Anson Burlingame Letters

A collection of letters from AB to his father-in-law in the early 60s:

Marsailles Sept 11th 1861
My Dear Father
I am off at seven o’clock this morning for it is already morning. I enclose to you two pictures of myself as I appeared the day before I left Paris. I have written an immense number of letters this evening. I enclose also a likeness of my man George. He is a fine fellow who serves me much and is a perfect devotee. He speaks French German and Italian. French he speaks with a better accent than most Frenchman he has lived in France since he was fifteen years of age and was thoroughly educated in the schools. He can teach as well as wait on me. I shall speak French with him the whole way out. He will be of great service in China where so much is thought of show. He will be singular and bright. He is now but twenty-four years of age. His name is George Butter and he was born in Washington. Tell Jennie she need not fear that I will be neglected if sick on the way. _ the note in some way until I can respond from China. I have lived quite prudently and will be able to get in with what I have. In China I am permitted to draw on the _ in advance by giving my check at the end of the quarter. Mrs. Beckwith has been of great service to me in giving me hints about China. Remember me to everybody. I shall write to you from Malta. Excuse the haste of this letter. Send the Journal and have the New York Times Herald Tribune sent regularly to me. Start them all at once for I shall need them. Do take good care of yourself and all the children. God Bless you all
Your aff son

Tientsin Oct 12th 1862
My dear father
Jennie and Gertie arrived safely at this place, where I meet them, coming from Peking. I had been so far away, had little notice of their coming until they arrived. They are in charming health and spirits. We leave for Peking tomorrow by boat. I have purchased a house and some land in Peking for a Legation, , making myself the first proprietor of land in that city. The whole will cost me about $7000. There was no other way.
Jennie has written you however all about these things. I will send you the money for everything by the next mail. I _ for or at home. I have been received well at Peking and am in a condition to do some good for my country. I have thus far done much for which I have received the unqualified approval of my Government. I can sell my house when I shall go away for more than it cost me. I hope. You cannot image how much obliged I am to you for the papers you have sent. They _ come regularly and early. I will write more next time. I only write these few lines to profess my great happiness at the arrival of Jennie and Gertie and my warm remembrance of you _ all at home. I know you will look carefully after the boys. Don’t fail to write me by every mail. I will not stop writing because Jennie has arrived, but as she is so much better as a correspondent, than I am, you will of course get all the nice things from her.
I gather hope for the country from the last news, because it tells me that the country is in earnest. I have always that the thing might be compromised in some way. Now I see indications of a ripe and intelligent sentiment and whether the war may be long or short, the question will be settled right. If I had had an idea the war would have lasted so long, I should have returned home and gone into the fight for my whole heart is in the struggle and sometimes I think I might do something there.
Yours affectionately

Peking Jan 2nd 1865
My dear Father
I wrote you some time since about the telegraph. I repeat here what I then wrote. That for no earthly consideration can I or remotely receive anyminary benefit which may result from my official action. I know the country may think such all right but I do not. I shall do all I can to secure the right to put down wires along the coast. I can full discussion with the Chinese but you must remember that by treaty or grant to me is a _ to all the ed
Jennie has written about the reception of the glorious election news. I thank God for it. I shall keep you of the action of the . Jennie has written so full about affairs that there is nothing left for me to write. Give my regards to (laundry list of people)
Yours aff

Peking Jan 13th 1865
My dear father
I have only a word to write. I am pressing the _ for the right to build a telegraph between the treaty parts. I should have a meeting with the officials next Monday on the subject. I repeat what I have before written about myself. I see that the C_ is made up of honorable men. I will inform you of the result of my interviews next Monday. My heart is made glad by the news from home by California to the 25th of Oct. I have succeeded in getting I hope a large claim for R_ from the Chinese gov’t. I have really, thanks to a fearless and honest course won the respect and confidence of the Chinese and my colleagues. I now just received a beautiful letter from Sir Frederick Bruce my colleague from England, now at home, in which he informs me how seriously the Queen and Lord Jon Russell support the co-operative policy I have adopted. I do not mean to mar the good reputation I have made. I hope God’s will grant the leave for which I have asked. That I may once more _ my eyes by looking upon my native land and the _ ones at home
Love to all
Your aff

(more to come as I transcribe…)

An early letter to his parents

Detroit Sept 2nd 1839
Dear mother
Yours is received and with pleasure I hasten to answer it, but feeble is language when feeling is to be expressed smoothly as sentences may be put together they are unable to convey the love which I feel for home and every object which it contains; things the smallest note are in my memory – the Garden Little dog Fox and ten thousand things simple in reality call to mind pleasing associations – the stars which I have climbed – the well who’s chrytal water cool from its bottom I have drank to quench an Ague thirst, the Lake from who’s depths I have taken the beautiful fish – the stream who’ s mighty gurgle I have listened to in extacy, and the woods that spread so beautiful around Branch and who’s shade has so often buried me from human sight, are as green in my memory as when they first assume their summer garb, each of these things in the pictures of recollection are as plan and palpable as if they were before me, and day after day in its panarama do I see magnified the beauties and pleasures of the past. But if these thinks so simple in their nature awaken such a lively interest in my mind what must be the thoughts and feelings when each feature all blooming with life of homes more fond endearments – Parents – Brothers – and Sisters are before me exibeted in the same picture. The world in its intercourse with me may consider me a cold and unfeeling being, who cannot drop a tear oer the grave of a friend or relation – they may partly think right. I am a peculiar being – a stranger indeed to tears – but let no individual judge my feelings by such a where my eye is undesired by the tear – there burns that feeling within which if tears could come they would quench – but enough of this. I am now in the honey moon of life no trouble except that which I myself create by anticipation – bright prospects open before me and all goes swimmingly – yet nothing can be depended upon – the world is rife with change and revolution – the great wheel of fate in its evolutions may help me on the under side, the world is full of candidates who are active and vigilant and to gain requires the most untireing preseverence and with all a good supply of what is called native genius, where I may finally book my name it is impossible for me to say – perhaps in South America. Texas or Oregon but as for enlisting – why, what in the world made you think for a moment such was my intention. Enlist ha-ha-ha- I know to well a regular soldiers life – When my Country needs my help I am ready – when it is invaded I will stand in the ranks an honorable soldier but not in peace – no-no- I thought I would smooth over Moses case – but the fellow after I had so long hushed his situation must needs desert his post – the fool – but Jim Wallace is a true and faithful soldier – and I hate one that is not so – when honor and every thing is pledged I say stand the hazard of the die even if a fellow have to go and fight the climate and the musketoes of Florida. So miss Betsey has at last condescended to write to me – I hope she will continue to do so for I had just as live receive a letter from her as any body else if she is small – I should like well to receive a letter from Susan & Calvin. Betsey spoke in her letter as if she thought I have forgotten Susan. No by Heaven, can’t do it – she is an old play mate of mine, she was with me in my youth, and for fun, for the wide for the deep laid mischievous trick, she’s the child I recollect as if it were but yesterday her movements, she was a wild girl, and when, I saw her coming full tilt down the old lane – her dress all loose and hair disheveled – and laughing loudly I know some daring adventure was ahead – perhaps you recollect the sound whipping you gave us for filling the well full of corn stalks. That or day I was 5 years old, she was the progenitor of that trick and if I mistake not, she threw in the first stalk; (I beg her and Calvin’s pardon for these experiences but I make them to probe the position which I have taken.

Second page is missing

Early correspondence from the Library of Congress

Most is while he was in Detroit or his days in Congress 3tsnw6

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