Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 17 July 1868

Date: July 17, 1868

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:37. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00281

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Ashley Lawson, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Attorney General's Office,
Friday noon,
July 17, 1868.

Dearest mother,

I have nothing particular to write about, but I thought I would just write a line. I hope you have stood the hot weather, without giving out—& George too I hope he exercises more care about himself, because I think our family is more liable than many to the effects of the great heat & exposure to the sun—I have got along pretty well, but it has been awful hot—& continues so, though as I write here by my window, there has quite a cool breeze sprung up since I commenced writing—Fortunately, I sleep very well nights—there has been only one night I haven't slept comfortably—

We have a new Attorney General, Mr. Evarts,1 as I suppose you have seen by the papers—He hasn't made his appearance here yet—but is expected soon—I only hope he will be as agreeable for a boss as the others have been—but somehow I don't believe he will—I am really sorry to have Binckley go, for he was a good friend of mine—& Mr. Browning too—Mother, I do hope you will get through this awful spell, all right—it can't last much longer—& George too—Mother, don't look for the next letter till Wednesday next—I have had a letter from Jeff2—all are well & hearty, except Mat has some cough yet—take care of yourself, dear mother.


Your letter has come to-day, mother—John Burroughs has returned—he has a good piece in Putnam's for August—3


1. William Maxwell Evarts (1818–1901) was chief counsel for Andrew Johnson during the impeachment trial of 1868. As a reward for his services, Johnson appointed Evarts Attorney General later in the year; Evarts was Secretary of State from 1877 to 1881 and U.S. Senator from New York from 1885 to 1891. [back]

2. Jeff wrote at length from St. Louis on July 12, 1868: "We are all pretty well, all very well except Mat. She has a bad cough—and she has had it so long that I begin to feel quite anxious that she should be rid of it. I have had a doctor examine her lungs two or three times but he says they are not as yet to any extent affected." [back]

3. Whitman refers to Burroughs' "A Night-Hunt in the Adirondacks," Putnam's Monthly Magazine, 12 (1868), 149–154. [back]


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