This letter was written by municipal court judge Thomas Burgess (1778-1856), the son of Prince Burgess (1749-1832) and Martha Crowell (1751-1839). He wrote the letter from his home in Providence, Rhode Island to his son Thomas Mackie Burgess (1806-1856) who then resided in New Orleans, Louisiana, with his new bride Elizabeth Martin Howard (1810-1841). Thomas M. Burgess was a junior partner with John Waterman (1786-1879), also of Providence, in the firm Waterman & Burgess of New Orleans engaged as cotton brokers for northern mills. By 1832, Waterman had already returned to Providence to build and manage the Eagle Mills at Olneyville, Rhode Island until his retirement in 1848. Thomas M. Burgess eventually also returned to Rhode Island where he served as the mayor of Providence from 1841 to 1852. In 1832, Waterman & Burgess had their office at 23 Camp Street in New Orleans.
In this letter, Thomas informs his son of the recent death of Prince Burgess on 17 November 1832. He also informs him that he had received a letter from Thomas’ brother, George Burgess (1809-1866), who was traveling abroad between the years 1831-34 in Göttingen, Bonn, and Berlin following his college graduation. When George returned to the United States, he was admitted to deacon’s orders, in Providence and ordained a priest shortly thereafter (1834). He then became rector of Christ Church in Hartford, Connecticut. Rev. Burgess was married (1846) to Sophia Kip and was elected (1847) the first bishop of Maine.
Addressed to Thomas M. Burgess, Esqr., Care of Messrs. Waterman & Burgess, Merchants, New Orleans
Providence [Rhode Island]
December 22, 1832
My Dear Son,
Your obliging letter of the 28th reached us some days since. We are well pleased that you remained at the North so long until the cholera had nearly passed over your city.
You have been advised of the disease of your venerable & pious grandfather, who died on the 7th of November in full faith of that blessed religion which he had so long both professed and practised.
We have received a letter from George dated the 20th of August, the day he left Bonn for Italy & other parts. He was then in good health.
Mr. Joseph Howard is here engaged inclosing his old concerns. Mr. Howard is confined much as he was when you left. His foot is pretty bad but I do not anticipate any speedy fatal close. His general health is as good as could be expected. He suffers much by pain but appears more cheerful than in the summer. I have been with him this evening. My impressions are that his disorder will moderately progress and gradually undermine his health, and that he will sink under it. This may not be the case until spring & perhaps not until summer. With this apprehension, I have advised him to close the sale of his goods, and not to embark in any new adventures which shall require his personal attention.
This goes by Capt. Bishop’s brig. To others I must refer you for particulars. The best love of your dear Mother & the family to yourself & Elizabeth. Very truly your affectionate Father, — Thomas Burgess