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Letter, William to Samuel Lathrop, December 12, 1826

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Dear Father,
I have this day returned…
The reason of my leaving house so suddenly was the unexpected return of the “Barnet” from the north. I was induced to set out a few days earlier than I otherwise should have done for the pleasure of being passenger in “the first steam-boat from Springfield to Hartford.” But though she returned upon us rather unexpectedly, she found us not altogether unprepared to receive her. We had sufficient notice of her approach to station a man at our bell-rope who gave the signal on her first-appearance. It was answered by a gun from the boat and soon from Springfield, where the firing continued till she landed there.

She took in passengers from our landing, and carried them out of Springfield, where they stayed Monday night and Tuesday morning. at half past 9 o’clock continued her course down the river. On arriving at the head of Enfield Falls, they hailed for pilots and two came aboard, but they declared that it was absolutely impossible for them to discern the channel as the sun shone bright and cast the reflection from the water directly ahead – accordingly we were obliged to cast anchor and lie by. As it was a cold day we went ashore, where we remained till 2 o’clock. We then hoisted anchor and resumed our course. We passed Enfield falls without any accident or delay – stopped by warehouse point and took in a load of Gin and proceeded.

On coming in sight of Hartford, a salute was fired from the boat, which was returned from the city and continued till she landed at the wharf. A great crowd of people was assembled there who evinced their joy by loud and repeated huzzahs. A supper was given in the evening at Morgan’s and was attended, I should suppose by about a hundred gentlemen of the most respectable in the city. Gen. Terry presided and Mr. Smith, Jos. Pratt, and Mr. Woodbridge acted as vice-pres. After Gen. Perry [?] retired Mr. D.P. Wadsworth was called to the chair.

Various toasts were drank, relating in general to the same subject the improvement of the river navigation, with an occasional side blow at the Canal. As they were not printed I can give you only two or three of them. By Mr. Lyman of Springfield – The Farmington Canal – a “broken cistern that can hold no water” (This may allude to the sandy soil through which that canal runs) By Mr. Pratt. “The Barnet – May her progeny be numerous and powerful.” The towns on Conn. River “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” [—-] “Confusion to those ignorant quacks, who would resort to tapping and bleeding, when a gentle cathartic would operate as well.” Mr. Geo. Beach gave, “The Hon. Samuel Lathrop – the firm, undeviating friend of internal improvement.”
I left Hartford Wednesday morning and arrived at N. Haven in the afternoon…

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