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Brother Hugh --
Jany 1st 1834
Fort William January 1st 1834
My Dearest Brother,
As none amongst your numerous relations and friends has more reason to rejoice at the return of the anniversary of your birthday than myself permit me to offer congratulations on your continued happiness and good health which I hope this day finds you enjoying, and although I cannot join in the social circles who are in more than one place assembled to celebrate your birthday not one amongst them enters more heartily into the spirit of it nor with more sincerity wishes you many happy returns.
But what can a poor exile do towards enjoying it so far from home! On such days as this more than any others I return with a mixed feeling of pleasure and regret to the times when I enjoyed the society of you and my dearest mother brothers and sisters. Seated around the paternal hearth in domestic felicity and celebrating your birthday or some other less worthy occasion. And as often do I lament the day that I sacrificed all these pleasures for a wandering restless life when the very happiest moments we experience affords as but a negative enjoyment -- Without friend or companion capable of rational conversation my days pass tediously and my nights seem at least 24 hours long with just enough of cares and of such a nature as to render the mind unfit for reaping society from books although I read to kill time and whilst thus employed sometimes a sentence of peculiar force strikes my wandering thoughts and I have to return a page or two to collect the discourse -- but too much of this --
[Pg. Break] Many times do I take up the pen to write you for no other purpose than to enjoy the pleasure of communicating to you my thoughts although without any intention of sending them to you -- And I thus enjoy my happiest moments -- By the medly sort of my letters you perceive I always write in the humour in which I may be at the time without any consideration whether they be acceptable or otherwise -- I know they will be read and I even presume so far as to believe they will be read with pleasure no matter how uninteresting or undeserving -- So much for this tirade--
I know not my Dear Hugh how many years (even providing we are both spared life) before we may meet again -- Sometimes I entertain hopes that next New Years day may be passed by me in your society in Philadelphia and again I fear years too numerous to reckon upon may pass ere we meet -- but in either case rest assured when once extricated from my present engagements I do not again enter into any that has any Indian connections; and should we meet and I express any inclination on this point I beg of you to remind me of this promise which will effectually deter any such project. It is very lately that in taking a retrospect of my past life that since 1822 I have not passed 2 New Years days in succession at the same place -- frequently thousands of miles between-- And this at a period of my life when I can only hope for enjoyment and when I might hope to form friendships and acquaintances that might be beneficial in after life -- I have tried novelty and variety until I confess they satiate desire and willingly would I relinquish them for quiet domestic happiness and I look back on my past life as containing only days misspent -- I now know the value of your advice of leaving off any wanderings and I will obey as soon as I can --
[Pg. Break] As you are so good at arranging all your friends affairs I wish you would plan out something that will suit me if ever I get off from this country and should I even die here your plans may answer for others -- you perceive by this my mind is seriously bent on settling in a less changeable life than I have been heretofore disposed for and hope you will take for positive this my avowal -- and I can assure you never did man more sincerely make one than I have done this.
I expect to leave this country worse than I have entered it and of course my ambition will not be so great as it was heretofore and that I will readily settle in some of your moderate plans such as a small country business or a return to Ireland -- the latter only in case of some derangement in our affairs there.