The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview

40. To William Baylies

Great Barrington [ May 27] 18171

My dear Sir

I have at length summoned up industry enough to answer yours of the 7th of February last. I am obliged to you for the kind inquiries you make concerning my situation. --You ask whether I am pleased with my profession-- Alas, Sir, the Muse was my first love and the remains of that passion which not rooted out yet chilled into extinction will always I fear cause me to look coldly on the severe beauties of Themis. Yet I tame myself to its labours as well as I can, and have endeavoured to discharge with punctuality and attention such of the duties of my profession as I was capable of performing-- When I wrote you last 2 I had a partner in business. --He has relinquished it to me. I bought him out a few days ago for a mere trifle. --The business of the Office has hitherto been worth about 10 or 12. hundred dollars a year. --It will probably be less hereafter yet I cannot think it will decrease very materially, as I am well patronized here and have been considered with more kindness than I could have expected-- There is another Office in town kept by Genl. Whiting-- one of the Senators from this district, 3 who has a partner--Mr. Hyde-- 4 In "arguing" cases I have not been very frequently employed. I never spouted in a courthouse. While in Hampshire County I did something in that way and began to make long speeches at references and Justice courts, but since I came here my partner--who was respectable as an advocate & has the advantage of 〈superior〉 longer experience took that trouble off my hands--since our separation however I have [been] trying my hand at it again-- 5

Upon the whole I have every cause to be satisfied with my situation, for place a man where you will it is an easy thing for him to dream out a more eligible mode of life than the one which falls to his lot. --While I have too much of the mauvaise honte 6 to seek opportunities of this nature I have whipped myself up to a desperate determination not to avoid them. 7

I should be much delighted to visit Bridgewater again, and mean to do so at no very distant period. I believe however that the circumstances of my business and the hard times will keep me at home the present season--

[unsigned]

MANUSCRIPT: NYPL-GR (draft) ADDRESS: To the Hon William Baylies PUBLISHED (in part): Life, I, 147-148.

1.
The date of May 27 is a likely one, for this letter accompanied that of the following day to Peter Bryant.
2.
January 25, 1817, Letter 35.
3.
See 41.2.

-71-

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