This letter was written by Willie Hoopes, a young Quaker woman who was probably from Chester County, Pennsylvania, and attending a female school in 1841 when she wrote this letter.
She wrote the letter to her 2d cousin, U. S. Congressman Francis James (1799-1886), the son of Edward Victor James (1772-1814) and Mary Rachel Atlee (1766-1806). Francis’ fraternal grandmother was Elizabeth Hoopes (1760-1848).
Francis James studied law, was admitted to the bar of Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1825 and commenced practice in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1834 to 1836. James was elected as an Anti-Masonic candidate to the Twenty-sixth Congress and reelected as a Whig to the Twenty-seventh Congress. He served as chairman of the United States House Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business during the Twenty-seventh Congress. He resumed the practice of his profession in West Chester, and served as chief burgess in 1850.
Addressed to Hon. Francis James, Washington D. C.
July 10th 1841
My dear cousin,
I believe I promised to write in the course of two or three days after my return from the city, and it was certainly not owing to a want of inclination that the promise was not fulfilled. But really I have been so much engaged this week that I have scarcely had time to draw an extra breath. A letter from Elma was waiting for me on third day morning and thee may guess I was not a little pleased on the reception of it, for five weeks had passed since the last intelligence direct from home. Elma said Franklin was better, that they hoped the disease was almost removed, and that he anticipated being able to go out in two or three weeks. I answered her immediately for I wished her to write once more before my departure and there are now only three weeks of the term remaining.
Miss Barrow was over to see us today and says it is thought the session will not close before September at least, and perhaps not before October. I am so sorry for I want thee to be in West Chester with me. I have not yet heard from Sue Massey and do not know whether she will be in town on the first of August or not. I reckon Miss McPherson has told thee about my being caught at the frolic the other night at Mr. Derrick’s. I requested her to ask thee if I had left that little pencil in thy room. I have not seen it since I left Mrs. J’s that I know of and if it is not in thy room, I must have lost it. But I will hope for the best until I hear from thee.
The girls admired those rings very much and I would like thee to get the other for me and send it over if thee has an opportunity. I received “Night and Morning” ¹ yesterday but shall not have time to read it before the examination week as I am reviewing all my lessons and have about 70 pages a day to study or rather to read and recite. I have one or two things to tell thee if I have an opportunity which I had rather not write. I am very sorry I cannot get that slipper pattern for Margaret but its being so near the examination, they are all anxious to finish their pieces of work to take home.
When did S. Painter & Dr. T. leave Washington? I felt as though I must see them again to make more particular inquiries about our village, but I shall see it myself so soon that I can easily wait till then. The nearer the time approaches the more impatient I become to see them all, and I really feel that I love them more and more everyday. I will write to grandmother in the course of next week and the next news I will carry myself.
Now I must close for it is getting dark. Please write to me as soon as possible after the reception of this. Thank Hamilton in my name for sending those books. My love to Mrs. James, Anna & Margaret (for I do love them yet) and keep an unbounded portion for cousin F. and thyself, for believe me you are among my dearest friends.
Thine &c., — Willie Hoopes
Do please excuse the style of this letter and destroy it as soon as read for it was written in such a hurry that it is not fit to be trusted in the hands of a less indulgent person than thyself. On reviewing the second page, thou seems to be covered with nothing but I & myself and merits the criticism applied to Mrs. [Emma Hart] Willard’s journal. Egotism is a disgusting fault tis true, but for one it may be pardonable.
¹ Night and Morning was a novel written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton and published in 1841.