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Lyman Hobbs Letter to Daniel Hobbs, November 10, 1833

Lyman Hobbs to Daniel Hobbs, New Orleans: November 10, 1833. American Science and Medicine Collection.

                 New Orleans November 10th. 1833
    Hond. Parents
             On the 1st inst. I received your letter of 20th August last by care of Mr Geo. Doane though I was deprived the pleasure of an interview with that gentleman. The reason of my not getting your letter sooner, is unaccountable, as it was mailed in Cincinati Sept. 4th. making only 14 days after date, and thence to this place 56 days, when it should have been only 10. – One item in the proof of the efficient management of our worthy Post Master General. Before receiving yours I had received two from brother David, Stating that he had been called on by Mr. Doane who gave him your letter which he had mailed for N. Orleans.
Your greatest Solicitude Seems to be concerning the Sickness in this city. For myself I have this season been peculiarly favoured in escaping the two great epidemics that together have filled our city with “weeds of woe.” As you have probably seen such accounts in the newspapers, it is but natural to suppose you will expect from me some more correct account of the real extent of the mortallity, but that is beyond the power of any one. Most accounts in northern papers were probably individual reports and greatly exaggerated, while on the other hand, the papers of this place, strained the truth equally hard the other way, as they only gave the number of interments

in 2 of the burying grounds, while there are four in the limits of the city & the expence of interment in any of them is what would be considered in your part of the country, very great, and indeed it is great, in any place, for the poor class.  For a grown person $6- for interment.  For a hearse (in sickly times) $10- and for coffin as much more.  Many slaves, whose masters were unwilling, and many whites whose friends were unable, were buried in the open waste lands that surround the city.  I would not be understood that all are excluded who can not pay for interment – there is provision made for burying the poor at the expence of the corporation, but at the death of a wif or husband, parent or child, is an untimely moment to tantallize the feelings of survivers of the honest, industrious family.
        It is with the most extreme anxiety that I read your account of your health.  Have you ever tried the effect of the sea air?  Suggestions of remedies from me are useless – you know your case best, but I pray you leave nothing untried that may effect a restoration of your health.
        My own health has been good the past summer.  In the latter part of June I had a Slight attack of bilious fever that terminated in a dierrhoea from which I could get no relief untill 2 weeks ago.  After applying to Severall physicians & getting worse instead of better, for 4 months & being reduced to a mere skelliton, I was induced to try the

Vegetable Hygean Pills which gave me almost immediate relief, & now am fast recovering my Strength & appetite.  I have, therefore, been four & a half months without any kind of business & on great expences which I was but ill able to sustain.  I denied myself of a season of the greatest earthly felicity in paying you a visit, on account of poverty; but my stay here has cost me, probably, as much as it would have done make a journey to Massachusetts.  You ask, what am I doing?  I have just related the occurrences of the past summer; and as for the time previous I have related to you at different times.  My health not now permitting me to perform any arduous or laborious business I am trading; or Speculating – that is, buying & selling again any and all articles that I can deal in on the river, and this is the business I have planned out for myself during the coming winter.  This is the time for the upper people to commence arriving in great numbers from up the river with flat boats freighted with produce for market.  These boats are entirely flat on the bottom from 60 to 90 feet long & 16 to 20 feet wide, & float down the current with a freight of 300 to 600 barrels.  They bring all kinds of country produce & lie at the landing untill their cargo is disposed of when the boat is sold for a trifle, being useless, (as they can only run with the current) except to be broken up for fuel & old lumber.  It is not unfrequent, when their cargoes are nearly sold off, that the remnant together with the boat may be bought for less than 1/4 its value.  You told me that brother Danl. was not at home.  If you had omitted that and told me where he was, the information would have been more interesting.  The last letter I had from brother David was dated Oct. 5th. when he was well & by the contents should judge him among the happiest, he has I suppose written you on the same thing

Please remember me in love to all my dear brothers and sister, and for yourselves, Hond. Parents, be assured of the unceasing affection of Your Dutiful Son Lyman

[Address:] Mr. Daniel Hobb
Spencer Mass.