Letter from Julius Deming to his sons

Litchfield, March 7, 1819

My dear sons:

I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines by our Mr. Galpin, and I think under more melancholy impressions of our political concerns than I have ever before even contemplated – although I have always looked on the dark side – more is already realized than I even thought would happen in my day – worn down by age and infirmity and reflecting what the State of Connecticut once was, and what and what it even already now is, is more than my nerves are able to bear, and I have hardly strength nor spirits to write you a single line. Last Monday was our (now) Annual Freeman's meeting, and at their May sessions, the Judges of our Superior Court are to be permanently appointed. To save the present judges great exertions have been made thought the North by the Federalists – and greater on both sides in this town could not be made. Mr. Bacon & Morriss Woodruff, Fed. candidates, John Welch & Phineas Lord, Democratic. It was expected 30 percent new freemen would be made. 69 were made, and as astonishing as it may appear to you, Abel Hendricks, the two Deans, Chil Plamers and Arc Bissell were among the number and are given as a sample – the Authority of examining freemen & counting their votes is taken from the Civil Authority and given to the Select men and Town Clerk – no question of Character I am informed was asked respecting the new Freemen. After adjourning to the meeting house Fred. Wolcott Esq. being appointed Moderator by the Select men, the first vote was to wear hats , and carried in the affirmative – from this time a scene of noise, crowding and confusion ensued never before witnessed by me in any meeting – the first round the votes stood as declared, Mr. Welch 346, Mr. Bacon 344 and 10 scattering., the 2nd time Mr. Welch 348, Mr. Bacon 345 and I believe 11 scattering, the third round there being only 3 scattering, and a miscount of 4 votes in favor of Welch. He would have been declared chosen had not the eagle eyes of Carrington (a looker on) challenged the mistake, and a recount confirmed it, & Welch was again declared two the highest with 3 scattering votes – so the votes stood with a little variation of numbers Welch alway, 2 above Bacon including the sixth time when the votes were 357 for Welch 355 for Mr. Bacon & I think three scattering votes. At this time it was near growing dark and several old men paired off, or went home, say dozen but one leading demo. To put an end to the strife and with firm assurance from several Fed. that Morris Woodruff to carry over to Mr. Bacon from 12 to 20 of his men that he could influence, accordingly the seventh round Mr. Welch had 371 Mr. Bacon 369 & eleven scattering, thus Mr. Bacon had the increase & was still two the highest, & at the same time an increase of I think, six scattering votes; in the whole, and after the above mentioned had gone home an increase of I think 34 votes , how these things could be and fair balloting maintained could not be reconciled. The Moderator conducted great propriety. Thus you may learned that there is no possible chance for this state ever to return to their ancient steady habits. I have labored for more than forty years in assisting to secure and preserve our ancient laws & institutions in the State, Town & Society, & have lived to see them by this innovating spirit vanish like the morning cloud in less than two years, Alas poor Connecticut, lost! lost! lost!

I enclose $210, money collected by Mr. Bacon for Frederick on his claim against Mr. Lord and a Jacob Barker bill of $5. collected of somebody else, total $215.

Yours as ever,

Julius Deming