Do, dear Miss (Miss 
Redman), suffer your adoring swain to take a 
ramble into the country for a few days" the cruel 
drama of the Revolution was on, and Major John 
Macpherson had fallen by the side of his chief, 
General Richard Montgomery, in the assault on 
Quebec. Of him the historian Bancroft wrote: 
" In the pathway lay Macpherson, the pure-minded, 
youthful enthusiast for liberty, as spotless as the 
new-fallen snow which was his winding-sheet ; full 
of promise for war, lovely in temper, dear to the 
army, honored by the affection and confidence of 
his chief." 

It is hoped that the Paterson papers will reach 
all true lovers of our past. As a portrayal of 
New Jersey colonial life by the pen of a Princeton 
alumnus they are unique. As a record of the 
college friendship of two famous Americans the 
twenty-three letters from William Paterson to 
John Macpherson are unrivalled. 

The earliest exercise of the famous Cliosophic 
Society preserved at Princeton University bears the 

23 



INTRODUCTION 



date July 2, 1 792. William Paterson s " Belle of 
Princeton" was written twenty years before this 
time, during one of the most interesting periods of 
American history. Princeton should be proud of 
her famous son. His devotion to his college was 
remarkable, and was kept up until the close of an 
active life. Side by side with his great achieve 
ments for his State and the federal government we 
will place his long-hidden records of early Prince 
ton life. During his last days, in the fall-time of 
1806, his thoughts were often with his college. 
His path in life had led him to the altitudes and 
surrounded him with friends, but Princeton and 
the long-lost college-mate John Macpherson were 
his dearest memories. 

W. JAY MILLS. 

February, 1903. 



24 



p A R r i 



SERIES OF LETTERS 

giving much entertaining knowledge 
of Colonial Life 

W r i t t e n by 

WILLIAM PATERSON 

7 o JOHN MACPHERSON, J R . 

1766-1773 



So word by word, and line by line, 

The dead man touch d me from the past, 
And all at once it seem d at last 

His living soul was flash d on mine." 



T\8 R A R 

Or TH 

UNIVERSITY 




-,,_ T 
ETTER 1 



Contains Pertinent Reflections on the Study 
of Law 

3 ist Deer DEAR JOHNNY. 1766. 

I AM very much obliged for your half dozen 
lines, as they serve to usher in an epistolary 
correspondence. A conversing on paper 
with an absent friend I esteem one of the 
greatest pleasures in life : be assured then, dear 
Johnny, that I shall take peculiar pleasure in receiv 
ing and answering your letters. The only unease 
[j/V in the copy] I feel at present is, that I m appre 
hensive our literary chit-tat will be of short dura 
tion, for you inform me, that in a few days you 
should move to Philadelphia, to study law. 1 If so, 
it is highly probable you either will be so absorbed 
in the dulness of the law, or so enchanted with 
some Dulcinea, that poor pilgarlic will be left in the 
lurch. For my part I am tired heartier " of Vernon 

1 A week before this letter was written William Paterson 
reached his majority. 

27 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

and ventris and all the damned entries." To be a 
complete lawyer, is to be versed in the feudal system, 
and to say the truth, I am not very fond of being 
entangled in the cobwebs of antiquity. Sic Lex est, 
is what every plodding pettifogger can say, but to 
dive into the spirit, requires intense application and 
assiduity. But of all the sages of the law, pre 
serve me from the pedantic, rambling, helter-skelter 
Master Coke. Such eternal egotism and dictatorial 
pomp breathe through his works, that I lose all 
patience in reading them. He writes up strictly to 
the injunction of Horace, for he carries us "to 
Thebes, to Athens, and the Lord knows where" I 
doubt not but you have made great proficiency, 1 
and now are, a profound casuist in working out 
distinctions without a difference, in clouding truth 
with ambiguity, and in mouthing with surprising 
volubility, a muster role of law phrases, which like 
Sancho Panza s string of proverbs, you have always 
at command. The following couplet of Pope, 
portrays well the character of an expert lawyer. 
In a nice balance, truth with gold he weighs, And 
solid pudding against empty praise. My letter is 
of decent length, therefore adieu. 

WM PATERSON. 
28 



LETTER II 

Contains References to SAMUEL GREVILLE, 
a Philadelphia actor 

Princeton 2 6th January 1767. 

DR SIR: Capt Walcott handed me 
your letter, from the bulk of which, I 
pleased myself with the hope of great 
entertainment, but parturunt monies, 
nascitur ridiculus mus. The bulky outside covered 
some pigmy lines, about an inch apart, and any 
thing, good lord, to fill up half a side. Pray, Dr 
Jack, for once exercise your invention, and let the 
fruits thereof appear in goodly quantity in your 
next. Write often, and as often as you write, say 
a great deal. The fact is however, you are so con 
foundedly lazy, it is almost impossible for you to 
put pen to paper, and when you do, you begin and 
end in the same breath. Your first letter apolo 
gised for shortness, because you were out of the 
way of news, but when you went to Philadelphia, 

29 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

a place teeming with newsmongers, you were to be 
more entertaining. But never a barrel better her 
ring: both letters were equally short, and alike 
deficient in news. I live in a little country village 
where incidents worth communicating are scarce. 
If any ever happen, my letters are at treble the 
length of yours. Poor Greville, 1 what a noble sub 
ject on which to moralize, " in truth tis pitiful, most 
wondrous pitiful." Sam s fate reached Princeton 
long ago, before he appeared on the stage. You 
might have been more particular, and informed me 
what induced him to take that unhappy course. 
Was it because his finances were reduced to low 
ebb, or was he smitten by an actress, as is not 
uncommon ? I hear he plead poverty, in order to 
obviate which, some gentlemen offered to sustain 
him, during his continuance with Galloway. Per 
haps his high spirit could not brook that. I am 
Dr Sir Etc. WM PATERSON. 

1 Samuel Greville was an actor 01 some prominence in Phila 
delphia. He studied a year or two at the College of New 
Jersey, but was never graduated. 



3 



LETTER III 

Contains a Picture of Perfect Friendship 

May i ith, 1767. 

WHETHER it is the whisper of 
the Guardian Angel or the freaks 
of a disordered imagination, I can 
not say, but for some time past, I 
have been pained with forebodings of your being 
sick, and which in spite of my efforts, haunt me 
wherever I go. Some unfortunate incident has oc 
curred, some unforeseen affliction happened, or my 
friend would have written. He knows I love him, 
he knows I am pleased to hear of his good fortune, 
he knows I am delighted to correspond with him, 
why then is he so remiss in answering my last 
letter ? He used to be speedy, and never till now 
has he delayed so long. Now three months have 
intervened since I wrote, and four since I have re 
ceived a letter. Judge Dr Sir, if I have not just 
ground to be uneasy. No life is so irksome, so 

3* 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

racking as a life of suspense ; pray therefore, write 
by the first opportunity. But perhaps Martin, by 
whom I sent my last letter, has neglected to de 
liver it, though I am convinced he meant to call 
on you on his way. Perhaps you were not at 
home, and if so, Martin would have left the letter 
with your fellow-clerk, Rush, or some other of his 
acquaintance, so that there was little probability of 
its miscarrying. Strong in the belief that you 
must have received it, I have designed more than 
once to maul you for neglect, but the fear of your 
being sick, or of the missal failing to reach you, 
always bridled my pen. We are very ingenious in 
finding excuses for persons we love : we lay hold 
of every straw, and catch at every surmise however 
fanciful, to alleviate whatever may appear either a 
slight neglect. The pleasure I took in receiving 
and answering your letters, and the hope that our 
correspondence would be lasting, heightened the 
fear of that coming to an end so soon. But per 
haps you keep so closely to your studies, that you 
cannot spare a moment for writing to a friend. I 
hinted in my first letter, that our correspondence 
would not continue for any long time, as I feared 

32 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

you would be immersed too deeply in the law, to 
perform your part of the engagement. But has 
Law such a Lethe as to make its students forgetful 
of its friends ? I hope not. If it has, I shall bid 
adieu immediately, to a study so unsocial. I am, 

Dr Sir Etc. 

WM PATERSON. 



33 



LETTER IV 

Contains a Description of JACOB RUSH, 
of Philadelphia 

May 2 1st, 1767. 

YOUR kind letter, Dr Jack, proved 
doubly welcome, for not only did it 
remove my apprehensions concern 
ing your health, but also convinced 
me fully that I had a warm place in your affec 
tions. I regret your late letter has not come to 
hand. 1 Burt lodged with me while in town, and as 
he told me he had been in Philadelphia, I was very 
inquisitive, and almost stunned him with questions. 
Among other things, he informed me particularly 
concerning the circumstances of Sam Greville, and 
gave me a more adequate idea of the merit of the 
respective actors, than I had before. What sort 

1 In 1767 Trenton was the nearest post-office to Princeton, 
and letters frequently went astray. A letter was advertised 
there in 1755 directed to Richard Paterson, Princeton. 

34 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 




of performance is the play, which was written by a 
Son of Philadelphia College, and which, if I mis 
take not, has been introduced lately on the stage *? l 
I heard it read a few days ago, in a cursory way, 
but was not able to form a judgment on its worth : 
I think however, that the author has misnamed it : 
had it been baptised a comico-farcical dramatic 
piece, it would have been more consonant to the 
general scope. It was represented but once, if I 
can trust my memory, which is tantamount to 
being damned. Do you know who wrote the pro 
logue and epilogue? The first is good enough 
for the play, but the other is the most despic 
able that ever appeared in print. I used to curse 
anathematise the poetical conundrums, epigrams, 
squibs, etc., of our Nassovian Bards. But I find 
they make as good musick as their neighbors : 
whether they have more common sense, is a moot 
point. Nunc est formosissimus omnis. Pray, Jack, 
try if you can spend a few days in the country. I 
mean here at Princeton. I can offer no greater 
inducement than seeing your friends, and among 

ir This play was < The Disappointment," acted in Philadel 
phia in May, 1767. 

35 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

the rest, your very humble servant. Mr Dickin 
son, I dare say, can dispense with your attendance 
for a week or so, especially as he has such a num 
ber of clerks. You will please to present my very 
best compliments to Master Rush. 1 I desire to 
keep on amicable terms at least with that gentle 
man, for you know he is to be the Speaker of the 
Hon. House of Commons. For my part, I think 
he bids fair to fill a large two armed chair, as Ser 
geant tells me he is at least two feet more globular 
than he was twelve months ago. I am, Dr Sir, 

yours very sincerely 

WM PATERSON. 

1 Jacob Rush was a brother of Dr. Benjamin Rush. He was 
graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1765. On com 
mencement day he pronounced an oration on Liberty. He 
entered the profession of the law, and became chief justice or 
Pennsylvania. 



LETTER V 

Contains Charming Gossip of the Times 

Monday Night, almost 12 oclock, July 2Oth 1767. 

DR SIR : I sent you a few days ago, 
a large pacquet, delivered to a very 
trusty person. So set the letters to 
Boyd and Martin afloat as soon as 
possible. Yesterday morning, Mr. Stockton re 
turned, 1 and the most material piece of news he 
has communicated yet, is that Dr Witherspoon has 
refused, absolutely, to accept of the Presidency. 
There is such a crowd of visitants to welcome him, 
that it is impossible almost to obtain any satisfactory 
information concerning political affairs. I should 
write more but am too fatigued from a pleasure 
ride to Trenton. 2 The company was agreeable, but 

1 After the return of Mr. Stockton, Rev. Samuel Blair, the 
youthful divine, was chosen president by the trustees. He 
recalled his acceptance on an intimation of a change of mind on 
the part of Dr. Witherspoon. 

2 The pleasure excursion referred to was a straw-ride. 

37 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

the rattling and jolting of the waggon, were suffi 
cient in all conscience, to mortify a person of such 
a silent turn as your friend, and then it rained 
besides on our return. For the future I m resolved 
to bid adieu to roving, and continue within the 
smoke of Princeton, since such ill-hap awaits my 
rambling. And yet on my conscience, I believe I 
would go again to morrow, could I go with the 
same company. But glad I am that such inviting 
company rarely occurs. You may perceive that I 
write with my usual freedom, though complaining 
of fatigue. This difficulty requires to be solved. 
Attend. The girls have been teasing me about 
being in love, and in fair truth, the young lady, my 
Amanda, is so very handsome, that it was easy 
to believe it myself. It gives me great pleasure, 
when I am said to be in love with sense and beauty, 
because it is an indirect way of paying a compli 
ment. Alas poor Thomson, 1 I have been so much 
employed, that I forgot the priest : it is neither 
polite or devout to put him in the rear. He was 
on trial at Cranberry some three weeks ago, and 

1 James Thomson, a tutor for eight years, from 1762 to 
1770. 

38 




JOHN MACPHERSON 

From the oil-painting in possession of his great-niece, 
Mrs. Julia M. Washington Horner 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

gave us a preachment yesterday, in which he sur 
passed my expectations. His style was neat and 
simple, his matter well arranged, not at all flighty 
or vague. He was articulate and spirited, his 
accents just, and emphasis generally well laid. Of 
course he was not without failings. Who is? 
Errare est humanum. The Clock strikes Twelve. 
Adieu. WM PATERSON. 

To MR McPHERSON. 



39 



LETTER VI 

Contains a Catechism on LUCY LAWRANCE, 
of Maidenhead, now Lawrenceville, and 
Miss YOUNG, of Boston 

August 5th, 1767. 

YOUR two letters of the 22d and 2Qth 
of July were handed to me by El- 
mendorff. Things are discussed best 
by method : begin we then with 
letter the first. This is soon answered. I am 
obliged to you for sending Martin s letter, and hope 
you made a hearty meal. Upon my faith Jack, I 
believe Epicurus is your Lord Coke. Now then 
for letter the second : this I forsee requires a long 
answer, and great attention, and in my eye, is the 
finest letter you ever wrote. Miss Lawrance 1 and 
Miss Young ; 2 what magic there is in names ! I 
have huged [sic] and kissed this letter over and 

1 Lucy and Nancy Lawrance were the daughters of a promi 
nent resident of Maidenhead. 

2 Miss Young was a visitor from Boston. 

40 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

over again with as much pleasure and satisfaction as 
Tom Jones did his Sophia s Muff. While blessed 
with the company of such charming creatures, I 
neither " envy Jove his sunshine or his sky." 

" Place me where never summer s breeze, 
Unbends the glebe or warms the trees, 
Wherever lowering clouds appear, 
And angry Jove deforms the inclement year. 
Place me beneath the burning ray, 
Where rolls the rapid car of day. 
Love and the nymph shall charm my toils, 
The nymph who sweetly speaks and sweetly smiles." 

What ! You ll swear that I am over head and 
ears in love, and ready to run distracted. I hope 
not, for then I shall be in great danger of being a 
wit, if what Dryden says is true, " Sure madness 
nearly is to wit ally d." A mere jingle of words, 
and that is all, without the least appearance of truth, 
and therefore not applicable to this case. Now for 
answers to your questions. "Poor Will! How 
does Lucy Lawrance do ?" Why very well I hope. 
" Does not your heart go pit-a-pat at sight of her 
name ?" Nay, as to that, I will not say positively, 
if there be such a thing as loving on hearsay, I 

4 1 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

believe I do, for you must know I am so far from 
the happiness of being acquainted with her, that I 
have never seen her, propria persona, tho the night 
before your letter came, I had a most delightful 
dream about her, and my word for it, she looked 
as beautiful as an angel. Does not this remind 
you of Don Quixote s Dulcinea ? " How often a 
day do you go to see her w ?" Not once: this is a 
pretty sort of catechism enough. " How many 
days do you stay at a time ?" Not one : there now, 
I hope your curiosity is fully satisfied. You insist 
on knowing who went with me on the Trenton 
frolic. Let me say, Miss Young, Miss Lawrance, 
not Lucy, but Nancy, Miss Newell, Miss Norris, 
with a long et cetera. You mistook Nancy for 
Lucy, a slight error. You guessed however, 
amazingly well, considering you had nobody to 
assist you, but Miss Young and Miss Elmendorff. 
What a happy thing it is, my friend, you do not 
live in New England, for if you did, you would be 
tucked up most certainly for a wizard. What is 
Greville going to do? Pray tell me about him. 
My compliments to the boys. 

I am yours sincerely, 

WM PATERSON. 
4* 



LETTER VII 

Contains a Dissertation on the Charms of 
Miss REBECCA REDMAN, of Philadelphia 

October 7th 1767. 

VERY DR JOHNNY: An anxious 
concern for your safety, and a dread 
lest you pore over one delightful ob 
ject, with too much ardor and close 
ness, induce me to write you so soon. Hearken 
then to the instructions I impart, and give ear that 
you may be wise, so shall you shun the paths of 
the foolish, and walk in the way of understanding. 
Madness arises from too close an attention to a 
particular object, and therefore we should be careful 
not to pursue any thing, however alluring, with too 
much eagerness and intensity. Examples might be 
adduced, but you can recollect easily, many bright 
geniuses, who have lost their senses thus foolishly. 

43 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

I fear lest my friend may add to their number. 
There is a variety of objects in a city like Philadel 
phia to draw attention, but I am more afraid of the 
effect of a single glance from Miss R-dm-n 1 
upon my friend, than all the fashionable amuse 
ments of the Town. But as you have lucid inter 
vals still, I advise you to shun that particular 
attraction as much as possible, and to beware of 
her inviting smile. Never let your attention be 
fixed, but keep roving around. You told me 
when we talked this matter over, you are of an 
amorous complexion, and apt to slide imperceptibly 
into love. My opinion is you should fly to the 
country. Come to Princeton, and we will go to 
Mr Lawrance s, and every where else but Philadel 
phia. Distance may wear off the soft impression, 
and my friend thus recover his usual serenity and 

1 Rebecca Redman was a daughter of Dr. Thomas Redman, 
a prominent physician of Philadelphia. The Redmans played 
an important part in the social history of early Philadelphia. 
Becky Redman, as she was popularly called, was one of the 
belles of the " Meschianza." Major Andre was one of her 
admirers and addressed poetry to her. She married Colonel 
Elisha Lawrence, in December, 1779. 

44 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

flow of spirits, unless he is so far gone that time 
will but make the impress more deep, like channels 
are worn in the brooks. I know from what you 
have said, you are beyond your depth. Your self 
captivity has given me great uneasiness since you 
informed me. I shall keep it under the rose. Rush 
has an admirable knack in dissecting love sick hearts. 
Apply to him, or if you would rather not let him 
into your secret self, be so good as to inform me, 
and I will cheerfully undertake the task. In order 
to divert your attention from Miss R-dm-n, I 
have inserted the following questions, which please 
communicate to Rush, and let me know your 
answers. A obtains Judgment against B, and 
issues Execution thereon, which the Sheriff returns 
thus : " I have levied on the goods of B to the 
value of 6 which remain etc." A vend. Exps. is 
ordered. B dies before the issuing of that. Will 
the decease of B preclude a Vend. Exps. from 
issuing immediately, or must a Sci. Fa. be issued ? 
A sues B who prevails on C to be his Special Bail. 
C dies. What must be done ? Can the Exr s of 
C take the same steps with respect to B, that C 
could if he were alive *? Or must A demand better 

45 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

bail of B ? Or does not the death of C discharge 
his recognisance, and consequently his exr? When 
is heir a word of limitation, & when of purchase ? 
I am Dr Johnny, yours etc 

WM PATERSON. 



LETTER VIII 

Contains News of THE COLLEGE OF NEW 
JERSEY 

Sunday Afternoon : 

DR SIR: Your two letters of i6th of 
last month and yth of this, came 
to hand much about the same time. 
Mr Boudinot, 1 to whom you com 
mitted the care of the first, neglected to leave it on 
his way through this place. It was eleven oclock 
at night when he came to Mr Stocktons, and he 
started early next morning, so that he is pretty 
excusable for his neglect. Had I known of this 
opportunity, I should have answered the questions 
you sent, which now must be deferred. Mr Scudder 

1 Mr. Boudinot was Elias Boudinot, a brother of Mrs. Richard 
Stockton. He played an important part in the struggle for in 
dependence, and at the close of the war, as president of the first 
Continental Congress, signed the Treaty of Peace with Great 
Britain. 

47 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

goes off too early to-morrow, and at this season 
of the year, I do not care to live up to the precept 
of the parent of his Colonial Excellency. Perhaps 
a peep at your Miss Nancy might be a strong 
inducement to look on sunrise these wintry morn 
ings. Pray what sort of weather have you : here 
it is very severe, and ink almost freezes in the pen. 
The boys his young brothers tell me the skating 
is excellent : will this be any inducement to visit 
ing Princeton. Pray contrive matters so as to 
make a Christmas New Years Jaunt. Wither- 
spoon is President. Mercy on me ! we shall be 
over-run with Scotchmen, the worst vermin under 
Heaven. Fresh manship is abolished. The officers 
of the College for the future, are to choose all the 
Orators. A Grammar-School is to be established 
in town, under the inspection of the Trustees. 
Each Tutor has an equal voice with the President, 
in the Government of the College, except when 
equally divided, then the President to have the 
turning Voice. I am Etc 

WM PATERSON. 

To MR McPHERSON. 



4 8 



n > 
n r 



H 

o > 
-* 2 



Z H 



II 




t* 

^ S. 



LETTER IX 

Contains Remarks on the Wedding of 
WILLIAM SCHENCK 

DR JOHNNY " Your two letters of 
Sunday Afternoon and Deer 21, have 
lain unanswered so long, that I am 
ashamed almost to let you know I 
received them." Almost ! there s a word ! Why 
Jack, you should be quite ashamed. But on sec 
ond thoughts, I am at a loss whether to congratu 
late you, on being so virtuous in this sinful age as 
to preserve a little shame, or on your having 
shaken it off so nearly. For the first, I admire 
you most as a man, but as a lawyer, I admire you 
most for the second. To let shame have a place 
in the composition of a lawyer, or if a place, not 
to root it out, would degrade the venerable profes 
sion, and therefore, Jack, you and I should get rid 
of it as fast as we can. Dame Nature indeed, has 
woven it so in our frame, that generally, it requires 
4 49 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

some time before we can wear it away, but this 
should make us more wary and active, lest with 
other habits and qualities of the kind, it should 
grow with our growth and strengthen with our 
strength. But I must quit moralising, a bad word 
Jack, but the first to come to hand. Now for 
your questions. In answer to No i, I shall tran 
scribe a case from Venirs Abrt, Customs of Lon 
don Page 222, cited from Carter, 26 Pasch i 
Wand M in B. R. It was agreed by all that a 
foreign Attachment in London, is to compel an 
appearance of the Defendant ; for if he appear in a 
year and a day, and puts in bail, the garnishee is 
discharged, but without bail, appearance will not 
be accepted. This is quoted also in i Bacon 689. 
So that the bare coming of A to London, is far 
from causing the Attachment to cease. There is 
no foreign attachment Act in this Province, and 
therefore it is a branch of knowledge little under 
stood. By your sending the question, I conjecture 
it must be established in Pennsylvania. The other 
answers are omitted. As to Q 2 of mine, i Roll 
Abrt 931, cited in 2d Bacon 427, is against you 
directly: so is Cokes Jam 641 and 671. As to 

50 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

your Q 3, you did not hit on my meaning, nor is 
it much wonder, for by the manner in which it 
was worded, I find I did not hit upon it myself. 
You ask who is your Nancy ? That is more than 
I can tell. I recollected, after sealing your letter, 
I had made a mistake in the name. Only say 
Nancy, als die to Becky, and I dare say you will 
not plead misnomer. I can account for the slip 
only by supposing that every thing is Nancy with 
me, as it is Becky with you. The Poem said 
to be wrote by J. Tennent, 1 is called Oppression. 
Caleb Cooper who keeps a school at Brunswick, is 
the self same Caleb who used to be at College. 
Last Monday two weeks, Mr Wm Schenck, 2 for 
merly of Nassau Hall, Student, was married to the 

1 J. Tennent was John Van Brugh Tennent, who founded 
the Medical College of New York. He was graduated from 
the College of New Jersey in 1758. 

William Schenck was a graduate of the College of New Jer 
sey in 1767. He studied theology, and married Anna Cum- 
ming, the daughter of a Freehold merchant, three years before 
ne was licensed to preach. Her sister Mary was the wife or 
Doctor Alexander Macwhorter, famous in the annals of old 
Newark, Mr. Schenck was the grandfather of the Hon. Robert 
C. Schenck, minister to Great Britain. 

51 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

agreeable and beautiful Miss Anna Cummins of 
Freehold, who really is a very handsome young 
lady of eighteen. I think I have hit nearly on the 
style of the newspapers in this article. I have 
been reading late numbers of the Chronicle, in 
which the first thing that struck me was a string 
of marriages. What a blessed year is this ! Peo 
ple think of nothing but marrying and giving in 
marriage, and so I close with ending where I 
begun, that is, with marriage. I am Dr Johnny. 

Yours Sincerely 

WM PATERSON. 

TO MR McPHERSON. 



LETTER X 

Contains References to the Kisses of LAURA 
LEE and BETSEY RANDOLPH 

PRINCETON July jist 1768. 

DR JOHNNY : I mean to write you 
a letter, though I have naught to say 
that can give you much pleasure, 
only merely that I am well, and this, 
I am vain enough to imagine, will afford you 
some satisfaction. But be this as it may, certain I 
am, that a tolerable s.tate of health, fills me at least 
with gladness, though I hope not unaccompanied 
by gratitude and a becoming sense of its importance. 
Scarcely if ever, do we form a just estimate of the 
value of a thing until deprived of it, and this is the 
reason that health, tho one of the greatest bless 
ings, is esteemed so little. Mankind are weak and 
feeble enough by nature, without the additional 
weights of luxury and intemperance, but yet 
what silly beings mortals are daily observation 

53 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

evinces, that numbers lend helping hands to their 
own undoing, and hasten the period of their lives, 
by excessive voluptuousness. Hence so many 
youthful valetudenarians, who worn out by intem 
perance and riot, labour under a complication of 
disorders. Such may be called self-murderers, for 
they bring on disease deliberately, and sickness, 
that shatter their constitutions, however hale, and 
thus bring them to untimely tombs. Bless me, 
what a rambling mortal I am ! I have been mor 
alising for a page, when I intended simply to say I 
am well, and heartily glad of it, whether you are 
or no. But the truth is, I was in a serious mood. 
I have been contemplating the vanity of riches, the 
frailty of beauty, the folly of mankind, and the 
emptiness of earthy pleasures, with the gravity of a 
philosopher. I behold the aims of the busy, the 
schemes of the politician, the aspiring hopes of the 
proud and ambitious, the ostentation of the great, 
the conquests of heroes, and even the crush of 
worlds, with the indifference of a Plato or a Soc 
rates. See what it is to be a stoick ! Your letter 
of 2yth June, came to hand a few days after I 
had written you by Mr Halsey. Indeed I was 

54 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

surprised at your long silence, nor did I know the 
reason, until I learned you had gone to Maryland. 
That trip could not have been very agreeable, or 
you would not say you could hardly be persuaded 
to take such another for twenty kisses of Laura 
Lee or Betsey Randolph. Not for twenty ? Why 
you rogue, you should trudge round the globe for 
such delicious pay, for who would not love to kiss 
such dainty dames. I hope you found Miss R on 
your return as beautiful and attractive as ever. I 
am informed Miss Young is about to be married. 
As you live but a few doors from her, present my 
compliments. You do not tell me whether Rush 
was enrolled among the gentlemen of the long 
robe. My respects to him. I suppose he will 
take a second degree in the fall, if the Scotchman 
comes over time enough to preside at Commence 
ment, when I expect to see you also. With 
proper respect to the young gentlemen of my ac 
quaintance, I am, Dr Johnny, yours affectionately 

WM PATERSON. 



55 



LETTER XI 

Contains more about CUPID 

Princeton Sept 6 1768. 

MY DEAR JOHNNY: I am 
ashamed really, that your letter 
of the 4th of last month, has 
remained unanswered so long. I 
thank you for the intelligence concerning Miss 
Young. I have a real regard for that young lady, 
though not of so high a nature as you intimate. 
Whether married or unmarried, my warmest wishes 
shall attend her. But do you think, Jack, that I 
am in love with every pretty girl I see ? There is 
scarcely a town in the Province in which they tell 
me I have not a Dulcinea or two. I wish I could 
say of my girl, be she who she will, what you say 
of yours, that I have as much of her kindness as I 
want. What a happy fellow should I be then ! I 
have been very particular in enquiring about Miss 
R-dm-n, and find she must be a most charming 

56 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

creature. Don t be jealous. The sole reason was to 
become well acquainted with the character of a 
young lady, on whom the happiness of my friend 
depends so greatly. The bulk of lovers dote on 
their beloved objects to such a degree, as to render 
them blind to any imperfection. This is why I 
choose to rely on the judgment of others rather 
than that of yours. Pray, Jack, wait on her to 
Commencement. I long to see whether she is so 
amiable as fame reports : so much for Miss Redman. 
Last Thursday my sister 1 was married to one 
Mr Irwin, so that the truth of the report is deter 
mined, though I never heard any thing of it until 
you mentioned it in your letter. I am, Dr Johnny, 

Yours sincerely, 

WM PATERSON. 

1 This sister was Frances Paterson. 



57 



LETTER XII 

Contains an Account of Commencement 
at Princeton 

Princeton Nov 16, 1768. 

MY DR JOHNNY : I should have 
wrote by Ogden 1 had I known 
of his going so soon. He prom 
ised to accompany me to Bur 
lington, where I was to tarry until his return from 
Philadelphia, but Sergeant 2 offering him a place in 
his chair, the rogue had the grace to accept it, with- 

1 Captain Robert Ogden belonged to a prominent Elizabeth- 
Town family. He was graduated from the College of New 
Jersey in 1765, and was one of William Paterson s fellow-clerks 
in the office of Richard Stockton. 

2 Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, a grandson of President Dick 
inson. He was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 
1762. He became first Attorney-General of Pennsylvania after 
the Declaration of Independence. 

58 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

out so much as acquainting me. You see I had 
sufficient reason for not writing. I was expecting 
a letter from you by the return of Ogden, but no, 
you were too busy, you could not spare a moment, 
the billiard table took up all your time, you 
thought indeed of writing by an opportunity so 
favorable, but could not possibly disengage your 
self from company, and so hoped I might excuse 
you : mighty excusable indeed ! Why Jack, you 
are a most provoking fellow. I have been thinking 
what method would be most likely to make you a 
punctual correspondent, and apprehend I have hit 
on an expedient which will reform you entirely, 
and most assuredly shall put in motion, unless you 
mend your hand, and that quickly. If you prove 
so remiss in the future, I shall have to write at 
instead of to you. Don t you think that will be 
attended with happy effects *? Be this as it will, I 
am resolved to try every method in order to pro 
voke you to be more speedy in your answers if 
possible as I wish you had been at Burlington last 
week. I wanted to see you very much. Rush 
informed me why you did not attend Commence 
ment, and I assure you I felt sensibly the affliction 

59 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

stroke which stepped in to retard you. I am glad 
the consequence was not so bad as I had been led 
to fear, for I am informed your father has pretty 
well recovered, and is in as good a state of health, 
as can be expected reasonably. I should have 
wrote you by Rush, or some other acquaintance 
at Commencement, had I not fairly been tired out 
with the exercises of the day. Late as it is, had I 
time I would give you a detail of Commencement, 
an account of which, no doubt you have seen in 
the papers, but not in all things conformable to 
the truth. I cannot help saying, that although the 
bulk of the young men made a handsome appear 
ance, yet some really fell short of the expectation 
of their friends. Last week I applied for admis 
sion into practice, which was granted readily after 
a slight examination, but I must go again before I 
can be initiated fully. The Governor gives the 
License, and all that remains to be done, is to wait 
for the coming home of His Excellency : he has 
been at Fort Stanwix for some time, treating with 
the Indians. Do you think, Jack, you could order 
matters so as to meet me at Burlington? If you 
can, pray let me know, and I will appoint the day. 

60 




RICHARD MONTGOMERY 
From the painting by Chappel 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

The winter season will set in soon, and so the 
Governor will take care to be at home within two 
or three weeks at the farthest. I am Dr Jack 
Sincerely Yours, 

WM. PATERSON. 



61 



LETTER XIII 

Contains a Reference to the Illness of 
WILLIAM DAVIES 

PRINCETON, Jany zyth 1769. 

DR SIR : I was at Burlington on 
Thursday, one of the days ap 
pointed, but was so unhappy as not 
to have the pleasure of seeing you 
there. The roads were exceedingly bad, the day 
lowering and cold, which for your sake, made me 
heartily glad that you did not venture out, though 
for my own, I could not forbear wishing that you 
would. Billy Davies l has been sick with the pleu 
risy ever since he has been here, though now he is 
on the mending hand, and I believe will be able 

1 William Davies was the eldest son of President Davies. He 
was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1765. In 
the Revolution he attained the rank of colonel in the American 
army. His home was in Norfolk, Virginia, where he prac 
tised law. 

62 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

to set out for Elizabeth-Town next week I ex 
pected a letter by him, but was disappointed, and 
what vexed me the more was, that it is six weeks 
since I heard from you. Adieu, Dr Sir, and be 
lieve me to be, Yours Sincerely 

WM PATERSON. 

To MR McPHERSON. 



LETTER XIV 

Contains more Gossip of the Times 

PRINCETON, February ijth 1769. 

MY DR SIR : Yours by Dr Scud- 
der l has just come to hand, and as 
the best way to atone for past 
offences, is to behave better for 
the future, so I have took up the pen just to give 
you a specimen of my reformation. But why so 
censorious"? Methinks you are very desirous of 
shifting the blame from yourself, for on my con 
science, I believe you should have wrote long ere 
now, especially if it is considered you are in arrears 
so largely. A great part of your letter is unneces- 

1 Dr. Nathaniel Scudder, a prominent physician of Monmouth 
County. He was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 
1751. At the opening of the Revolution he entered actively 
into public life. From 1777 to 1779 he represented New 
Jersey in the Continental Congress. He frequently visited the 
Stockton family of Princeton. 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

sary, altogether : why do you give an excuse now 
for not writing by Ogden, when you apologised for 
it two months ago? But I shall pass over this, 
remembering now what Pope says, "Wits have 
short memories and dunces none." There is a 
line or two quite enigmatical, absolutely incompre 
hensible. For my life, I cannot understand what 
you say about the Dutch School. Is it that you 
are learning the language, or as I am inclined to 
think, a cant phrase among the spirits of the 
town ? If so, it is not wonderful that I am puz 
zled, for it is a million to one, if it extends beyond 
the purlieus of the City. What, my Jack, not 
a word about Miss L-w-c ! Surprising indeed ! 
And more surprising still, not a word about Miss 
R-d-n. Surely I imagined your letters would be 
filled with Loves and Darts and Flames and Ar 
rows. Having access daily to the shrine of your 
Divinity, should make you burst forth all ecstacy 
and song, should make you eloquent in praise of 
your Becky, but far removed from my charmer, it 
cannot be expected that I should be poetick in 
any way in praise of my Nancy. After the man 
ner of Swift, we may " Sing Nancy and Becky and 
5 6; 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Nancy." I shall leave Princeton in the Spring, 
but to what corner of the Globe I know not. To 
live at ease, and pass through life without much 
noise and bustle is all for which I care, or wish. 
One of the principal things I regard is, to be situ 
ated well with regard to friends, and without flat 
tery I can say, the nearer to you, the better, for I 
know not the friend in the world, of whom I can 
be fonder than you. But be the distance what it 
will, I shall be incapable of forgetting you. You 
wish me success if I do not cross the River. 
Rush would call this an hypothetical wish, and so 
worth nothing. If I settle in a certain part of the 
Jersies, that friends would persuade me to do, I 
shall practise undoubtedly in Pennsylvania. Ser 
geant urges me strongly, though indeed, the fees in 
your Province are trifling compared with those in 
ours. A large inducement to crossing the River, 
will be the pleasure of seeing you now and then. 
My compliments to Rush : I hear he drew i oo 
in the Lottery. I give him joy. I hear also he is 
admitted into the practice: if true, I give him 
double joy, and wish him success wherever he 
goes. There is a noble wish, not confined like 

66 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

yours, but unlimited, like Dan Sheridan s long 
nose. I am, my Dr Sir, Your affectionate 

WM PATERSON. 

To MR MACPHERSON. 1 

1 This is the first letter in which the name Macpherson is 
properly spelled. 



LETTER XV 

Contains Musings on Leaving a Boyhood 
Home 

PRINCETON, May zoth 1769. 

DR SIR : I am in daily expectation of 
bidding Adieu to Princeton and re 
moving far back in the country, 
where I shall live mewed up, con 
versing with none but the dead. You may smile, 
but I assure you it is true. It pains me to leave a 
place, where I have spent the greatest part of my 
life, where I have met the most agreeable friends, 
& formed the most valuable connections. I never 
shall think of Princeton without mingled Emotions 
of Pleasure and pain, Pleasure to think how agree 
ably, and I would flatter myself, innocently, I past 
the most dangerous part of Life, Pain, to think 
these Hours and those days, never more would 

68 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

return. The remembrance, and a sad one it is 
sometimes, that once I was happy, will force itself 
upon me now and then in spite of my utmost 
efforts. Were you to see me in one of those 
melancholy fits, when so much Pensiveness and 
Gloom are on my Brow, you would swear I was 
the Knight of the Rueful Countenance. But 
drown Sorrow, for I am tired heartily of this Bion 
Stile. I suppose you have returned by this time 
from the back Courts, and hope the Excursion 
proved agreeable. You informed me you went to 
" please Rush, but expected to find something more 
pleasing than purling streams or blooming Fields, 
or even the noise of Courts, rattling with the Silver 
Sound of Dollars." I can answer you only in the 
Words of Moliere s doubting Philosopher : it may 
be, or it may not be, as all Things are doubtful. 
But do you think really it is so difficult to guess 
what this pleasing Something is, a most ravishing 
Something no doubt that recalls the pretty lines 
of Prior, at the close of one of his Fables, to 
which I refer without quoting, as you are familiar 
with his Poetry. But I must not be too curious 
about prying into your secrets, for it may partake 

69 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

of the Nature of one of the occult Qualities of 
Aristotle, and so will stop right here. Yours Sin 
cerely, 

WM PATERSON 
MR MACPHERSON 



70 



LETTER XVI 

Contains an Account of a Search for 
CUNNINGHAM S Dictionary 

NEW BROMLEY, July z6th 1769. 

DR SIR : It is nearly four months since 
I have been favoured with a Line : 
perhaps you have wrote, and the 
Letter has been unfortunate in its 
passage. It is some time since I was in Princeton, 
where you may remember, I asked you to direct. 
Next week I shall be at Trenton Court, and shall 
return by way of Princeton, where I hope to hear 
from you. Capt Ogden is just ready to start for 
Philadelphia, and therefore I must be short. The 
main design of this Letter is to be informed, 
whether any of the Stationers in your Place, have 
Cunninghams Law Dictionary, and if so the Price. 
I have deferred purposely, purchasing a Dictionary 
in Hope of meeting with Cunninghams, which I 
am told is far from being a despicable performance. 

71 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Better it may, but worse it cannot well be than 
Jacobs, of which I have a very low Opinion. I 
am, Dr Sir, Sincerely Yours. 

WM PATERSON. 
MR MACPHERSON. 



72 



LETTER XVII 

Contains Reflections on the Usefulness of 
Beaux and Monkies to Lonely People 

NEW BROMLEY, May 1st 1770. 

MY DR JOHNNY: Opportunities 
of writing occur so rarely, that it 
is very inexcusable to let them 
pass. I am sincere, and never 
shall : whether you are, I hardly venture to say, 
though if I must speak, it would be, you are not. 
What startled, my Jack ? You need not be, for 
I do not impeach your friendship. I will not and 
cannot question your affection : indeed, it is my 
interest not to do that, as it would only give us 
pain. The truth is, I live in a part of the Province, 
destitute almost wholly of conversable beings. 
Familiar discourse, and even what the fashionable 
world calls small talk, which I take to be easy 
nonsense, is useless to persons who lead a sedentary 
life, and must serve by way of relaxation, when 

73 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

better cannot be had. A gay, good natured chatty 
fool, a sort of animal often met in your town, may 
be amusing for a few moments, but the misfortune 
is, that he has a kind of adhesive quality, which 
makes it difficult to shake him off at pleasure. A 
person of sense, must be in an uncomfortable situa 
tion when a swarm of talkative coxcombs are 
buzzing about his ears : fly from them he cannot, 
for to show their good breeding, they stick to him 
like leeches : to get angry would be to no purpose, 
for they are of a temper so easy they cannot be 
provoked, and indeed it is hard to tell how to be 
vexed at good nature, even when lodged in the 
breast of a fool. Ah Jack, would to heaven you 
could toss us a few of your city fools, for though 
we have dunces enough in the country, yet they 
are far from being so merry as those of the town. 
A monkey should be brisk, and the more diverting 
the better. Beaux and monkies, and such kind of 
creatures, are highly serviceable to persons of a 
studious and lonely turn : indeed they may be, and 
I question not are resorted to often, for the same 
reason that most of the European Princes have 
their fools, merely to provoke mirth, and set the 

74 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

laughing faculties in motion. Men of wisdom, 
will fall into a trifling vein at times, and then, vive 
la bagatelle. Observe men of genius when they 
come from their closets, or are roused out of a 
deep study, and you will notice them say and do 
the most trifling things. In their most unguarded 
moments, you would not think them of a superior 
order, perhaps not equal to a number of gay, 
lively young fellows to be seen at any public 
place, for to trifle agreeably, often is the talent of 
a coxcomb, seldom of a man of genius, and never 
of a person who leads a retired life. The reason is, 
this is an accomplishment only to be gained in the 
fashionable world, and therefore it is, that so few 
of extensive knowledge have acquired. Solitude 
is congenial to learning, conferring no grace of 
manner or appearance, but the reverse, being an 
offence to genteel company. A fool cannot be a 
fop, for the profession of a coxcomb requires both 
genius and tact to secure success. When you 
reach the ground floor of the matter, there is a 
school of fashion and folly, as well as of philosophy 
and science, and genius will shine in either. It is 
not likely however, that any one person can attain 

75 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

equal eminence in both. How I have written and 
wrote, until I have lost sight of what I had in view 
at first, for I designed to explain a passage in the 
beginning of this letter, which doubtless you re 
member as it relates to yourself, but that must be 
deferred till my next, as the paper is run out. Give 
my compliments to Rush, and believe me to be, 
Dr Johnny, Yours Forever, 

WM PATERSON. 
MR JOHN MACPHERSON, JUNR. 



76 



LETTER XVIII 

Contains an Account of Some Visionary 
LADIES 

NEW BROMLEY, July 27th 1770. 

DEAR JACK. I am fond of solitude, 
though I would not care to live for 
ever in a cave. A great degree of 
solitude is suited only to contempla 
tive minds, and even men of the most solitary turn, 
cannot recline eternally in its shade. The pensive 
soul that feeds on grief, and seeks no sorrow but 
its own, may refrain from the haunts of men, may 
delight to listen to the fall of waters, and joy to 
wander through trackless plains and sequestered 
groves. Solemn glooms, lonesome mansions, and 
cheerless shades, likewise, may befit those whose 
cheeks are furrowed with age, and in the decline 
of life, may be called very properly, Christian Soli 
tude. But what have young and active minds to 
do with retreat ? To run in the bloom of youth 

77 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

to nunlike retirement, is unnatural and unsociable : 
to take leave of the world, to make an exit ere yet 
we have made an appearance scarcely on the stage 
of action, is absurd, nay worse, for it is treason 
against mankind. Every person should spend a 
small part of his time in solitude, because it learns 
him to think, and that great lesson, to know him 
self. The Greek philosopher put sententiously 
what each one knew very well before. Self 
knowledge is essential to happiness, and for that 
purpose, solitude is the best companion. To know 
others is necessary in order to act well our part. 
Life unemployed is a useless boon. But some 
professions, and that of law especially, demand 
more than ordinary retirement, because interruption 
must be attended, more or less, with dissipation of 
thought. The study of this profession, is dis 
agreeable and dry, particularly to a beginner. 
Naturally, this branch of learning is unpalatable, 
and a certain degree of solitude, as promoting 
contemplation, is of value, for regulating and 
modulating the work. Extremes should be 
avoided. A bow long bent, loses its spring, so 
application long continued, jades the fancy, 

78 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

weakens the judgment, and, if the expression may 
be used, unnerves the man. Close attention creates 
a sort of vis inertias in the intellectual world, as 
philosophy says there is in the material, and relaxa 
tion becomes necessary. My situation here is irk 
some on this account and this only, that there is 
scarcely any amusement to which I can resort, 
when wearied with study or tired with work. 
What shall I do to recruit exhausted nature ? I 
take up Swift, and by his humour, hope to find 
relief, but reading is the cause of my complaint. 
It is absurd surely to think of removing the effect, 
by continuing the cause. No relaxation, no 
amusement, sad indeed ! Ah Jack, how often do 
I wish for your presence to brighten the gloomy 
scene. My chiefest joy, my best medicine is to 
think of an absent friend, or I will say it myself, 
for you will be roguish enough to do it, muse an 

encomium on Miss . The latter is ideal and 

vision all. My Ladies are quixotical, purely im 
aginary, and have no more reality than the dreams 
of a Poet, or the schemes of a Projector. It is 
easy to form a visionary Amanda, that shall excel 
the Venus of Medicis in beauty : give full play to 

79 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

the imagination, and the work is done. What an 
happy fellow would you be, had your Girl, your 
Miss Patty, or Peggy, or Polly, half the good 
qualities of my imaginary little Beauty. I have 
been running over one in fancy just now, and 
thought it would shine in song, or tell well even in 
a letter, and so give it to you, but faith Jack, on 
considering it fully, I find it but an exact descrip 
tion of Miss you know who. When sick 

of reading or writing, I call in Fancy, and pass my 
friends in review before me, an occupation agree 
able and useful, as fixing their memory deeper in 
my heart, and as operating by way of relaxation. 
Is it ever thus with you ? Does the ideal presence 
of absent friends rise up to your view ? Doubtful, 
Jack, very doubtful. But should you once in a 
while give a sober view to meditation and serious 
though tfulness, should you fall now and then in a 
musing vein, and call up the remembrance of an 
absent friend, yet the lively flutter of a fan, or the 
rustling of the first petticoat that brushes before 
you, would wake you in a moment from your 
dream. Your situation is gay, sprightly, cheerful : 
mine gloomy, solitary, sad. Pleasure courts you 

80 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

in a thousand different ways, while I have but one 
solitary walk to pursue. You think seldom of 
friends, I often : you think seldom of me, I often 
of you. Our different situations naturally lead us 
to do so. Hence the reason of what I said in 
some of my late letters. But why run out the 
parallel ? It is time to close, which I do by saying 
this letter is very long, very sober, very dull, and I 
may write many more such, unless you prohibit it. 
I am, my dear Jack, ever your affectionate, 

WM PATERSON. 
MR JOHN MACPHERSON, JUNR, PHILA. 



81 



LETTER XIX 

Contains Accounts of Philadelphia Beauties 
and a Eulogium on a Woodland Nymph 

NEW BROMLEY July 3Oth 1770. 

I AM all Musick, Jack, and write in a melo 
dious Humour. The Hour in which 
every sweet and lively Passion is in Play, 
should be consecrated to Friendship, un 
less the still more soft and tender Feelings of Love 
should lay claim to it. Your little Hermit is cap 
tivated, and in Danger of being lost forever. The 
Sound of Harmony still jingles in my Ears, and 
never till this instant did I know the full Force of 
Love. You boast of your Philadelphia Beauties, 
but I venture to say, you may search the City and 
not find a Nymph so engaging. Neither your 
enchanting Peggy with all her Delicacy, nor your 
adored Patty with all her Charms, can equal my 
Woodland Maid. She is purely rural, and cannot 
bear the noise and tumult of a City : she flies to 

82 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

the Country, and dwells in the midst of a Grove, 
among Caves and Rocks. She delights in Sim 
plicity, and is fond of the still Hour of Evening. 
It costs a World of Trouble to woo a City Dame, 
but it is the easiest Thing in Nature to court 
my Country Lass. One is all obliging and 
familiar, the other, forbidding and reserved. She 
is gay when I am gay and sad when I am sad. 
She catches and returns my Passion, and her Tone 
and Temper always accord with mine. Don t you 
think Hours must run away pleasantly with such 
a Companion? Her vocal Quality being admi 
rable, makes me fond of listening to her Talk, and 
I assure you she was more enchanting than ever 
to-day : she ravished me, but it was as Wycherly 
says, with her Voice, which was Musick itself. 
Her name is Echo, or the vocal Nymph. The 
Truth is, two Gentlemen of my Acquaintance, on 
their rambles came to my Hermitage and spent a 
Day or two with me, one being skilled in Musick, 
and having a Flute, entertained the Company very 
agreeably, but to add to the Pleasure, insisted we 
should hunt up an Echo, which we did, and found 
one of very full Tone and Quality. I never heard 

83 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

any thing more enchantingly harmonious : he was 
an excellent Player, and the Place suited so hap 
pily, that every Note was returned back most 
distinctly. Your Letter of the 24th received yes 
terday at Meeting, 1 is a convincing Proof, that 
you can get up a respectable document in that 
line, if you give the whole of your Mind to it. 
You have combined admirably much News and 
Politicks in it. I should like to have been present 
when the Resolves about the Yorkers were passed, 
principally to hear the young Gentleman you 
mention, play the Orator. Some of his Talents 
are well known, but what sort he was at Elo 
quence I will not say. I have read somewhere, in 
Swift I think, that " Fluency of Speech is owing to 
Scarcity of Matter and Words, for Men who have 
but one Sett of Ideas, and one Sett of Words to 
clothe them, never are at a loss to express them 
selves : whereas they who have a Variety, often 
are puzzled to make a Choice." The Remark is 

1 The "meeting" at which he received the letter was the 
Presbyterian Church at Lamington, one of the earliest churches 
erected in that portion of New Jersey. The original building 
remained standing until 1826. 

84 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

just, and I find it true from frequent Observation. 
Therefore I do not doubt the C-m-r has a glib 
Tongue, and rattled on fluently enough, or as 
Johnny Forrest, another of those eternal Chatter 
ers, said of one of the College Speakers, "he 
orated in a copious manner." I follow the Order 
of your Letter, and so "now for something by 
way of Reflection." You have chosen a most 
beautiful Object for that Purpose. Miss Chea- 
tham of Trenton is so handsome and genteel, 
that I must pause to contemplate in Fancy, her 
many and ravishing Charms. Harmony of Shape 
combines with Gracefulness of Mien, which with 
Sweetness of Voice, Mildness of Aspect, Delicacy 
of Shape, and the languishing Softness of smiling 
Eyes, have made that Heart of yours, Dear Jack, 
to flutter and beat as if it would break out from 
the Fastness of your Breast. Who loves her best, 
can best describe her as she is, her Charms, Attrac 
tions, Graces, all, and so I resign the agreeable 
Task to you. But you must appreciate this spon 
taneous and enthusiastic, though entirely disinter 
ested Tribute to Beauty that can win Admiration, 
without well you know exactly how to fill out 

85 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

the sentence without the words being set down in 
black and white by me. My time is not as yet. 
When that shall come, if it ever does, I hope to be 
more worthy in all respects than I am now. Still 
neither Fame or Fortune can wait on the Laggard. 
This is a parenthetical " Reflection," not quite 
Apropos. Please mark it so. Did I see her on 
my Journey to Princeton 4 ? No, for I was so 
tired & out of Tune on reaching Trenton, that I 
had to rest. Next week is Hunterdon Court : I 
shall be at Trenton again and hope to have a sight 
of your Charmer, simply as an admirer : if so I will 
take occasion to introduce your name, and let you 
know how it took ! You may see England in the 
Fall, and ask can I go with you. That would 
give me real Pleasure. A few years hence I may 
go there, but fear I cannot at present. I wish we 
could arrange to go together when that time does 
come. However, should you resolve on going, I 
will consider the Matter more fully, as your Com 
pany would add to the Pleasure of the Trip. 
With this, you will receive another long Letter 
written previously. These will convince you, that 
no charming Nymph, no tender Von Brisket of 

86 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

half a Ton in Weight or half a Pole in Circumfer 
ence, made me forgetful of my little City Friend. 
That is a vile Insinuation of yours against my fair 
Country-women, but I notice it no farther at pres 
ent. I am, my very Dear Johnny, 
Yours For Ever, 

WM PATERSON. 
MR MACPHERSON. 



LETTER XX 

Contains a Treatise on the Value of Good 
FAMILY 

PRINCETON, November I2th 1771. 

DEAR JACK : Supposing you are in 
London, as being not only the place 
you had in view originally, but also 
where you Scotsmen have an admi 
rable Knack of getting there as fast as you can, I 
can write with some assurance of a letter reaching 
you. Your people seem to be attracted thither 
either by an instinctive faculty, or a desire for 
wealth or preferment. You hardly have sufficient 
Caledonian blood, to call you true blue, and what 
little may be in your veins, has been purified by 
your residence on this side of the waters. I have a 
filial affection for Scotland, and lose all patience 
when I hear people rail against it. I have the hap 
piness or unhappiness, as you may please, of being 
part of a Scotsman myself, for, and I don t care 
who knows it, my grand father or great grand 
father, was born and rocked in that part of the 

88 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Isles, which is sufficient in all conscience to entitle 
me to the name. At times I glory in being a 
Scotchman, though perhaps, I should say that 
vanity never swells so high as when I think my 
self of Scotch origin. Wise ones indeed laugh at 
birth as being of trifling nature, and not at all mat 
ter for boast. Whoever, say they, thought highly 
of noble birth that had any good quality beside, 
and whoever, say I, thought lightly of it, but he 
that really wanted it. A man prefers that his an 
cestors should be somebodies rather than nobodies, 
even though they can occupy but the small lot 
of land in the end. The largest Empire is under 
ground, and the population has been increasing 
ever since life was breathed into the world and 
death was breathed out. Emigration is unknown 
in that Kingdom. The truth is, we live in an ill- 
natured world: they who have not virtue envy 
those who have. It is a common expression, such 
a one is well bred : is it not to the full as proper to 
say, such a one is well born ? It must I think, be 
very pleasing for every true Scotsman, such as you 
and I to reflect that he is descended as Churchill 
says, "From great and glorious, though perhaps 

89 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

forgotten Kings." But aside from digression, 
Jack, you are a traveller now : as such you are to 
answer what questions I put, and tell what lies you 
please. I shall not enquire into the manners of 
the Scots, their genius, customs, laws, manufac 
tories, etc., because it cannot be expected you can 
answer them. But on the whole, I will reserve 
the queries for a future letter, as my paper is 
giving out, and I have been busy here all the day, 
merely hoping that you have escaped the well 
say scraches and all other nameless ills hereditary 
to your countrymen, and that nothing more dis 
agreeable has befallen you than a little dirt, which 
would be getting off wonderfully well. Princeton 
is much the same, and I have only room to add, 
by way of news, that about two weeks ago, young 
Dr Barnet 1 was married to a Miss Stow ; you may 
know who she is. Yours Sincerely, 

WM PATERSON. 
JOHN MACPHERSON, JUNR. ESQ. 

1 Dr. William M. Barnet. With his wife he later removed 
from Princeton to Elizabeth-Town, where he built the house 
subsequently occupied for many years by General Winfield Scott. 
Philip Freneau, the Revolutionary poet, wrote a tributary ode on 
the death of the virtuous Mrs. Barnet. 

90 



g 5 




LETTER XXI 

Contains Pictures of ENGLISH Society and 
College Society 

PRINCETON, June 2 6th 1772 

DEAR JACK: Laziness only has 
prevented me from writing: noth 
ing else. I am ashamed that I 
have written but once since you 
sailed. Are you disposed to think I have for 
gotten you entirely, or that absence has abated 
the warmth of my affection k ? Dismiss the thought. 
My regard is as great and sincere as at any time 
during our former intimacy. That I have been 
silent so long impute to business, to laziness to 
any thing but want of affection. Your two let 
ters of 3oth September and 14th February are 
at hand, and I am obliged for your particularity. 
Do so in the future, for with the rest of mankind, 
I confess to be fond of whatever is wonderful or 
new. Curiosity is craving, and implanted in every 

9 1 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

breast. Anecdotes of persons in eminent stations, 
or famed for ability, are listened to with attention, 
& indeed seem to be universally pleasing. I would 
be glad for you to give a character & description 
of Mansfield, Camden, Burke, Barre, Woodburn, 
Dunning Etc. Mansfield always has been high 
in my esteem : as a genius and a speaker, he is 
universally admired. I am told he has a mouth, 
if I may so express it, finely hung for elocution, 
and that he seldom speaks without carrying con 
viction. As a lawyer, he is censured by some for 
his principle of equitising, which he stretches 
rather too far. He has an assemblage of graces 
and qualities rarely to be found in one man, a 
comely person, a charming voice, and a fine 
genius. Of Burke we know little but as a writer : 
his person, like that of Blackstone, I am told, is 
diminutive, and his appearance ungracious. His 
chief beauty is energy, his chief fault want of ease. 
Norton has given several opinions in cases re 
specting land in this Province. I have met with 
some, but worded so obscurely, that it was im 
possible to understand them. I have seen an 
opinion or two of Widderburne, in his own hand- 

92 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

writing, penned with peculiar elegance and accuracy. 
Were I in England, I would collect anecdotes of 
persons eminent for station, learning, and genius. 
Hardly anything is sought after more here, or ren 
ders a person more agreeable in conversation. In 
writing now, you cannot want for matter, for every 
thing wears the face of novelty, the country, the 
people, their manners, their divisions and even their 
dress, have in them something new. So if your 
letters are not of a decent length, it will be owing 
merely to laziness, as no one can accuse you of want 
of a mind. Did I live in Philadelphia, my letter 
might be more entertaining, though not more sin 
cere. I could tell of your Becky and your Peggy, 
and a score or too more of girls, or rather goddesses 
you were wont to adore. It is likely a new race of 
beauties have possessed your heart, for English Ladies 
are handsome, and you are amorous. Perhaps you 
may marry before you return : if you do, Jack, 
pray let your mate be gentle and goodnatured, 
amiable, and genteel, qualities, which cannot, like 
beauty, be withered by time, nor like reputation, 
blasted by slander. Nothing is more intolerable 
than a handsome fool, except it be a fury or a scold. 

93 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

I am tempted almost to foreswear matrimony, and 
take a vow of perpetual celibacy. The bulk of 
women are eaten up so cursedly with pride and 
affectation, and so ignorant and illnatured withall, 
that it is almost impossible to live with them. 
We have a number of pretty girls here now, a new 
race of beauties, Jack, since you left it. I meet 
them rarely. If you were here for a day or two, I 
am sure you would be diverted. A scholar in love 
is very asinine. Were you here I could give you 
a description of some of the girls, and character of 
some of their lovers, and private anecdotes of both, 
that would afford you infinite amusement and 
diversion. The College always has teemed with 
fools of this cast, there were enough of them in all 
conscience when we were in it, and mercy on me, 
the breed has increased surprisingly of late. The 
Governor of Penna has married Miss Masters : 
doubtless you Know his Rib. Some say she 
is handsome, some, passably, and some, quite 
homely. Thirty thousand Pounds are thirty thou 
sand charms. Young Meredith is married to Miss 
Cadwalader, the very Nymph you used to make so 
great a clatter about. Love makes fools of all. 

94 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

I begin to fear it is impossible to reason it down. 
In your fits of the kind you used to call her your 
enchanting Peggy, and sing of her to the tune of 
" The Lass With The Delicate Air." Jack Tay 
lor, Willings partner, is married to Miss Huston ; 
so much for news in the matrimonial way. You 
may have heard that young Waller has forsaken 
the law, because he found it difficult for an honest 
man to be a lawyer. Some extol his action as a 
noble sacrifice to the cause of virtue and religion, 
while others attribute his conduct to a disordered 
intellect. All I know of the matter is from pub- 
lick fame, and she, like other females, is so arrant a 
liar, that it is hard to know when to believe her. 
It is certain however that he has declined the 
practice, and the opening now is fine, the best in 
the Colonies. Dickinson and Galloway are ridding 
themselves of business, and one of your capacities 
might get into a handsome practice at a jump. I 
wish you were here to do so. Weeks, the Pro- 
thonotary of Bucks is dead. John Berrien, a Jus 
tice of the Supreme Court of the Jersies, drowned 
himself in April: the jury found lunacy. My 
compliments to Rush : he has forgotten his promise 

95 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

to write, but then he lives nigh the Court. That 
application has been made in England for an 
American Episcopate is known here. The news 
papers are full of it. The Dissenters are so jealous 
of each other, it is not likely they will unite and 
petition against it, or if they did, it is a million to 
one if that would not promote rather than pre 
vent the scheme. The Bishops and Thirty nine 
Articles have been censured so severely in the Uni 
versity of Cambridge and the late debates in Par 
liament, that it is to be hoped those Reverend 
Fathers will find full employment at home, with 
out intermeddling in the politicks of America. 
I am satisfied, that in the Colonies, few of the 
Church of England, except those who are stiled 
High-Fliers, espouse the cause, or are in the least 
desirous of succeeding. In the Southern Prov 
inces, composed principally of people in commu 
nion with the Church of England, a Bishop would 
meet with the severest opposition. Pray what is 
the Macaroni Club ? I am told it is made up of 
noblemen, who meet to invent fashions, etc. A 
laudable institution truly. Doctor Morgan is in 
Jamaica soliciting donations to the College, or as 

96 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

he stiles it in his address, the University of Phila 
delphia. Dr Williamson is in the same place, in 
behalf of the Newark School, and the Revd Baily 
has gone to the West India Islands in favor of the 
Jersey College. My best respects wait on your 
father. I am, Dr Jack, most affectionately yours 

WM PATERSON. 
JOHN MACPHERSON, JUNR, ESQ., LONDON. 



97 



LETTER XXII 

Contains an Imaginary PICTURE of a 
Fashionable MAN in London 

PRINCETON, September 4th 1772. 

DEAR JACK : In my last I promised 
to write again soon, and I like to 
keep my word, but really, Jack, 
there is nothing to tell. It is easy 
to write if matter is ready, but it goes mightily 
against the grain, for a person who has a spice of 
laziness in his composition, and no way of spin 
ning out a letter, than by invoking Fancy. Lazy 
as I am however, it does not prevent me from 
thinking of you frequently, though it may of 
writing. At the call of Fancy, your image often 
comes up, and hope which revels through life, and 
brightens every prospect, aided by a disposition 
that makes us ready to believe whatever we desire, 
dresses up your friendly figure in the most flat 
tering colours. Sometimes you appear among 

98 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

the beau-monde, frequenting play houses, operas 
and balls, a professed admirer of every fashionable 
amusement, now sauntering along the Mall, or 
taking a turn in St. James, not so much for the 
walk as the women, and strange medley of mortals 
to be seen in such places ; sometimes a connoisseur 
in shells, in musty medals and Egyptian Mum 
mies, a virtuoso. Sometimes I follow you to your 
chamber, view you revolving on some abstruse 
point of law, poring over dry pages of the great 
Masters : now a politician deep in mysteries of 
state, adjusting the balance of Europe, and betting 
on war or peace, on the life or death of Princes. 
Sometimes but there is no end to the vagaries of 
Fancy. There are ten thousand ways of killing 
time in England unknown here. When tired of 
myself, and every thing around me, I seek my pil 
low, and invoking the God of Sleep, endeavor to 
sink into oblivion, "the world forgetting, by the 
world forgot." This, with respect to others at 
least, is an inoffensive way of getting rid of the 
moments that hang heavy upon me. If there is 
nothing to employ a vacant hour, surely it is far 
better to glide along quietly, reclining in the lap 

99 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

of sleep, than to plan schemes detrimental to 
others, though perhaps advantageous to self. This 
naturally to closing this letter, which, I doubt not, 
will prove quite tiresome to the reader. I am, dr 
Jack, yours sincerely, WM PATERSON. 

October 1 2th : The above has not been sent for 
want of an opportunity until now. I live so much 
in the country, that London vessels come and go 
without my knowledge. I shall endeavor to make 
some sure arrangement for forwarding letters in the 
future. News, The Revd. J. Halsey was married 
about two weeks ago to a certain Polly Henry, 
one of his parishioners, a young lady of sixteen, 
one of the sightliest, most gay and showy girls in 
his congregation. He is forty, it is January wed 
to July. Rush arrived about three weeks ago. 
He had no letter for me : pray why did not you 
write by him? Had I omitted so fair an oppor 
tunity I should think myself inexcusable. Per 
haps I have not written as often as I might. 

WM PATERSON. 



IOO 



LETTER XXIII 

Contains the last on the Subject of LOVE 
and Miss REBECCA REDMAN 

September I5th 1773. 

YOUR letter shows you to be in high 
spirits, Jack, though what set you in 
so pleasing a flow, is hard to tell, 
for you say business is not extra 
ordinary as yet. Business, especially in the Law 
way, seldom is at first : it increases little by little : 
its progress is slow & gradual. I know of no 
young lawyer, unless abetted by a Party of In 
fluence, that has any great run of Practice. Have 
Patience : the Prospect will brighten as you ad 
vance in Life. I imagine Miss R-dm-n has 
been playing off her charms. In my Conscience, I 
believe she bewitches every one who looks at her. 
A Smile makes you as airy as a Bee, but her Frown 
ah there is the Devil, she can frown too as well 
as smile throws you into a melancholy Frame 

IOI 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

and that brings on the Hip. Here is an Ideal of 
you in so piteous a Case. Miss says something 
clever in favor of a Rival, for Beauties are inclined 
wickedly that way, something ill natured against 
yourself. A Fit of the Spleen is on her, her Head 
Dress is awry, or her Lap-Dog is dead, or she was 
not invited to a Party, or something of equal Im 
portance comes in the Way, and makes her look 
gloomy as Night. Well what shall be done to rid 
her Ladyship of the Poutts ? You play over all your 
old Tricks, but in vain, and as you retire, she gives 
you an angry Look, with a Frown that does not 
become her Beauty. So you go home melancholy 
Mad, and mope and mux, and sigh, or rail, and rave 
and storm. But a few days of this is sufficient, and 
when you next wait on the Nymph, you find her 
in high good Humour, receiving you kindly, and 
chiding you perhaps for staying away so long. 
She is all smiles and Goodness, soft, languishing, 
kind, you all rapture. I imagine on your return 
from Miss R. with whom you had a most happy 
Interview that set you in a flow of good humour, 
you wrote the Letter you sent last. In such a 
Case, it is expected you should put others in the 

102 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

like temper. When I saw my Blousalind last, she 
had a touch of the Spleen too, for Country Girls, 
you know, are mighty Fashion-Mongers and Bodies 
for Imitation, and take on Airs as well as your 
City Madams. But these set so awkwardly upon 
them, and make them appear so ungracious, that it 
is hard to tell whether to laugh or be angry. Why 
what the murrain hath come over you, Blousalind ? 
Have you been saying Prayers, or thinking over 
the last Sermon, or setting your Face for the next ? 
In this Letter a young Friend just from England, 
requests a Favour, in a manner so Genteel, that it 
cannot fail of being granted. See how prettily he 
writes. What say you Blousalind? Do be good- 
natured and give your consent. How came this 
Friend of yours to Know anything of me. Oh 
as for that, I can satisfy your Ladyship easily, for 
faith, I told him myself. Told him yourself! and 
pray what did you tell him, something pretty, I 
suppose : come let me hear it. Positively, I will 
not consent unless you do. The unreasonable 
Jade ! Why I told him you were blooming as the 
Spring, and mild as the Dawn of a Summer Day, 

beautiful as an Angel, and had a voice like, like, 

103 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

faith like a Nightingale. Pshaw, mere Fiction, 
common place Fiction. Did you say anything 
particular, for instance, of my Eyes, or Eye 
brows, or Cheeks or Lips, or Yes, and yes, and 
yes. I said a World of Fine Things : you Know 
I love to dwell on them, smooth, shiny Hair, fine 
wicked Eyebrows, dark lustrous Eyes, rosy Cheeks, 
Lips to tempt an Anchorite, and a Bosom so 
billowy, so Softly there, what of my Fore 
head? True a Forehead smooth and polished, 
zounds I forgot that in my hurry to get at your 
Lips, on which you Know I love to dwell. In 
short, Madam, I made you out a perfect Goddess, 
save now and then a Fit of Vapours will seize your 
Goddess-ship, and then you sink into a mere Mor 
tal. Oh how apt you are to flatter and oh how 
fond you are to hear it. Really I cannot say when 
I shall be in Philadelphia, sometime this Fall, though 
late in the Season. Try to be at Commencement, 
I dare say you can spare the Time. Without 
Flattery, Jack, I had rather see you there than all 
the rest of the People put together. Ask Miss 
Redman. Do Dear Miss, suffer your adoring 
Swain to take a Ramble into the country for a few 

104 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Days. Like Noahs Dove, after his Excursion, he 
will return to your Arms with new Ardour. Com 
pliments to Rush. Yours most sincerely 

WM PATERSON. 



105 



PART II 



THE 

BELLE OF PRINCETON 
BETSEY STOCKTON 

A poem written at Nassau Hall 

1772 

By WILLIAM PATERSON 




THE BELLE OF PRINCETON 
BETSEY STOCKTON 

Written at the College of New Jersey, 1772, and read before 
the Cliosopbic Society 

BOOKISH blockhead, and ill-bred, 
Who still affects his class to lead : 
A man of mighty Influence 
Pity ! he lacks for common Sense. 

Why need I sing of Armstrong Jemmy * 

Who loves so well his Sampink Lilly ? 

Why need I sing of Frank Dunlap ? 

May he in love have no mishap 

1 "Armstrong Jemmy * was James Francis Armstrong, a 
Southerner, who was graduated from the College of New Jersey 
in 1773. He studied divinity under Dr. Witherspoon, and 
was ordained by the Presbytery of New Castle, January, 1778. 
During a part of the Revolution he was chaplain of the Second 
Maryland Brigade. He was married to Susanna Livingston, of 
Princeton, by Dr. Witherspoon, in August, 1782. For the 
long period of thirty years he was pastor of the First Presby 
terian Church at Trenton, and his memory is still cherished 
throughout Southern New Jersey. 

109 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Why need I sing of Miss Longstreet, 

So modest, debonair & neat ? 

She my best wishes hath, & soon, 

Before the next revolving moon, 

May John Smith l and she the Pleasures know, 

That from a marry d life can flow. 

Those Beauties o er, proceed we next, 

To nymph the last & nymph the best. 

Hail, Betsey, 2 hail, thou Virgin bright 

And mild as the chaste orb of night. 

Betsey all hail ! Rapt in amaze, 

Thy beauties o er & o er I gaze ; 

Feast on each Charm, each Charm devour 

Whilst stript of almost ev ry Pow r 

1 John Smith was a native of Connecticut who was graduated 
from Princeton in 1770. He became a missionary among the 
Indians in Northern New York. 

2 Betsey, or Elizabeth, Stockton was the daughter of Captain 
John Stockton, a younger brother of " Richard Stockton the 
Signer." Her mother, Mary Hibbets, at the time of her mar 
riage with Captain Stockton, was the widow of James Nelson, 
of Bethel, Pennsylvania. From her mother Betsey inherited the 
beauty young William Paterson invoked the aid of the genius of 
Pope and the Muses Nine to help him adequately describe. This 
belle of Princeton eventually married Abner Long, a native of 
Pennsylvania, and went away to the wilds of Allegheny to live. 



10 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Save that of Light, I gaze & gaze, 
Tis dazzl d with all Beauty s Blaze 
I prostrate fall ; and where before 
I only gazed at, now adore 
Thy Genius Pope, ye nine thy Aid ! 
Teach me to paint this heav nly Maid 
Teach me to sing in smoothest rhyme 
In numbers lofty & sublime, 
The Beauties of her mind & Face, 
Each pleasing Virtue & each grace 
Vain Invocation ! why desire 
Pope s Genius & the Muses fire, 
Her beauty can alone inspire ! 
So then friend Will, methinks you say, 
Tis arrant Love that tunes yr Lay ; 
Your Flame why labour to conceal 
That Blush your Passion doth reveal 
Strive, Strive all you can, yet no doubt 
The mighty Secret will come out, 
Will, too in Love ! prodigious fine 
I see love breathe in every Line. 
Will, too in Love ! O happening rare ! 
Come tell us of this wond rous Fair. 
Swear that in beauty, & in grace, 



1 1 1 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

She far excels the female Race ; 
Swear too, no mortal Miss as yet, 
Has equal d her in Sense & Wit. 
To show how mighty well you love 
Bring down each goddess from above. 
Say that Hebe s bloom & Venus s air 
With dear Miss Betsey s can t compare. 
Say that she is, wt most those prize, 
As Dian chaste, as Pallas wise. 
Peace honest Friend, you rail in Spite, 
And faith mistake the matter quite. 
Tho Betsey doth in Beauty s Line 
The brightest & the foremost Shine 
Tho her fair Form each Breast inspires 
With chastest wishes and desires 
Tho she s of Manners most refined, 
Of Sweetest Temper, gentlest mind, 
Tho she s Ye Phoenix of her Race, 
In her each virtue is a grace 
Tho she is all that man can move, 
Or Poets fancy when they love ; 
Yet what care I, my Lot you know 
(Oh Lot the saddest sure below) 
Forbid to love what need I care 

I 12 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Who is most witty, neat, or fair 

Who has ye finest shape or eye. 

I must not love ; Oh Fortune hard, 

Of Life s chief Bliss to be debarred ! 

I must not love ; oh cruel Fate 

Why was I cast in such a State ? 

Yet what Vails Grief; perhaps tis best 

That Love should never seize my breast 

Tho from Love the sweetest Pleasures flow 

Yet oft, quite oft they re ting d with woe. 

Some pine, some sicken (still more sad) 

Some die for Love & some run mad, 

Behold yon hapless lovesick maid, 

Reclin d beneath a poplar s shade 

Pale now those lips where Rubies hung, 

And mute the Musick of her Tongue 

The Roses from her Lips are fled, 

And now She dies, and now She s dead ! 

Ye Virgins listen while I sing, 

Ye Virgins blooming as the Spring. 

The Joy of Princeton and the Pride, 

By my advice I bid ye bide, 

Of Love beware ; O trust not Love 

His Dart full oft doth fatal prove. 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Beware of man, of man the most, 
Who swears you are creation s Boast. 
Who sighing whispers, how divine, 
And Flatt ry breathes in ev ry Line. 
But to return I think tis time 
I hate digressions e en in Rhyme. 
Come then & listen whilst I tell 
The Beauties of this charming Belle 
Tho that indeed is useless quite 
Why, tell me Sir, why need I write 
Of Betsey s Charms, another s pen 
Already sings them, and what then ! 
Why then, begin in Order due, 
I hate your unmethodick Crew. 
Her hair had might in Cupid s eyes 
He sure would of her Hair make Prize 
To string his Bow, so soft, so fine, 
And of the beautifiillest shine. 
Her eyes on which I gaze so oft, 
Are blue & languishingly soft, 
Full piercing as the Solar ray, 
And mild too as the op ning Day, 
Her Forehead s polish d, smooth & eavn, 
Her Eyebrows like the Arch of Heav n. 
114 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Her cheeks are of the Roses Hue, 
Her Lips sweet as the balmy Dew. 
Her Lips, no mortal can declare 
How round, how soft, how sweet they are ; 
Her Lips where all the graces stray, 
Where all the Loves delight to play. 
Give me Ambrosia in a Kiss 
And lap, oh lap my Soul in Bliss. 
Her Chin, her Neck at once conspire 
Love to raise, & make the world admire 
We ll pass unsung her snowy Breast, 
That Heav n of Softness & of Rest 
Sweet as the Rosebud in the Spring, 
And Soft as down in Cherub s wing 
Heav n with what grace she swims along 
The envy of the Virgin throng. 
You d swear so graceful is her motion 
Another Venus from the Ocean 
Another Venus I Oh that Head ! 
The Doctor calls to Bed, to Bed. 
Another Venus ! Pshaw the Devil 
Peace, peace, dear angry friend be civil 
Your Passion is of no avail, 
It only interrupts my Tale ! 
"5 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Modest & candid, soft and mild, 
Of Temper gentle as a child 
Of Pity foil : the Tears still flow 
When e er she hears a tale of Woe. 
Modestly blushing as the Rose, 
The color flutters to her nose 
Ye fair, believe me while I sing, 
Nor deem it as a trifling thing, 
Let Modesty adorn your ways, 
More beauteous tis than Ruby s Blaze 
Her temper calm, serene & ev n 
As vernal Day, or op ning Heav n, 
Virtue o er all her thoughts preside. 
Reason doth all her Passions guide 
Her Passions like the grateful gale. 
That fans the Lilly of the Vale, 
That fans the op ning rose of May 
Serves just to keep the Soul in Play 
Such are her Charms perhaps you ll call, 
It Fiction, Fancy, Fancy All, 
Come then th Original and view, 
You ll own the Copy Just, & true. 



116 




PART: 1 1 1 



A SATIRE ON 

BETSEY S 

COLLEGE SUITORS 

A continuation of 
"THE BELLE OF PRINCETON" 

By WILLIAM PATERSON 



A SATIRE ON BETSEY S COLLEGE 
SUITORS 

I VE grown of late confounded jealous 
Of the dressy college fellows ; 
E en (though Betsey let you pass) 
Of Cook, who is an arrant ass. 
By this my passion sure I prove, 
Since jealousy s a sign of love. 
As on a summer s day you walked 
With Thalis by your side & talked 
Of this, & that, & t other ; love, 
The little urchin, fond to prove 
His pow r, resolved was to try, 
(Tho from his physiognomy, 
The god, he could not rightly read, 
Whether he should or not succeed) 
How far the most obdurate heart 
Proof was agt his pow r of art. 
Love, in contriving never dull, 
And of expedients ever full, 
119 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Impell d the gentle tim rous boy, 
The hour to spend in sport & joy ; 
Plenty of apples were at hand, 
You each delightful took a stand, 
He threw at you, and you at him 
O, the pretty, amorous whim. 
A philosopher so grave 
Who d e er take him for love s slave. 
He d look, joined to a lass so gay, 
Like January wed to May. 
Altho thy charms I dare engage 
Would thaw the frost of oldest age, 
And like the sun upon the ice, 
Would melt & melt it in a trice. 
Yet do not Betsey throw away 
Thy beams upon a lump of clay. 
Smith, tutor Smith, puts in his claim, 
And proudly hopes you ll fan his flame. 
Tutor Smith, 1 a Iyer so grand 

1 Samuel Stanhope Smith was a graduate of the College ot" 
New Jersey in 1769. It is recorded he became a tutor at his 
father* s school in Pequea, and returned to his alma mater in a like 
capacity in 1770. He married a daughter of Dr. Witherspoon. 
From 1795 to 1812 he was president of the college. 

120 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Treads not upon this classic land ; 

Tutor Smith, so wond rous civil 

Compound odd of Saint & Devil. 

This Smith a parson too, alas ! 

He more resembles for an ass. 

This Smith a parson too, good Heav ns ! 

Things sure in sixes are & sevens. 

He looks demure as any nun, 

Tho meanest fellow under sun. 

Oft, very oft, I ve smiled to see 

This booby aim at raillery. 

E en Dick he tries to ridicule, 

Tho Dick s not half so great a fool. 

Proud of his learning & his parts 

The case exact of all upstarts 

Proud of his beauty too ; I swear 

He is all lovely & all fair ; 

Proud of his manners, tis most true 

(We must e en give the dev l his due) 

In manners he excels ; he came 

From Pequea, 1 land of wond rous fame, 

Where learning, wit, & genius shine, 

Ecce Signum, I am divine ! 

2 Pequea, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

121 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Sure no good Christian can do less 
Than help a neighbor in distress : 
Mark ! the conduct of this tutor 
And who d have him for a suitor ? 
A house late chanc d to be on fire, 
A house it chanc d to be of Hyer ; 
The bell it rung, the scholars flew, 
For tell me, who, till then e er knew 
On such occasions people stay, 
Or loiter idly in the way ? 
Slow rises Smith & oped the window 
The fire to see & how the wind blew : 
" Tis none of mine" he cry d amain, 
Then back to bed he SNEAKED again ! 



Morgan pretends to love, tis true, 

And fondly hopes to win you too. 

Morgan a lad well known to fame, 

For who knows not buck Morgan s name "? 

Morgan a lad well bred & civil, 

Who smiling sends one to the devil ; 

Morgan, the ladies dear delight 



122 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

For ever welcome to their sight. 
Prettiest fellow under sun, 
So full of Spirit, full of fun. 
Morgan a lad genteel & neat, 
He knows the ladies how to seat, 
Can hand down stairs, or lead to pew, 
Can give to each fair maid her due, 
Can reach a glove, or furl a fan, 
Morgan s sure a gentle man. 
Morgan can sing, & chat, & dance, 
Morgan you d swear was bred in France. 
He lately liv d with Madam Hornor 
Whose Amy play d it in the corner 
Whose Sally is a pretty scorner 
But now has changed his situation 
In hopes they say of an oration 
Tho Morgan s gay, genteel, & tall, 
And at your feet quite low does fall, 
Yet trust, oh trust not, what he says 
He spends in falsehoods half his days, 
He s full of art & full of wile, 
And flatters only to beguile. 
Armstrong s by fits & starts your lover, 
But Armstrong is an arrant rover. 
123 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

The gay, the fair, the brown, the lewd, 
The slattern, coquette, & the prude, 
By terms, his youthful thoughts employ 
By turns, his pleasure & his Joy. 
He ogles, vows, & swears, & sighs, 
Ten thousand, thousand arts he tries 
The female bosom to inspire, 
And melt with all love s fiercest fire. 
The funeral eulogy 
On Ciesar & Mark Antony 
When late he spoke ; the pains, the arts 
He us d to touch the ladies hearts. 
He tryd, in hopes each breast to move, 
To rouse it like a sucking goud, 
Tho it resembled more by half, 
The roaring of a sucking calf. 
Oh worse than daggers or than swords, 
So happily he mouth d his words. 
He sob d & war d & sob d till lo ! 
Out came the handkerchiefs, Oh ! Oh ! 
The handkerchief, for wt speakers say. 
Without can do in the wailing way : 
The handkerchief, sure sign of woe, 
Still used when tears begin to flow ; 
124 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

Still used the tearful eye to wipe 
And make the face of sorrow bright ; 
The handkerchief: Oh wondrous thing ! 
Can sorrow lay & sorrow bring. 
The handkerchief: so great its praise, 
His tears can lay, our tears to raise 
You see, dear maid, how great his art 
Then Guard each pass unto your heart. 



PART IV 



LETTERS 

on the 

SUBJECT OF LOVE 

(Platonick& Self-love") 

TO 

AARON BURR 
and HENRY LEE, J R 



LETTER TO AARON BURR 

PRINCETON Oct 26th 1772. 

DEAR BURR, 
Our mutual friend Stewart, with 
whom I spent part of last evening 
informed me you were still in Eliz- 
Town. You are much fonder of that place than 
I am, otherwise you would hardly be prevailed 
upon to make so long a stay. But perhaps the 
reason, that I fear it makes you like it. There is 
certainly something amorous in the very air. Nor 
is this case any way extraordinary, or beyond be 
lief. I have read (it was in print too) that a flock 
of birds being on the wing, & bending their flight 
towards a certain town in Connecticut, dropped 
down dead just as they were over it. The people 
at first fairly at a loss to account for this phenom 
enon in any natural way ; however it was at length 

9 129 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

agreed on all hands, that it was owing to the noise- 
someness of the atmosphere, the small-pox at that 
time being very rife in the place. I should never 
have given credit to the report, had it not come 
from so good a quarter as that of New England. 
For my part I always drive thro Eliz-Town as 
quickly as possible, lest the soft infection should 
steal upon me, or I should take it in with the very 
air I breathe. 

Yesterday I went to hear Mr Halsey, & then 
too I saw his young & blooming wife. The old 
genn. seems very fond of his rib, & in good sooth 
leers very wistfully at her, as she trips along his 
side ; some allowance however must be made : he 
is in the vale of life, love is a new thing to him, & 
the honey moon is not yet over. 

" They are amorous & fond of billing, 
Like Philip & Mary on a shilling." 

I have promised to pay him a visit ; Stewart or 
some of the tutors I believe, will accompany me, 
& I hope you will too. Since commencement I 
have been at a Dutch wedding, & expect to be at 

130 




AARON BURR 



From a drawing by Albert Rosenthal, after the 
painting by Gilbert Stuart 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

one or two more very shortly. There was drinking, 
& singing, and fiddling & dancing. I was pleased 
extremely ; everyone seemed to be in good humor 
with himself, & this naturally led them to be in 
good humor with one another. 

When the itch of scribbling seizes me I hardly 
know when to stop ; the fit indeed seldom comes 
upon me, but when it does though I sit down with 
design to be short, yet my letter insensibly slides 
into length & swells perhaps into an enormous size. 
I know not how it happens, but on such occasions 
I have a knack of throwing myself out upon 
paper that I cannot readily get the better of. It is 
a sign however that I more than barely esteem the 
person I write to ; as I have constantly experienced 
that my hand but illy performs its office unless my 
heart concurs. I confess I cannot conceive how 
I got into so scribbling a vein at present, as it is 
now past 1 1 o clock at night, & besides being on 
horse the greater part of the day, I intend to start 
early to-morrow for Philada ; there I shall see the 
races, & the play, and, what is of more value than 

all, there too I shall see Miss you know 

who. 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

The inclosed letter to Spring l I commit to your 
care ; I , should have sent it before, as I wrote it 
immediately after you left this place ; but I really 
thought you were in New England long ere now. 
I know not his address ; perhaps he is at Newport, 
perhaps he is not. If on inquiry you find that the 
letter is wrongly directed, pray give it an envelope, 
& superscribe it anew. If he is still at Newport, 
it would perhaps more readily reach him from N. 
York than from any part of N. England you may 
be at. I have said, that if I am mistaken in direct 
ing the written letter, you should cover it, and give 
the proper address. Do, Burr, get somebody, who 
can write at least a passable hand to back it ; for 
you give your letters such a sharp, slender & lady 
like cast, that almost every one on seeing them, 
would conclude, there was a correspondence kept 

1 Samuel Spring was one of the closest early friends of William 
Paterson. He was graduated from Princeton in 1771, and dur 
ing the Revolution joined the Continental army as a chaplain. 
He was in the severe campaign to Canada under Benedict Arnold. 
In the annals of Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he preached 
as"a minister of the gospel for nearly half a century, he is one of 
the most famous figures. 

132 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

up between my honest friend Spring & some of 
the female tribe, which might perhaps affect him 
extremely in point of reputation ; as many people 
suppose that no thing of this kind can be carried 
on between unmarried persons of two sexes with 
out being tinged with love, & the rather so, since 
the notion of platonick love is at the present day 
pretty generally I believe, justly too, exploded. 
Platonick love is arrant nonsense, & rarely if ever 
takes place until the parties have at least passed 
their grand climacterick. Besides, the N. England 
people ; I am told, are odd, inquisitive kind of 
beings, & when pricked on by foolish curiosity, 
may perhaps open the letter, which I do not choose 
should be common to every eye. 

You gave me some hopes, that you would see 
my good friend Reeve before you returned : if you 
do, make him my respectful compliments, & tell 
him that I fully designed to write to him, but 
that business prevented, that laziness hindered, 

that, in short tell him anything, so it does 

not impeach my affection, or lead him to think I 
have entirely forgot him 

WM. PATERSON. 
33 



LETTER TO HENRY LEE, JR. 

PRINCETON Sept 28, 1774 

DEAR SIR, 
It is now the close of commence 
ment, which you well know to be a 
day of noise, of bustle & fatigue. 
But as hurried & as wearied as I am, I cannot for 
bear writing by so fair an opportunity, though I 
am really at a loss in what manner to sum up this 
letter into a decent length. Princeton is quite a 
barren theme ; to count over the exercises of the 
day would be unentertaining to a person, who has 
often seen the pomp of parade of a commence 
ment : & to sit down & think what to write next 
I cannot positively bear ; for besides the want of 
time, it does not run in with my present frame or 
cast of mind. What then shall I tell you ? Shall 
I talk of myself? Self is indeed an object of 
much love & pleasure, that we are apt to imagine 
everybody else must be equally delighted with it. 
Dear, delightful self, which even philosophers dwell 

34 




HENRY LEE, JR. 
From the portrait by J. Herring, after Stuart 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

upon with rapture, notwithstanding all their preten 
sions to humility, self denial & wisdom. 

To talk of one self in such a manner as to 
please requires greater art than is to be met with in 
the bulk of mankind. Vanity is for the most part 
disagreeable ; and what adds to the misfortune is, 
that not contented merely with laughing at those 
who are vain, we endeavor to take them down & 
set them on a level with the rest of the world. We 
cannot bear that any should be vain but ourselves. 
This is the reason that coxcombs are for ever buck 
ing against each other. It is a common observa 
tion, I believe will in general hold for a true one, 
that those are the aptest to be puffed up with 
vanity, who have the fewest good qualities & of 
course are the least worthy of regard. A man of 
modesty and merit will never deal out his own 
praises neither will he ever pass himself forward 
into the crowd merely to be taken notice of & 
admired. And yet there is a sort of vanity pleasing 
enough, though it is rare to be met with and as full 
as hard to describe. The writings of Montaigne, 
the celebrated French essayist, abounds with vanity 
of this kind. Full of himself yet ever agreeable ; 

35 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

his very vanity pleases ; he dresses it up in such a 
manner, that even those who are most opposed to 
the foible can hardly fail of being pleased, & I am 
sure cannot find it in their hearts to be angry. 

Well, Harry, in point of length at least, this 
letter I think may pass. You see I write what 
comes uppermost & as Cowley has it, warm from 
the brain. I hope in this particular you will pattern 
after me, & set down your thoughts just as they rise. 

My best respects wait upon Mr & Mrs Lee. I 
shall ever hold in grateful memory the civility & 
politeness with which they treated my brother, & 
myself. 

Inclosed is a copy of our art. of assembly re 
specting Swine, which Mr Lee desired me to send. 
The legislature made a law concerning swine in the 
infancy of the colony, which however I forbare to 
transcribe, taking the last act to be much better 
adapted to the present State of Virginia, which I 
look upon as standing in the same line, in respect 
of improvement, with the Jersies. 

The fever of ague laid hold of me on my way 
home, however I happily got rid of it in a few days. 
I am yours Sincerely 

WM. PATERSON. 
136 



P A R r V 



LETTERS 



BY 

WILLIAM PATERSON 

TO 

VARIOUS GENTLEMEN 



A LETTER TO MR. JOHN DAVENPORT, 1 OF 
PRINCETON 

NEW BROMLEY 10 July 1769. 

DSIR: 
Inclosed you have the Essay on 
the Passions, which I promised when 
last at Princeton. It has lain by me 
a week or two in Hopes of having an Opportunity 
to send it, but none has offered till now. I wish 
it was more worthy your acceptance : the Business 
I am engaged in obliged me to work it off in a 
Hurry. However as it is not as highly polished 

^ohn Davenport was a native of Southold, Long Island, and 
was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1769. Wil 
liam Pater son s letter to him gives us a remarkable incidence of 
kindness, but we cannot help wondering at the recipient s lack 
of pride in permitting another to write his graduation essay. 
From the Paterson papers it would seem that this was almost a 
custom at the College of New Jersey before the Revolution. 
At any rate, we know that William Paterson, busy with keeping 
a general store at New Bromley and studying to be admitted to 
the bar, found time to write many essays for Princeton students 
who sought his aid. 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

as could be wished, the consequence is that you 
must take the greater pains with it yourself. 
Recollecting that you was somewhat doubtful 
whether you would have any addresses at all, I 
thought it unnecessary to go through them, and 
therefore stopped short in the one to the Doctor. 1 
I confess I could never see the Propriety of giving 
the parting Compliment, or farewell Song at Ex 
amination, and I suppose that, at this day, it has 
nothing to support it but Custom. However, 
situated as you are, if you could so contrive it as 
to make a general Adieu, it would not, I think be at 
all ungraceful. But I do not by any means advise 
you to go the Round of Compliments usual on 
such Occasions : this is the peculiar business of 
the Commencement Orator, and very handsomely 
closes the Exercises of that Day. 

I beg you would be careful of the inclosed 
Piece, and, when done with it, should be glad you 
would return it. 

I am, D Sir 

Your affect. 

WM PATERSON. 
1 Doctor Witherspoon. 
140 



A LETTER TO MR. LUTHER MARTIN/ 
OF MARYLAND 

PRINCETON June zd 1769. 

DE SIR: 
Yours of the 2yth May by the 
Post has just now come to hand, 
& I assure you met with a hearty 
Reception. It was exceedingly fortunate that it 
reached me so soon ; had it been a day tardy on 
its Passage, I should not in all Probability have 
reed it for some Weeks. I am on the Eve of 

1 Luthe/ Martin was a native of New Brunswick, New Jer 
sey, and was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 
1766. Shortly afterwards he removed to the South, where he 
taught school until admitted to the bar in 1771. During the 
Revolution he became attorney-general of the State of Mary 
land. In 1807 he was one of the counsel to defend Aaron 
Burr in his trial for treason. Later in his life he again became 
attorney-general of Maryland, after a lapse of nearly half a cen 
tury. It is said he was one of the last gentlemen of the old 
school to wear wrist ruffles and a que in the city of New York, 
where he died in 1826. 

141 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

bidding Adieu to Princeton, & removing a consid 
erable Way into the country, where I shall live 
mewed up, conversing with none but the Dead. 
To-morrow I expect to take my departure, & I 
am therefore really busied in preparing Matters, & 
getting my Baggage in tolerable Order. However 
inclinable I am to write a long Letter, yet being 
greatly straitened for Time, I must necessarily be 
short. I assure you it would give me real Pleas 
ure could I be of any Service to you ; I hope you 
will make free to call upon me, whenever you 
think I can. You must be sensible, there is very 
little circulating cash in the country, which renders 
it difficult to take up money, tho the best Security 
be offered. I know of none about this place who 
have money to dispose of in this way ; tho is very 
likely the Part of Jersies I am going to live in 
may have some monied men. It is as probable a 
Place as any in the Jersies, & when I name it, 
believe you will think so yourself New Brom 
ley, in Hunterdon County, about 30 miles from 
Princeton, is the place of my intended abode. In 
that part of the country live wealthy Farmers, 
many of whom, I am told, have money to put, to 

142 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

use. You may depend upon it, that I shall en 
deavour all in my Power to procure the Money 
you want & to prove Successful would afford 
me a very particular Pleasure. However I think 
you had better make diligent Inquiry yourself, 
& write to those of your friends on whom you 
can rely to do the Same. 

I am, D Sir, in Haste, 

Your very affect., 

WM PATERSON 



H3 



A LETTER TO THE REV. THEODRICK 
RoMEYN, 1 OF ULSTER, NEW YORK 

NEW BROMLEY, IN 
HUNTERDON COUNTY 

August 14th 1770 

VERY DR SIR : 
You are often in my thoughts and 
not withstanding it is some time 
since I have had a letter from you 
I cannot but say you have still a warm Corner in 
my Heart. I have often wrote you formerly, but 
never receiving a Letter from you, save one or two, 
made me conclude that the far greater Part of 
mine were unfortunate in their Passage. It is in 
deed a misfortune under which we both labor, that 
we live at so unhappy a Distance & in so retired 

1 Theodrick Romeyn was born in New Barbadoes Neck, 
New Jersey, and was graduated from the College of New 
Jersey in 1765. He became a minister in the Reformed Dutch 
Church, and towards the close of his life helped to establish Union 
College. Tradition says he spoke the Holland tongue fluently 
and often delivered his sermons in that language. 

144 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

a Corner of the World as almost as to prevent an 
epistolary correspondence. I asked after you so 
repeatedly in vain, that I at last gave over making 
any further inquiry & solaced myself with the 
pleasing Hope that you were easy quiet & con 
tented. To attain the latter is one of the few things 
worth a wise man s attention, as it is perhaps the 
only way of arriving at Happiness here below. And 
yet small is the number that possesses an easy Com 
petence & still smaller that which enjoys content 
ment which may well enough be called the sunshine 
of the Soul. What a stir & Bustle do we make in 
this Life? One is carried away by Vanity, and 
another by Ambition ; this man is desirous of 
raising a fortune & that of perpetuating his name. 
Prejudice blinds us, Self-Interest makes us partial, 
& the impetuosity of Party-Spirit often makes us 
ungenerous as well as unjust. The best & worst 
of Mankind frequently do that, in the Heat of 
Passion, which they would but condemn in the 
cool Hour of Reflection. It is well we are mortal ; 
for with desires so craving & Appetites so un 
bounded were we immortal, what would we not 
aim at? Cast an attentive look round the World 

10 145 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

& then say whether it does not raise in you either 
a Smile or a Frown. It is true, 

" To laugh, is Want of goodness & of Grace, 
But to be grave exceeds all Pow r of Face." 

I make no scruple to prefer the easy chair of Democ- 
ritus who laughed at human Life as a continual 
Farce, to the lonely Cell of Heraclitus who made 
it the subject of woe & wept at it as a constant 
Tragedy. When I have a low flow of spirits I 
call up these two ancient Philosophers, connect the 
Frolick face with the one, with the Tearful one of 
the other, which forms a sort of tragic-comic Phiz, 
and immediately charms away the spleen. You 
are sometimes as well as myself, a little spleenishly 
inclined ; when therefore you find a Fit of Melan 
choly coming fast on you, imagine to yourself 
Democritus laughing ready to split his sides, or 
Heraclitus whining like a snivelling School-boy 
and its gone. Remember what the author of the 
Poem on the Spleen says- 
Laugh and be well. Monkeys have been 
Extreme good Doctors for the Spleen ; 
146 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

And Kitten, if the Humor hit, 
Has Harliquin d away the Fit. 
I deem it Heav n to be serene ; 
Pain Hell & Purgatory, spleen. 

You may perhaps have heard, that I am admitted 
into the Practice, but it is likely you may not have 
heard where I live. Turn your eyes to the Date of 
this Letter, & you will see, that New Bromley in 
Hunterdon County is the place of my abode. 
When you write me send your letters by the way 
of Princeton, at which Place (being about thirty 
miles from this) I am generally once in five or six 
weeks. 

Pray what has become of Stoddard? I think 
you and he are much alike, for neither of you 
deem it worth while to answer my letters. If he 
continues in his old place, you will perhaps have 
an opportunity of seeing him soon, & if you have, 
should be glad you would make him my most 
respectful Compliments. 

I am, Dr Sir, 

Sincerely Your s 
WM PATERSON. 



147 



A LETTER TO DOCTOR BARNET,* OF 
ELIZABETH-TOWN, NEW JERSEY 

NEW BROMLEY 8th Jany, 1771 

DR SIR, 
Mrs Barnet, when I had the 
pleasure of seeing her last, informed 
me that she intended going to Morris 
Town some time soon. Not recollecting that I 
had any particular Business at that Place, I 
neglected to ask when she designed to set off, 
though if I had, it is a million to one, whether she 
could have solved the question, for, I think, it is a 
Maxim, that a woman don t know her own mind 
half an hour together. But this under the Rose. 
I should be fond of an Opportunity of send g a 
letter to Morris Town, & therefore beg you will 
let me know (for you being her Lord & Master 

1 Doctor Barnet was perhaps the best known physician of 
his time in New Jersey. He introduced vaccination into the 
colony and was famous for his vagaries, many and eccentric. 
During the Revolution he served as an army surgeon, and was 
most ardent in his love of freedom. 

148 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

can tell,) whether Mrs Barnet goes this week or 
not? 

Your Company on Friday last would have been 
very acceptable, & I am really sorry that anything 
stept in to prevent your attendance. Inclination 
(I will not say Business, for you will be rougish 
enough not to believe me if I do) leads me in a 
few day to Princeton, where if you have any com 
mands it will give me Pleasure to execute them. 

Mrs Barnet will have it, that court is always at 
Princeton with me ; be it so, I shall not dispute 
the Matter at Present but I can assure her I have 
no love suit depending there. Of all the arts of 
Life I abominate that of Love. It is the saddest 
thing in the world ; it is indeed a disease beyond 
the Doctor s skill, for I look upon it as absolutely 
incurable. That I rather (though that is bad 
enough in all Conscience) swallow the roughest 
Pill you can make, than be love-sick for a single 
hour : as to the first give one gulp, & there is an 
End of it : where as the second by its languishing 
Softness wholly unmans one. Besides when Love 
once seizes a person it is not easily shaken off: 
so far from it, that it generally concludes with 

149 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

marriage & is followed by the bitterest of curses a 
wife, which always lasts till Death. One may with 
a little alteration say with Sir John Wronghead in 
the Trip to London " what a mortal poor Devil is 
a lover r 

Nature does wonders at Times & now & then 
we see a Husband happy in a wife. Woman may 
indeed be said to be the last best gift, or curse of 
Heaven. 1 

1 This letter was no doubt written when William Paterson 
was still suffering from Elizabeth Stockton s rejection of his 
addresses. Eight years later his views of the female sex had 
undergone a complete transformation when he gave his heart to 
" the loveliest & fairest of women," Cornelia Bell, of Raritan, 
New Jersey. His letters to her, penned during the Revolution, 
are among the sweetest and most charming love-epistles pre 
served in the English language. In a little diary compiled when 
William Paterson was governor of New Jersey we find recorded : 

* William Paterson and Cornelia Bell were married on Tues 
day the 9th of Feby 1779, by l ^ e R ev ^ Mr Samuel Blair, a 
Presbyterian Minister, at the House of Anthony White Esq. 
at the Union Farm, in the County of Hunterdon. 

Present 

Anthony White Esq. 

Col. Charles Stewart 

150 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

My best Wait upon Mrs Barnet whom I much 
esteem, though she be a woman ; and accept the 
same from, Dr Sir, 

Your obed. hble Sevt. 

WM PATERSON 

P. S. As I may perhaps set off for Princeton 
before I either see or hear from you, I shall leave 
the Letter for Morris Town in charge with Berry ; 
so that if Mrs Barnet goes this week, be so good 
as to send him word & she will forward it to Ger 
man Town. W. P. 

Thomas Paterson 

Edward Paterson 

Miss Isabel White 

Miss Johannah White 

Miss Euphemia White." 

Mrs. Cornelia Paterson died at the close of the Revolution, in 
the Paterson mansion in New Brunswick, and later in his life 
William Paterson espoused her friend Euphemia White, who 
outlived him many years. 



p A R r vi 



A 

SENIOR S LETTER 

in 1786 

TO A GENTLEMAN 

"Acting a superior fart on the 
THEATRE of the WORLD" 



COLLEGE PRINCETON 

July 8th, 1786 

DEAR SIR. 
An address of this nature will I 
am thinking appear somewhat ex 
traordinary and be unexpected. I 
am also fearful that it may be thought forward and 
unbecoming from me to you. Apprehensions of 
this kind would create in me a diffidence of the 
undertaking did not the necessity of my situation 
and a regard for my own interest together with a 
more powerful reason than either prompt me to it. 
I am in hopes you will excuse the liberty I have 
taken when you are informed of its motives and 
design. Though you are now acting an eminent 
and superior part on the more extensive theatre of 
the world, you no doubt still hold in rememberance 
that time of your youth which was spent in college 
in the pursuit of science and in laying the foun 
dation of your present fame & usefulness. The 
exercises of our college must still be known to 
you. The emulation that subsists among the 

155 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

students. Their exhibitions in public and the ad 
vantages of a creditable appearance on all public 
occasions. Presuming Sir, that these things are 
within your recollection and relying on your enter 
tainment to literature and on your disposition to 
aid and encourage those who are engaged in liter 
ary pursuits, I am told to entreat your assistance in 
my favor, to prepare me for my last publick speak 
ing in college the next commencement. On all 
occasions hitherto I have made trial of my own 
abilities with a view to my own improvement and 
avoid being troublesome to others. But as the 
exercise to which I would solicit your aid appears 
to me of superior importance, and attended with 
uncommon difficulties, I distrust my being any 
way adequate to a suitable preparation and would 
be scrappy. If (without troubling you too much) 
I could interest you so much in what concerns me 
as to engage a few hours of your attention to free 
me from any present anxiety. 

The present Senior class in college of which I 
am a member consists of about thirty, amongst 
whom are several excellent speakers who I suppose 
will take all possible methods to make an appear- 

156 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

ance in the fall to the greatest advantage if it 
were supposed that to do this they relied only on 
their own Study and ingenuity I should consider it 
my interest and duty to exert my own powers to 
be on a level with them. But as it is known that 
they depend for the most part on the assistance of 
their friends of greater experience and abilities for 
their commencement orations there is but little 
encouragement left for one alone to strive and after 
wards experience the mortification of feeling his 
own inferiority. We are now within a little better 
than two months of the usual time of commence 
ment. It seems probable that there will be present 
to our exhibition a large assembly, and perhaps to 
a young person just entering on the world, his 
appearance at such a time may be of consequence. 
These are the reasons that have induced me to 
write to you in such a manner and on such a sub 
ject. I hope at least that they may serve as an 
apology for my freedom. 

If Sir you could do me the favor I ask con 
sistently with your other employments it will be 
doing me a kindness which will lay me under obli 
gations. But if it should interfere the least with 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

your convenience I dare urge my request no longer. 
I only pray your information that I may know on 
what to depend, or that I may if possible make 
application some where else. 

As to the subject of it is a matter of indifference 
to me, your judgment will determine it. We are 
required to bring in our pieces on the yth of 
August for the inspection of the faculty. At that 
time comes on our last examination, after this we 
shall be at liberty to return home and spend our 
six weeks between examination and commence 
ment. The design of the faculty in insisting on 
our pieces so long before they will be spoke is to 
prevent disappointments and blunderings. But if 
you sir should find it inconvenient to help me I 
pray you do not hurry yourself on that account. 
Perhaps I may obtain the privilege of a longer 
time to prepare in. If so if I should receive one 
time enough to commit it well to memory and 
exercise myself well in it, it will do. 

I know not what to offer in defence of this liberty. 
You Sir will judge whether the occasion together 
with the declaration that I do not know to whom 
I could apply with equal propriety are sufficient to 

158 



AND LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

excuse me and at least to acquit the honest inten 
tions of your 

Most obedient & Humble Servant 

EDWARD GRAHAM. 1 

1 Edward Graham was graduated from Princeton in 1786. 
He was a native of North Carolina, and after leaving college 
embraced the law as a profession. It is not known whether 
William Paterson answered his letter, but presumably so, as he 
never lost his interest in his dearly loved alma mater. 



59 



P A R r VII 



LETTERS 

Concerning the College Frolics 



OF THE LAST 



PATROON OF RENSSELAERSWYCK 
and Others 



A LETTER FROM WILLIAM PATERSON, 
THE GRANDFATHER OF STEPHEN VAN 
RENSSELAER, TO HENRY KOLLOCK, A 
TUTOR AT THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY 

STJ NEW BRUNSWICK 8th Dec. 1804. 

Mr Van Rensselaer requests, that you 
would be so good as to inform him, 
through me, of the character of Mr Elliot, 
Stephen s chum ; and if he is not very steady and 
serious, begs that you would endeavor to get him 
in with some other young gentleman, that is so. 
Stephen was suffered to remain too long at New 
York, and has been much indulged. His father is 
very anxious about him, and particularly, that he 
should be connected with a studious, regular and 
moral room-mate, whose manners and exemplary 
conduct will prove beneficial to him, and facilitate 
his progress in literature. Excuse this trouble ; and 

believe 

me to be 

Your s Sincerely 

WM PATERSON 
163 



A LETTER FROM DR. SAMUEL SMITH, 
THE COLLEGE PRESIDENT, TO WILLIAM 
PATERSON 

PRINCETON Deer zyth, 1804 

DEAR SIR, 
I did not approve the change which 
young Van Rensalaer [sic] made of 
his room-mates, & before he made 
it, I sent for him & told him it must not be done 
& thought he had desisted from it until more than 
a fortnight afterwards. With regard to this young 
gentleman, I must give my candid opinion, that he 
is as yet, too young, & too volatile & perhaps a 
little too self-willed, to enjoy so much independence 
as he must necessarily feel in a college where, 
especially at this age of American liberty, the 
youngest feels himself on a perfect equality with 
the oldest. Perhaps, if he were in Brunswick or 
at Basking-Ridge, under a closer & more immediate 
inspection, at least where he would have fewer 
companions & temptations, for one year more it 
might have a useful effect upon him. 

164 



;LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

I most sincerely wish that, on some plan or 
other, a new building could be added to the Col 
lege & occupied entirely in lodging rooms. The 
students at present are, by far too much crowded 
for their comfort, & indeed, for the greatest advan 
tage of study & order. 

One of our suspended boys of the name of 
Hart from Kentucky, has been lately making a 
Christmas frolic among us. The Trustees at their 
meeting last Spring gave direction to re-admit him 
into College on certain conditions. Some time in 
the Summer he returned to Princeton under the 
pretence of studying but it was only pretence. 
He remained in the town ; but haunted the College 
particularly at nights ; & for two or three months 
past has been endeavoring to mislead some of the 
more thoughtless & idle boys. It was long before 
his influence was perceptible in any great degree. 
But, within a little time past, we began to perceive 
symptoms, of disorder among a few ; till, on 
Christmas eve, always an unlucky time, he induced 
a number to join him in disturbing the College 
with a great noise he fired a pistol three times in 
the entry, & at length blew up the brick necessary 

165 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

behind it, with gunpowder somehow placed under 
it, or inserted into the walls. A warrant was issued 
to apprehend him the next day ; but he made his 
escape into Pennsylvania. We have not been 
able to discover but one or two of his accomplices. 
The institution, before this affair, has been remark 
ably quiet and orderly. But such are the evils to 
which, for want of power, we are exposed from the 
residence near us of ill disposed boys who have 
suffered the censures of the College ; & who can 
find a thousand means secretly to mingle with the 
worst of the students, & to seduce the inconsistent. 

This, with our impotence to control hucksters 

& taverns are among the greatest evils of which 
we have to complain. 

With the highest esteem, I am 
Dr Sir, 

Yr mo obdt & hble Sevt. 

SAML. SMITH 



1 66 



A SECOND LETTER FROM WILLIAM 
PATERSON TO HENRY KOLLOCK 

NEW BRUNSWICK 

DEAR SIR, 3I Decem - I8 4 

I availed myself of the hint in 
your letter of the 2yth of this month 
by writing to young V. R. this day 
a long letter in the manner you suggested, which, 
I hope, will not be without effect. I have com 
municated to his father the Sentiments contained 
in your letter and that of Doctr Smith ; and ad 
vised him to caution Stephen against his ruling 
faults and passions, and to urge him to diligence in 
his studies, and emulation to excel in morals and 
in science. Will you be so kind as to keep a 
watchful eye over him, and to inform me, from 
time to time, of his general deportment, and his 
progress in learning. A year or two to come will 
probably give a cast to the whole course of his 
life. I am, with great esteem, 

Yr ob.dt. Sevt. 

W P. 

167 



A LETTER FROM THE FATHER OF STEPHEN 

VAN RENSSELAER 1 TO HIS FATHER-IN- 
LAW, WILLIAM PATERSON 

Jany 7, 1805 

DEAR SIR 
You can scarcely imagine my 
distress at reading the extracts of 
the letter you had the goodness to 
enclose to my Cornelia. I have been under con 
stant apprehension since I left Stephen at Princeton 

1 The Stephen Van Rensselaer referred to in these letters 
became the last patroon of feudal land of Central New York. 
His family was one of the oldest in America, and in their style 
of living reflected the manners and customs of the English nobil 
ity. Before his advent at the College of New Jersey, young 
Van Rensselaer had taken part in the gay life of New York City 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Strikingly hand 
some and of a merry temperament, he was a favorite in the 
exclusive circles of " North River Society * when in his early 
teens. A little over a quarter of a century before his arrival at 
New Jersey s foremost seat of learning, his father had journeyed 
to the college as a student, protected from Tories and Indians 

168 



LIFE AT PRINCETON, 1766-1773 

having till that period been under the eye and 
controul of a Master, lest his conduct on the new 
scene of a college life should not redound to his 
credit. I wish to make another experiment before 
I remove him for which purpose I must beg of 
you request Mr. Kollock to take him under his 
care or if possible to board with him. I will with 
pleasure allow him one hundred pounds pr year. 
I console myself with the hope that with Mr Kol- 
lock s aid he may Still be made a useful member 
of society, permit me to trouble when at Balti 
more to enquire if I could (if necessary to remove 
my boy) obtain a situation in the French school 
at that place. Cornelia unites with me in con 
gratulations on the return of a new year to you 
Mrs P & and all friends. 

I am Yours affly 

S. RENSSELAER. 

by a military guard. In striking contrast was the arrival of the 
son, who came in a chaise, with his black valet and, tradition 
says, with a wardrobe which was the envy of every man at 
college. 



169 



PART VIII 



SONGS 

SUNG AT 

THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY 

IN THE 

i8 th Century 

FROM 

A PATERSON MANUSCRIPT 



CUPID TRIUMPHANT 



N 



OW S the time for mirth and glee, 
Sing and love and laugh with me, 
Cupid is my theme of story ; 
Tis his godship s fame and glory 

How all yield unto his law ! 

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! 



O er the grave and o er the gay 
Cupid takes his share of play ; 
He makes heroes quit their glory ; 
He s the god most fam d in story ; 
Bending them unto his lay 
Ha! Ha! Ha! etc. 

Sly the urchin deals his darts, 
Without pity piercing hearts : 
Cupid triumphs over passions, 
Not regarding modes, or fashions, 
Firmly fix d is Cupid s law 
Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! etc. 
173 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Some may think these lines not true, 
But they re fact twixt me and you ; 
Then ye maids and men be wary ; 
How you meet before you marry 
Cupid s will is solely law. 
Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! etc. 



74 



PAUVRE MADELON 



C 



OULD you to battle march away, 

And leave me here complaining, 
I m sure t would break my heart to 

stay, 

When you were gone campaigning, 
Ah non, non, non, pauvre Madelon 

Would never quit her Rover, 
Ah non, non, non, pauvre Madelon, 
Would go with you all the world over 

Cheer, cheer, you shall not grieve, 

A soldier true you ll find me, 
I could not have the heart to leave 

My little girl behind me. 
Ah non, non, non, etc. 

And could you to the battle go, 

To women s fears a stranger 
No fears my breast will ever know, 

But where my love s in danger. 
Ah non, non, non, etc. 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Then let the world jog as it will 
Let hollow friends forsake us, 

We both shall be as happy still, 
As love and war can make us. 

Ah non, non, non, etc. 



176 



T 



JERSEY BLUE 

O arms once more, our Heroines 
Sedition lives, and order dies, 
To peace and ease then bid adieu, 
And dash to the mountains Jersey 
Blue. 

CHORUS 



Jersey Blue. Jersey Blue. 

And dash to the mountains Jersey Blue ! 

Since proud ambition rears her head, 
And murderous rage and discord spread, 
To save from spoil the virtuous few, 
Dash to the mountains Jersey Blue. 

Rous d at the call, with magic sound, 
The drums and Trumpets circle round 
As soon the corps their rout pursues, 
So dash to the mountains Jersey Blues. 

12 177 



P 



LULLABY 

EACEFUL slumbring on the ocean, 

Sailors fear no dangers nigh, 
The winds and waves in gentle motion 
Soothes them with its lullaby 
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, 
Soothes them with its lullaby. 



Is the wind tempestuous blowing ? 
Still no danger they descry 

The guileless heart its boon bestowing 
Soothes them with its lullaby 
Soothes them with its lullaby. 



178 



ROGER 

NOW Roger I ll tell thee, since thou 
art my son, 
A Council I ll give thee for 
life- 
Put on thy best clothes, and thy fine yellow hose 
And I ll warrant thee l get thee a wife, thee will. 

CHORUS 

Yes thee will, so thee will 
And I warrant thee l get thee a wife, thee 
will. 

Now as he was mounting and taking his leave 

To leave his dear mother behind, 
It grieved his heart to think he should part, 
And leave his dear mother behind, it did. 
Yes it did, etc. 
179 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

The first that young Roger attempted to view 
Was the parson s fair daughter named Grace 

He d scarcely spoke but a word, or two 
And she hit him a slap in the face, she did. 
Yes she did, etc. 

If this be the way of getting a wife, 
Says Roger I ll ne er seek another, 

I d rather live single all the days of my life, 
And so I ll go home to my mother, I will. 
Yes I will, etc. 



1 80 



T 



SONG 

HEY call me honest Harry O ; 
Molly I will marry O ; 
In spite of Nell 
Or Isabelle, 
I ll follow my own vagary O ; 
With my rigdum, jigdum any O ; 
I love little Molly O ; 
In spite of Nell 
Or Isabelle 
I ll follow my own vagary O. 

Straight she is, and bonny O ; 
Sweet she as sugar candy O, 

Fresh and gay 

As flowers in May, 
And I m her Jack a dandy O ; 
With my rigdum, jigdum, etc. 
181 



GLIMPSES OF COLONIAL SOCIETY 

Soon to church I ll bring her O ; 
Where we ll wed together O, 

And that done 

Then we ll have fun 
In spite of wind or weather O ; 
With my rigdum, jigdum, etc. 




182 



WHAT THE PRESS SAYS ABOUT 

HISTORIC HOUSES OF 
NEW JERSEY 

BY W. JAY MILLS 

" An important contribution to the history of New Jersey." 

THE BOOKMAN 

<( A brilliant story of New Jersey social life." 

TOWN AND COUNTRY 

" It is broad enough and so comprehensive that the student 
of history will consider himself hardly worthy of the name 
without a perusal." 

THE ELIZABETH RECORD 

" Mr. Mills has made good use of his material." 

THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE 

"A work whose subjects have exactly the interest ascribed 
to them in the title." 

THE MAIL AND EXPRESS 

" In reconstructing the past for twentieth century readers, 
Mr. Mills s strokes are those of the sympathetic and well in 
formed artist, with a fine eye for color and a lively appreciation 
of the bright and cheerful." 

NEWARK EVENING NEWS 

"Efforts such as Mr. Mills s will give New Jersey a litera 
ture which cannot be questioned by even New England." 

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