Letter of the Venerable Pierre Toussaint to William Schuyler*

May 11, 2023

New York, November 5, 1823


I have received your charming letter which has truly afforded me the greatest pleasure in the world and I see well that you are a young man of word. Yes, my dear sir, I believe I am the happiest of all mortals when I receive letters from Madame la Comtesse de Basturd and I assure you indeed that I am quite proud to receive a letter from Mr. William Schuyler, for I think and am cerain that you have the feelings of a true nobleman, that is to say, d’un homme comme il faut [of a man as he should be].

Statue of Philip Schuyler*, major general in the American Revolution and United States Senator. Located outside Albany City Hall in Albany, New York. Photo by MattWade.

Thus, if you should ever marry, and I should have the happiness of receiving a letter from your lady I should consider her the Countess William Schuyler. All the young men at Mr. Bancel’s say a thousand things to you. Mr. and Mrs. Bancel do not forget you at all. Madame Binsse is doing ver well. I did you the favor of presenting your regards to those young ladies. They are very sensible to your pleasant remembrances. Miss Collins is leaving tomorrow for her home and Miss Marcathy is leaving for Saint Croix because of her health. . . . Mr. Cruger has just arrived, and I received a very long letter from the Countess that made me very happy.

Mrs. Philip Jeremiah Schuyler**.

I go to your mother’s** house every day. She is doing very well. Your cousins are always quite well. The young ladies hope to see you this winter at Mr. Bancel’s ball. Miss Meetz says thousand and thousands of things to you. Adieu, my good and dear Mr. William, take care of yourself and always be good and write to me some time when time is not pressing. I am respectfully your very obedient servant,



* Grandson of Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler.

** Mrs. Philip J. Schuyler [Mary Anna Sawyer]

Hannah Sawyer Lee, Memoir of Pierre Toussaint: Born a Slave in St. Domingo, 2nd rev. ed. (Sunbury, Penn.: Western Hemisphere Cultural Society, 1992), 87–88.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 878


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