From Martin Van Butchell
Mount-Street, London, 5 March, 1794.
I have a good Wife, and seven fine Children, (—healthy, well made—) four boys, and three Girls; the first born, a boy, full thirteen years old; the last born, a girl, just fourteen Months. I hope ere long we shall be all safe in the United States, for this Country is not the best place for brave fellows.
I have the pleasure to send this Letter and a parcel of News Papers, Pamphlets and Advertisements (—neatly sealed up—) by a well disposed young Man named Richard Rodgers, whom I cured of a Fistula about a year since. He was formerly employed in the farming line—latterly in a Sope Manufactory: Will bring with him Letters of Recommendation from his last Master, [ ] who was visiting America only ten Months ago.
Tho’ my eldest son is not two Months more than thirteen years old, but Mind is so set upon going to America, that he would rather be there, bare foot, and penny less, than stay here. I took him on board the George Berkely, Captain Collet (—an American Vessel—) last Sunday, that he might learn how hard he must fare in the Steerage, but he has since cried very much, because his Mother wont let him go with Richard Rodgers.1 I am, sir, Your respectful Servant,
Martin Van Butchell.
Martin Van Butchell (1735–1814) was a London dentist and maker of trusses as noted for his eccentricities as for his practice.
1. The George Barclay, under Capt. John Collet, arrived at Philadelphia in early May, having been at sea for forty-two days since leaving London. Richard Rodgers is not listed as one of the cabin passengers, but he may have been among the “32 in the steerage—all remarkably healthy” (General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 5 May 1794).