Life & Letters


About this Item

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

Date: July 17, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00281

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

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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