removal to Great Barrington in October 1816 and the dissolution of his partnership
with George Ives in May 1817.
Soon after beginning law practice in Plainfield, Bryant had apparently heard
through Samuel Howe that George Ives ( 1789-1825), son of Gen. Thomas Ives of Great
Barrington, Massachusetts, was looking for a partner. After an exchange of letters, Ives
wrote Bryant on June 24, 1816, inviting him to join in a busy practice which might
produce as much as $2,000 a year with a partner in his office. NYPL-BG. Having
looked into other possibilities, perhaps at Dalton and Northampton, Bryant accepted Ives's invitation about September 1. Sarah Snell Bryant, "Diary," August 6, 10, 19, 22, 1816; "Youth," pp. 183-185.
Although these brief comments are apparently Bryant's only surviving reaction
to his eight months' law practice at Plainfield, we know from William Baylies' reply to
an unrecovered letter he wrote after only a month's residence there that his situation
was uncongenial. Writing Cullen on January 24, 1816 (NYPL-BG), Baylies remarked, "I suppose from your description that Plainfield does not furnish a very polished society," but "If the people are honest & industrious it is sufficient-- Indulge not in an over-refined taste-- It is the enemy of our peace--a destroyer of our comfort." It seems
likely that Cullen's return, as a fledgling lawyer, to the village he had left only six
years earlier as a schoolboy of fifteen did not win him easy acceptance among the opinionated farmers who were his neighbors there. That his unhappy experience was not
unique is made evident by his friend Jacob Porter, who wrote later of Plainfield, "Several attornies have practiced here, each for a short time; but no one has met with sufficient encouragement to make it his permanent residence." Topographical Description
and Historical Sketch of Plainfield ( Greenfield, 1834), p. 26.
35. To William Baylies
Great Barrington 25 Jan'y 1817
My dear Sir
It is a long time since I have heard from you and perhaps I have only
to reproach my own remissness in writing to you with being the cause. If
my conduct in this respect should seem to you of sufficient consequence
to need an apology I beg that you will impute it to any thing else, rather
than a forgetfulness of my obligations to one whom I shall ever remember with esteem and gratitude. I am naturally indolent & negligent enough
but I thank God that whatever faults have been permitted to grow up in
my disposition he has kept my heart warm towards my friends.
I have removed my residence to the place from which I date this
letter. I am in partnership with a young man of the name of Ives and
have the honour of occupying the office where your colleague Mr. Hub-
bard received his professional education.
1 This is a pretty little village
in a very pleasant part of the world and if it has not every advantage I
could wish I ought perhaps to remember that since the Garden of Eden
was drifted by the deluge to take root in the main ocean
an Island salt and bare
The haunt of Orcs and seals and sea-mews' clang
Paradise is no longer to be found on earth.
The act reducing the pay of members of Congress gave me some surprise. I thought perhaps that they might agree to receive a daily instead