Letter from Frederick Wolcott to his wife, Betsey

Litchfield June 27th 1800

My dearest Friend
Miss Huntington,

If I were to write to you as often
as I think of you, the perusal of my letter would afford you a
constant employment. If, however I could flatter myself that you
would read them with as much pleasure as I write them, I am
sure you would not be unwilling pretty frequently to hear
from me. My mind dwells with great pleasure on our
acquaintance & friendship. I love, without reserve, to write
to you & to disclose my feelings; to tell you I am your friend,
& that I will always remain so. With pleasure and with
as much true gratitude as every heart felt, I reflect on the
confidence you repose in me, & on the kind civilities with
which you treat me. We will continue our acquaintance
& cultivate the most honourable friendship, & indulge
the effusions of the most tender regard.-Yes, Betsey, we
will live happily together, & will endeavour to trace and
secure the true sources of enjoyments.-Shall we not find
them in a life of Virtue & usefulness? - And why, my
dear friend, do you sometimes suffer melancholy to rest on
your countenance? -You always betray all your emotions &
every feeling. You have never been learned in the School
of hypocracy. I thank my God, your mind has never been
ruined by a false education; but your countenance and
language are forever the mirror of truth.-I think, my
friend I have sometimes seen you melancholy. Why
did you tell me the last evening I saw you that you feared you
should be home sick when you should come to Litchfield?
[p. 2]
Was this reflection excited by the prospect of leaving your dear
friends & of entering on a new scene of life?-or did you almost
repent your acquaintance with me & egret the progress of it? This
my feelings will not permit me to believe.-I will not believe
it; & the uniform tenor of your conduct does not require that
I should.- No, Betsey, I have perfect confidence in you. My bosom
swells with strong emotions when I look forward to the period
when I may convince you how highly I value your esteem, and how
much it will be an object with me to merit the continuance of it.-
It is not strange that the relation in which we now stand to
each other should occasion you some anxiety. You can never
leave your family friends without making sacrifices which are
common to but few. And your good sense convinces you that
your rank, your condition and happiness in life must depend
very much on the person with whom you may become connected.
But, these are reflections which must arise whenever you leave
your friends. They are not of so serious a nature that they ought
to determine you never to change your condition. If so, have not
we, my beloved friend, as fair and rational a prospect of finding
happiness in the connection we contemplate, as can be expected?-
I think we have.-On my part, the obligations under which I
have placed myself to you, excite no feelings but those which
are the most pleasing to me.-If, Betsey, you have any doubts,
any wishes which give you inquietude, frankly suggest them.
It can never be too late before we place ourselves in a condition in
which repentance must necessarily be unavailing to you. I will never
claim a promise the fulfillment of which shall give you pain. You
cannot mistake the feelings which dictate these remarks. They are
[p. 3]
are pure & honourable. My friend, you do and always will com-
mand my sincere esteem and tender regard.-& if it will be in
my power, with a competency (without affluence) to render
you happy, we will live happily; & I shall rejoice extremely
to form with you the most enduring of all connections
as soon as your feelings & convenience will permit.-
I feel extremely grateful to your kind Parents for the favourable
opinion they have of me; & that they are willing to entrust with
me the dearest pledge of their love, & the object of their most
tender regard. I hope they will never find themselves deceived
in my character & that I may never forfeit their esteem.-
But I will acknowledge, without affectation & with sincerity,
that I believe they have a better opinion of me than I
merit. I only claim that I am an honest man, that my
character is not stigmatized with any reproach, that my
condition in Society is decently respectable, & if I be industri
ous & have health, that I can obtain for us a reputable
support.-This amount of myself is fair.-Betsey, I have too
much regard for you to be inclined to deceive you. I should
not eventually advance my own happiness by representing
my condition to you as more eligible than you may
here after find it. I would prefer that the error should
be the other way. If I be prospered, I think my prospects
are decently good. I have ambition to obtain a
character & influence in Society. My ambition and
exertions will be encreased by my desire to secure the continu-
ance of your esteem & regard.-Yes, my love, my first object
shall be to gratify your wishes & to make you happy. I will
always unbosom myself to you. You shall know every wish of
[p. 4]
of my heart. We will reciprocate acts of kindness. We will steal
a little pleasure from every passing scene, & in every variety
of fortune we will have a tender interest in each others welfare,
& in the advancement of each other's happiness.

I shall leave home the next monday
on a journey of business, & shall be absent a fortnight or three
weeks. Betsey, how many times do you believe I shall think
of you before I return? May I not with more propriety say
how much of my time shall I not think of you? As soon as
I shall return I will commit some of my thoughts to writing,
& let them journey; & not long afterward I will follow
them. Till then, my lovely friend, I will say, God bless you, &
may you have every blessing he can send you.-Will you
present me with respect to your Parents, & with love & esteem to
Miss Chester. I ought to feel under obligation to her for the
civilities & friendship with which she has treated me.-You must
excuse lengthy letter from your friend

Frederick Wolcott

From the Alice Wolcott Collection, Box 3, Folder 13, Litchfield Historical Society