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[140]

To his sister Mary, aged twelve years.

Washington, Tuesday Evening, March 18, 1834.
my dear Mary,—I am thankful to father for his letter, and to you for yours,—which, by the way, I wish had been written a little fairer. I received them in due time, with their enclosures of fifty dollars from Mr. Rand1 and of twenty dollars from father. I have intended every day to write to you, but have been prevented by some engagement or other. Time passes very quickly here, without affording much room for study or correspondence; and it would be often difficult to point out at the end of the day what all the hours had been devoted to. I rise usually about seven o'clock; read the newspapers till breakfast, which is at eight and a half o'clock. After breakfast, say at nine o'clock, I take a walk to view some object of interest, or to make a call on some gentleman of Congress; sometimes get to the Capitol at ten o'clock, when I pass the next hour in the Congress library, till eleven o'clock, when the Supreme Court opens. Here I pitch my tent generally till the hour of its adjournment, which usually takes place about three and a half o'clock.

The Senate and House of Representatives open at twelve o'clock, and continue in session till four and sometimes five o'clock. If I hear of any very interesting debate in either, and there is nothing of great interest in the court, I desert the latter; and after the court is over I wait the adjournment of the Senate and House. This brings me to dinner at four or four and a half o'clock. After dinner there is but little daylight left, which I occupy in making calls. The first part of the evening I spend in conversation with some of the gentlemen at home, or in visiting. The latter I most invariably spend with Judge Story,—say from nine o'clock till ten, that being the hour when he is free. Such, Mary, is a simple account of the course of my time. It will be hardly interesting or intelligible to you, though otherwise to mother and father. The end of the day generally finds me tired and willing to go to bed, or at least indisposed to much exercise of the mind. I have found time, though, to read an able work of Dr. Lieber on the Girard Seminary, and to run my eyes through a law-book on ‘Tenures,’ and to prepare a law-argument of four pages, to be laid before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, on Mr. Ward's claim against the United States,2 besides writing the few letters which I have written.

This letter will be carried by Judge Story, who leaves to-morrow morning,—the Supreme Court then adjourning. It was my intention to have started with him; but as I should stop, at his recommendation, a day or two in Baltimore, so that I should be obliged to quit him,—and as I should be but an unsocial companion on the road to Baltimore, he riding in the inside and I necessarily on the outside,—I have determined to remain a few days longer in this city of magnificent distances, to give an undivided attention to the debates in Congress, which are growing daily in interest. Mr. Webster


1 Mr. Rand had forwarded the amount for the purchase of law books for himself.

2 Joshua H. Ward, a lawyer practising in Danvers.

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