Letter from Col. Robert Love to Thomas Dillard Love – 27 July 1813
Waynesville (N.C.) July 27th, 1813.
I have heard nothing from you latterly; What are your reasons for not writing more to me? I am at a loss to conjecture. The last account was by Robert Love(Who is he?-F.D. Love), and at that time you had scarcely recovered from your illness.
Currency is given to a report which reached this place about two weeks ago; that Samuel had enlisted himself as a common soldier. Great God? what a delirium or delusion has his mind gotten into, if that is the case; for let a man’s patriotism or love of country, be what it may, he ought first to study his individual situation, for what benefits could our common Country derive from anything that he could do that would counter-balance against the evils which must inevitable flow from a separation from a helpless family, such as his is, independent of his inability as to bodily strength to undergo the fatigues of an army. Those are considerations which ought to enter into the minds of every person before he engages into the army. I cannot describe to you the astonishment is excited in my mind on hearing the report, & in fact, it has measurably rendered me unfit for any kind of business; for my mind is so strongly agitated that I cannot shake it off, or relieve my mind so as to be able to do business with such a degree of accuracy as bation of mind on the occasion. But my greatest distress arises from a fear that his mind is not right from some cause or other, which he has concealed or that some of the cussed harlots about the G.C. (Greasey Cove) is the sole cause of the delusion he has fallen into. I am also informed that he has latterly drunk very hard, if this is true, it makes the case more dangerous. Of all people on Earth, my family ought to abstain from the use of spirituous liquors, having so many Examples before their eyes, and its being prevalent evil in both branches of the family: and, my dearest son, I beg of you to continually keep this admonition from a tender Father (and one who wishes ardently for your prosperity) before your eyes. I am afraid you have acted too much on the reserve with Samuel, and which he may view as an act of contempt, for I have noticed that in your Mother’s side of the House that they are a people of easy flattery, and of course, anything of reserve is viewed by them as acts of contempt, or disrespect, which they are too weak to resist. If you have any Esteem for me as a Father, go to your Brother & inquire into the causes that have lead him into this most imprudent step, for remember, let what will happen, that he is your Brother, & whatever Good or ill he may pursue, will in some degree, attach to yourself and family, and remember, farther, what a Blessed it is, and how God-like it will be to snatch a desponding from destruction; and above every other evil, guard him against the use of ardent spirits, which is the foundation of all most every evil. I would write to him fully on this subject, but my mind is Greatly distressed and injured, or that so I cannot, but I entreat of you to make it your special business to give him frequent calls, and beg of him for, my sake, to refrain from drunkenness above all things, and to leave of Chaffering and trading about through the country and stick close at home and attend to his farm, which he might make a very profitable one, from its local situation.
Winnie accompanies Dillard on a visit to our friends, but she cannot remain long among you from a cause which I leave with herself to explain to you, tho’ under the reserve that you are not to make Communication of the Circumstances to any person whatever, for it is not even conjectured at home as I have ever heard.
We have, and are now at this time, experiencing the most severe drought that the oldest settlers have ever seen in this country, and my present impression is, that without a great change doth shortly take place, the people in this country will not make half their bread.
If you intend doing anything about McHaus’ Tanyard with Chunn, I think it is high time. The yard is at this time undergoing a considerable improvement, and must be worth with the present improvement, 800 of $1000.
Give my compliments to Genl. Taylor & Mrs. Taylor with all other friends. I have sent on an order by Dillard on Mrs. Deaderick to be made use of, if suitable, any silks, are in his store, suitable; if not, and there are any suitable in any of the other stores, if you can advance the money or procure a Credit until you come over at the Buncombe Superior Court, you shall not fail in getting the money to come back with you. I would have sent more money by Dillard but having bought Reuben McFarland’s stock of cattle, and having to advance the money of the first day of August, puts it out of my power to send more at this time. But as soon as I can get down to the Warm Springs(N.C.), I have not doubt, of getting as much as will answer that purpose, as Mr. Casney, who is son-in-law to Mr. Wilson is owing me $100.
I want you to attend to what I have written respecting Samuel. I shall merely write to him without mentioning any thing of the report of his having enlisted, lest he might conjecture I was lax in my duty.
I would write to Genl. Taylor, but I have heard nothing of his return I shall endeavor to be over to see him about the last of August, if possible. I have business that I must attend to about the mouth of Cany River, and from that place I will try and get over.
The family in a reasonable state of health. I cannot say that I am myself in as good a state as I could wish to be, yet my health is reasonable. I am much addicted to pain & weakness in my back & hips, and as age crawls on me, I find they increase.
Farewell & God Bless you all,
# Remember me in a particular manner to Anna.