Eliza Browning to John J. Hardin and Others, 20 December 18391
Right Hon J J HardinJoh— DawsonE B WebbA lincolnGentlemen
I fully appreciate the compliment of your kind, and polite invitation, to resume my high, and distinguish’d station at the “seat of government And I am perfectly aware; that your talent’d Legislative body, will find great difficulty in geting through the important business before them; without the aid of my Honouress And I am happy to find, that you justly appreciate the Wisdom, Judgement and brilliant talent, that has ever marked my course. Takeing all these things in to consideration; I regret very much, it is not in my power to comply with your very reasonable request: however I think you will except my apology as a good one. My health is quite delicate; and then I think it always
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expedient, for distinguish’d public characters to retire; whilst the Halo of Glory yet lingers around them, and the voice of praise and admiration, (the just tribute of Gratitude) sounds sweetly in the ear A beautiful writer of Biography some where remarks, that truly Great men (however he has not mentiond womans Greatness, as that, would not be a Supposeable case) are always extremely Sensitive; so much so, that they often Suffer much mental agony from little things; such as common characters would not feel atall: and sometimes their feelings have been so exquisit they were compelled to relinquish public dutys. I regret to say, such a state of feeling, has had great influence in induceing me to retire from “public life You may reply, that true patriotism consists in makeing sacrifice of feeling, comfort, and every thing for our Country Have I not been crucified for two long dreary winters? Have I not Suffered every thing in the flesh? to say nothing of my conscience; for it would be a perfect burlesque to talk of any one spending a winter at the “Seat of Government” and returneing
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with a conscience. It would be impossible for me to define the agony I have Suffer’d in fulfiling my public duty’s; and then you could not understand me; as it is difficult for us to comprehend feelings we have never experienced. What did I suffer two or three winters since when I was compell’d to s[ee] my beloved, and lovely country [au]ctioneer’d off; and that by some of my friends, those I admire much. L[as]t winter I indulged the pleasing hope th[at] she might be redeemed; but no: it had been said the Horse was . . . feet high, and in good faith they [must?] [stand?] to it. What will you do this winter? You all are at Mr Butler’s enjoying Mrs Butler’s good things, liveing on the fat of the land: the State house most finished; your feet have been taken out of the mire clay of Vandalia and placed on the beautiful mosaick pavements of Springfield
The bargain has been complied with I Suppose, and you all are enjoying the full benefits of it. I say what will you do for your Starving beloved people? I digress’d somewhat gentlemen from a formal reply to your polite invitation; but I hope you will pardon me as I feel anxious to aid you by a few hints as I cannot by personal counsel
With feelings of high regard and esteemE. H. BrowningThis for Mr Hardin alone
Was Gen Rawlings [?] whilst he was in Europe; or did he only [?] Illinois
you know Mrs H and I often wished...2
If there is a Mr Softly in your neighbourhood please give him my compliments and tell him I have been ill but am now quite well3
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[QUINCY?] Ills
[DEC?] 21
Hon, J J, HardinSpringfieldIllinois
[ docketing ]
Mrs E H Browning
20 Dec 1839
1Eliza Browning wrote the letter in its entirety, including the postscripts and address.
2Browning wrote this postscript sideways in the left margin on page one.
3Browning wrote this postscript sideways in the left margin on page two.

Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), John J. Hardin Papers, Box 13, Folder 1, Chicago Historical Society (Chicago, IL).