The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

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

to great advantage with me. I have several books on that branch of natural history. The plants of this region will, many of them, interest you by being new to you, and my wife who has paid considerable attention to the subject, shall be your companion in your rambles, and your instructress. 2

I think I cannot well visit Cummington till about the middle of June. I have made arrangements to come about that time, but if any thing should happen to prevent it, you must not be surprised, but expect me about the beginning of July. When I come, I shall expect to bring you back with me if you are well enough, which I pray you may be.-- 3

Your affectionate brother
Wm. C. BRYANT

MANUSCRIPTS: Weston Family Papers (final); NYPL-GR (draft) ADDRESS: Miss Sarah S. Bryant / Cummington PUBLISHED: Bryant Record, p. 98.

1.
Unrecovered.
2.
In 1820 the distinguished naturalist Amos Eaton ( 1776-1842, Williams 1799) gave a series of popular lectures on botany in Great Barrington and nearby towns. An early friend of Peter Bryant's, he took a particular interest in Cullen and Frances, who became his avid pupils. Eaton to Bryant, June 21, 1833, NYPL-BG. By 1821 Cullen was a "passionate botanist" whose accurate knowledge of the flora of Berkshire and Hampshire Counties has been remarked by several historians. See Life, I, 165, 203; D. D. Field, History of the County of Berkshire ( Pittsfield, 1829), pp. 61-67; McDowell, Representative Selections, p. xxxiv. Cullen's assurance that many local plants would be new to Sally is explained by the difference in altitude of nearly one thousand feet between Cummington and the valley of the Housatonic at Great Barrington.
3.
It is unlikely that Sally visited Great Barrington that summer, for from May I until her marriage to Dr. Samuel Shaw on September 13 she was constantly under his medical care. "Samuel Shaw Day-Book No. 3 Began April 1st 1821," Homestead Collection.

70. To Edward T. Channing

Great Barrington June 2nd. 1821.

My Dear Sir.

If I pursued my grave legal studies, as you call them, so diligently that a letter from you could be said to interrupt them--I can assure you that the interruption would be a very agreeable one. But you certainly need use no apology to one who does not follow the study of law very eagerly, because he likes other studies better; and yet devotes little of his time to them, for fear that they should give him a dislike to law. 1

I wish Mr. Dana all success in his new literary project; and as you tell me he intends to give his exclusive attention to the work, I cannot doubt of its being well received. 2 I shall be happy if any assistance I can render will be of any use to him. I write some trifles occasionally, which I might look over, make better, and send to be printed; --though in requesting my aid I fear you do me more honour than I shall do the work good. The little poem I sent you some time since, you may dispose of

-105-

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