This letter was addressed to Palmer Linfield Perkins (1825-1900), son of Isaac Perkins (1799-18xx) and Jane Van Sciver (1802-1885). In the 1850’s, Palmer made a living as a dagguerian artist in Baltimore.
The identity of the author of this letter is uncertain since he only signed his name “Lile” or Lyle. He wrote the letter from his home in Burlington, New Jersey, northeast of Philadelphia, which was also the birthplace of Palmer Perkins so I assume they were boyhood acquaintances. It appears that he was still living with his mother in 1848; he does not mention his father. From the letter, we learn that his Uncle and cousins lived in Virginia and were slaveholders.
The Washington Monument referred to in this letter was the one designed by Robert Mills and completed in Baltimore in 1829.
Addressed to Mr. Palmer L. Perkins, Baltimore, Maryland
September 20, 1848
I received yours of the 17 and the 20 of Sep after my return from Virginia of 3 weeks visit and thought it done on purpos you left in such an hury without your breckfast to be in Baltimore on Saturday and then did not leave until Monday. It needs no apology, I think not. You envited me to call ____ 2 nights in Baltimore but saw nothing of you at the United States Hotel [or at] the Depot. I was accomodated with the best the House had in every way and took an walk to see Washington Monument. It, I think, is worth an visit from any one – I was going to rite “when in Virginia,” but did not.
Now, wether you are at home yet, I think you might of gave me my rings. From the appearance, I thought their was more firmness about you than all that. You did not tell me that you crossed from Bristol with Mr. Lazler. You told me that you road up the street with him. I asked you and what did you say in reply? I don’t forget. What I remember, you ought of told me not [to] act as in the sight of man, but as in the sight of God. I was very candid with you. But how is it with you — far from that.
But I enjoy very good health at present I was weight in Virginia and waid 129 [pounds], and when I arrived in Philadelphia, again 130. I enjoyed my self very much while their [in Virginia]. I was riding on hors back with my Uncle and cousin every day when pleasant. It is very mountanus part of the country. The mountains is 3000 feet high. It is across the aligany mountain. I never enjoy my self so much in the same length of time. I wish you had of been their. We’d of had an mountain ride to gether. The hills are purpindicular to go up and down. But I did not get throad off the horse. They travel so well. They have ever thing that is good their – peaches, melons, graps, plums, chickens, vensane, turkey, and all that is nice. I could of staid all winter if mother had been willing to it – it just suits me to have the darkies to wait on me. It suits those that is lazy, you [k]now, and with great reluctance I return. Don’t get tired of this, but read it and answer it amediately if you please for I talk of going to Pensylvania to see L and spend the winter their. Starte next week if I go. I have not decided yet.
Adieu. Yours respectfuly, — Lile