1857: Daniel Sanderson Lamson to Henry Elias Howland

I can’t be certain of this author’s identity but I think it may have beenDaniel Sanderson (“San”) Lamson (1828-1912), an 1853 graduate of the Harvard Law School. The letter only bears the signature “San.”

He wrote the letter to Henry Elias Howland (1835-1913), a graduate of Yale College and of the Harvard Law School in 1857. He was admitted to the bar in New York in October following and partnered with two associates in the firm of Anderson, Howland, & Murray; after Anderson’s death in 1896, the firm became Howland, Murray and Prentice.


Addressed to H. E. Howland, Care of John Sherwood, Esq., 142 Broadway, New York

Queen City of the West
June 13th [1857]

Dear Beloved

I am the man for your money. My spirits have taken a sudden rise since the mail came in. The 7th day brought the first tidings to me from those I hold most dear. You deserve & shall have my first letter. I should have been flat down with homesickness before this if such a thing been possible in such a glorious city. My eyes have been feasted ever since I arrived & then the cool breezes like those from a fan savor strong of Asiatic luxury. One connection was missed on the journey & Wednesday night found me disconsolate on a cot in the gentleman’s parlor at Cincinnati. (You were saved a rapid run down Broadway of 3 miles & half hours waiting by not walking.)

Our woe begone faces would have been mirrored in each others eyes. I wrote home a graphic account of the excursion train here & I will not repeat. Put after Sedgwick immediately a place to sleep to be found before night. Sedgewick gone to Europe to be married—German lady—back in October. Found Crane, 1 a modified French. He opened his heart to me for your sake & we have not broke yet. I am afraid he begins to tire of my importunities. All the lawyers here from the first to the last so all their own scrub work. No chance for pay. Crane says, out with your sign. The [Law] Code is only 50 pages long. He read it through in one night. Hawley’s letters not worth a damn. Edward Bates an imposter. Old Lord dances at the Dutch Ball nightly for patronage (Judge’s election). Persons are respectfully requested not to smoke in his court room (not so pointed as the placard of Commonwealth). Crane thinks I can be admitted [to the bar] by August. Perhaps I can bluff Old Lord as he has introduced me several times as a member of the bar and only pass on the code. At any rate, it is very easy. I actually saw a juror sitting with his feet cocked up on the judge’s bench before his face & eyes. One of them told me it was harder for him to sit with his coat and handkerchief on than to work in the field.

Such a scaly looking set and yet you will be astonished when you converse with them to find them so intelligent. They talk off like a newspaper. A fellow by the name of Hydyn run across me mighty seedy—has been in the Law School and saved me from scouring the city—is used to practice—been in our Russels office in Boston—offered to open with me. If his personal appearance was better, I should do it. Crane thinks I have a great chance from my connections here and the said if a plan of his does not mature in 2 or 3 months, will do so. I am trying to say 6 times too much at once but there is so much I wish you to know.

Sedgwick made 4,000 on money he borrowed from friends in land (not to be told of). You can easily loan money at 25 [percent]. Such temptations. If you had only come on with me I have no fears of your returning. There are several sound lawyers here—perhaps in all six—but not one brilliant pleader of any standing. To one who writes the [ ] & [ ] as yourself, what a chance for [missing page?]

Did you know that St. Louis was nearest alike New York of any city in the world? The value on money is perhaps more apparent than there even/ I never felt the want of it before. You can indulge every taste with it. Its theaters are fully equal to the Boston, Crane says. I have felt a peculiar pleasure in gratifying my longings. There is something that everybody remarks in the evening air as if it been expressly to cool. Howland, in ten years from now in St. Louis, you could not help being a rich man. I have perhaps written all really more than you will read but I want to tell you of 2 or 3 encounters I have had & I will do so if you will answer this immediately.

In a word, I shall probably next week go into an office & share the expense with some young man already in practice, try to scape up a case or two, & with Crane for a Godfather, commence putting out my shingle before admitted, if it is proper. I shall not deliver your letter to Crane. You did not say where you boarded. Fred Hall went East with my ticket. Mrs. S is terrific, I do believe. Snuggle in with the Hawley’s. If you were here there would be nothing left to be wished for. You had no more idea of it than I had. I shall do Holland Brydge & Co. in my next.

The climate is the most delicious in the world—only hot enough to make you understand [ ] and the water which looks about the color of your hand. Water is as good as a glass of grog. You will find that you can’t fool along across Broadway as in Cambridge. Tell me about your office business. How much you are likely to get. Fair board here—26 dollars. My table is good but the room—God’s is as broad as yours was high. Gas however, which now blazes away over my paper. Do you have many visitors & who are they? Write what you hear from Cambridge and home. I told them you would post up as far as New York. There is not a soul at my table I speak to.

The lager beer here is lager beer. I went last Sunday from a dance garden to a cafe where one glass staggers you. In the midst of strawberries and green peas. That key brought up old times afresh. [ ] will contain the dragonade of F. Holland. The girl who sleeps between me and a petition & Mynhew Schloss. That is Bella all over. She will be after my letters & I am not ready to write at her. Alas for Helen. I couldn’t have written her so far had I permission.

The levee here is sprinkled with U. S. wagons fitting out for Utah. Gen. [William S.] Harney lives right opposite. Mustang Bragg next door. The little indoor nigger boys & girls here are great. They amuse me mightily. Crane’s health has very much improved. He has knocked off everything. Sleeps at midday. I hear bands from 3 [beer] gardens every night. Goodbye. Don’t forget — San

1 Arba Nelson Crane was an 1856 graduate of the Harvard Law School. He died in St. Louis on 6 December 1904.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s