Isaac Baker to Stephen F. Austin, 02-25-1811

Summary: Student friendship. Slave insurrection in New Orleans.

Eliz------a! partner of my every thought! why is thy lovely form e'er flitting in my view ? Yes the cause I fain must ken—I have seen thee in the days of thy youth arrayd in charms divine—. thy form thy visage sunk deep into my mind—and fondly does my soul cherish each vestage that mem'ry can retain.—

Cane Hill near Fort Adams M T [Mississippi Territory]

Febry 25th 1811

My Dear Friend Stephen,

Your friendly letter of the 12th ult. I had the good luck of getting into my clutches about two hours since and must answer it by the morrow morning's mail. From your long silence I began to conclude you had forgotten the poor lank jawed poet. You must not be surprised at the manner I commence my letter as it is your injunction to begin and finish with E------a This I do most cheerfully both because I feel a pleasing thrill agitate my frame at the sound or sight of the name but more particularly because it is the request of one I esteem.

I left Lexington on the 9th of October and after a pleasant journey I arrived at this place on the 30th of the same month and had the pleasure of finding may parents brothers and sisters in good health and happy to see my ugly visage once more. I took Russellville in my route and had the satisfaction of a few hours confab with Quack and Quaker. Quack is studying law and says he has forgotten her. Quaker has turned merchant I detained a few days at Nashville for company and there had the pleasure of seeing the Miss Kerrs— While at Nashville the weather was indescribably fine and one day as I strolled amongst some rocky hills near the suburbs meditating on those I had lately left I wrote these lines which I beg leave to transcribe—

How sweet when lonesome in an unknown land To think of those whose friendship we command But still more dear to inem'ry are the dames, Who fill our hearts with loves unceasing flames To bring their beauteous forms again to view Dwell on their charmes and our fond flames renew. Tis thus beneath a friendly cedar's shade On a rock couch with moss and tuft array'd While all around are lost in sportive g[I]ee My heart Eliza turns me all to thee To thee sweet girl who hast my bosom warm'd To nobler views than int'resl ever formed To views which I unceasing will pursue Till you are mine or I am lost to you.— Oh sweet E------a could thy bosom rise With haft that fervor which mine now supplies I'd bid all other cares of bliss adieu My hopes of bliss I place alone in you—

But where in the name of god do I wander. I intended to fill up this side with something of moment and here it is almost written up aboute the old broken down hobby horse love—but now I'll try to do better—

Upon my arrival home I stuck to the turf about six weeks and then started to see some of the country to west of the Mississippi. I visited the Avoyelles Rapide Appalousas and Attakapas districts and returned home about Christmas well pleased with most of what I had seen.

I have since been twice to NOrleans and happened there at the time the Negroe insurrection broke out. About 150 negroes have been killed in various ways—Only two white men killed and three good dwelling houses burnt twenty miles of country on the left bank of the River was ravaged by them. Since the 1st inst I have been at home and have employed my time in reading. By the lst of April at farthest I expect to start back to Lexington for the purpose of Studying law. I expect to be absent from home about two years and a half—18—months at Lexington and one year at Litchfield or William and MaryNext October and the gods propitious I will visit Upper Louisiana

I am sorry that I have to leave this country before you come to it but if you should visit the district of Attakapas you will find my father and on the Teshe 30 miles below Newtown where you may expect a hearty welcome. Our family moves to Attakapas in the course of a few days—The uncertainty of the cotton market has induced my father to give up the culture. He intends trying sugar—

A few days ago I rec'd a letter from Wm A Butler He was well and engaged in the study of Law He informed me that the sound of the " dulcet Piano " was heard in the row no more for grievous to relate E has gone to Congress and left Lexington in sack cloth and ashes, but d—n it I'm from my purpose again

When I get to Lexington again Stephen I will not turn fool and cabous about as formerly but will be a staid sober chap, write no more poetry but read prose even from the rising to the going down of the sun—When I get my studies completed maybe if some of the lasses feel in the notion I may satisfy some one of them i. e. if they long for Matrimony. Wherever you are Pedlar You must write to me and let me know how you stem the tide of life.

For several reasons which I have no room to state I am glad you have fallen in love in U. Louisiana. Dont grin Steve and say I am glad because I thought you would rival me for if you recollect in a former letter I told you I would interfere with none of your claims— As I calculate on going to your part of the world next Oct. Please hunt out for me some clever decent girl and I will make at her by the holy wig of my ancestors. But now I must stop, etc adieu my friend may the holy Virgin protect you may heaven bless you and your days be peace and prosperity—This from your since [re] friend

Isaac L Baker

By-gum I had almost forgot to tell you that I have written [our New?] Years gift to send to Lexington next [New Year?] it is a clever one

P. S. It is here rumored that Cols Sparks and Cushing have been arrested at Mobile by order of Genl. Hampton—particulars unknown all tranquil in Florida. Col Kemper dined with us yesterday but now adieu but for the last word this from one to one who loves E—a

[Addressed:] Mr Stephen Fuller Austin Mine at Beriton near St Genevive Upper Louisiana