Yours of 3rd Sept is before me. I hope that the bodily ailings which you mention are neither serious nor permanent. Last Spring I feared much for my own health during the present summer but those anticipations have been agreeably disappointed. Except for a few attacks of diarrhea (a complaint to which I am very subject) I have enjoyed good health and at present feel perfectly well. John has had no sickness; and for more than a year has not swallowed a dose of medicine. The present season has been unusualy healthy. But one death has occured in my practice; and that one was attended to with peculiar distress to her family and pain to myself. The wife of a gentleman (Mr Sargent) was taken early in July with a severe attack of fever. I had attended her several times previously, and knew well her weakly constitution. She was most carefully treated and the disease began to abate. But as bodily strength returned the mental faculties gave way. She who had led a most exemplary life, conceived her sins to be greater than she could bear. She managed singularly enough to get hold of some arsenic, and took a fatal portion. She concealed the fact too long for releif, and the best woman on the Ambraw sunk into the grave an involuntary suicide. The deceased was my wifes most particular friend, and as I stood by her & saw her last breath, the reccollection of their intimacy called forth the first tears I have shed for mortal since Lucinda died.
As to the guardianship of John I do not wish any thing of the kind entered into at present. I neglected in my last letter to recal
62the appointment I had made, I did not think of it till I had sealed it, but considered that under the circumstances there detailed you would act as you have. In all probability I shall be with you in April or May next. This determination may be altered, as I expect my youngest brother to be with me in about a week from this time, but it is highly probable that should we live, John & myself will be with you in the spring.
By the last mail I received a letter from my brother the Doctor. It appears he has been visited by Mr Berryhill who it also appears is attorney to our worthy brother Mr Jackson. Mr Jackson it seems doubts your honesty, so much that he is about to institute proceedings to compel the settlement of your fathers estate. Mr Jacksons organ of marvelousness is no doubt a predominant feature of his character. My brother says he expects to convict you of embezzlement to a great amount, and his attorney urges me to open a correspondence with Mr Jackson on the subject. As the settlement of that estate never troubled me, I do not think I shall at this late time of day, join myself with Mr J. in a crusade against you. If I could give what little is there belonging to my son away, I would freely do it. There are those of your family whom I beleive would need it much more than he ever will.
Our circuit court sat last week. I had the pleasure of attending as a party to give reasons why Justice should not be done. I was sued by a person named Matson for the gentlemanly sum of twenty five hundred dollars & 50 dol damage. The suit did not come on. My attorney submitted a plea of dismissal which was not decided and so it stands till May next.
The circumstances of this suit arose from the following occurrances. About 2 years ago Matson brought with him from Kentucky a free man and his wife & five children who were his Slaves there, to this county: and settled them on his farm 12 miles distant from this place. He suffered them to remain with him till last summer, when he determined to remove the children to his residence in Kentucky, and leave the old people childless in Illenois. He had previously taken back one child and
63then resolved to remove the remaining 4. The parents to avoid force left his farm with their children, and came to this place, and put themselves under the protection of a man named Ashmore. Matson got out a process to take them as runaways, and the woman & children were brought before a court of 3 justices. A number of us feeling an interest in the case employed the Hon. O B Ficklin M. C. of this county to defend them. The court decided to commit them to jail, as runaways and it was concluded to try the case before the circuit Judge at the Oct.term. Matson sued Ashmore & myself for harboring them (the fine for which is $500. for each person by law). However the negroe trial came on, and the arguments were heard by two of our circuit Judges, who ordered them to be discharged from the custody of the Sherriff and Matson pay the costs, amounting to $200. Matson left next day for Kentucky without his blacks and whether he will return to attend to the suits against Mr Ashmore or myself in May is uncertain. Be it as it may I feel no uneasiness as I did not have them on my premises and besides I expect to get out of the suit from a defect in the declaration.
Please write soon. I am grateful for the news you give, pray continue to regard me as your brother.