Aug. 15. 1821
My dear Grandfather. In answer to your query, Mr. Birkbeck wries
as follows. "My recollection of the method of [frise] building
invented by M. [Lefainteraux] will not enable me to add much
in explanation I gave of it in my Journal. I shall however be
obliged by your forwarding to Mr. Livingston the following
answers to the query contained in your favor of the 9th July.
1. As the mould consists of detached pieces of board
the size and shape of the blocks may be varied at pleasure.
A cubic foot was about the size of those intended for plain building.
2. The inside of the mould is not wetted--
3. The stamper was wood about eight feet long and nine inches
square, shod with iron,k drawn up by a rope over a pully, to the
height of about 6 feet.
4. Two workmen were employed in making the blocks.
5. The blocks were fit for immediate use without drying.
6. They appeared to be hard enough to bear carriage; but
being made on the spot where the building was erected carriage was saved. This
appears to be a material point in the saving.
7. Their resisting the effects of moisture & frost would depend
on the quality of the earth --
8. The same in regard to their requiring a covering. A trial of
these particulars should be made in every new application of the process.
The size of the blocks may require to be varied according to the
material used. A large mill stone served as a rest. The mould,
consisting of the four sides was placed, I think on a block of wood
fitted into a large square hole in the center of the mill stone.
The mode of fixing the sides has escaped my recollection is however,
when placed they formed the mould which one of the men filled with a shove:
the other let down the stamper: both drew it up and the blow was repeated
as often as required three or four times. The sides of the mould
was then let down & the earth appeared to have acquired the hardness
of good stone ready to be carried immediately to its place in the wall,
where it was laid in mortar."
The foregoing is all that Mr. Birkbeck has communicated on the subject.
I imagine it would answer no valuable purpose in our Country - we have no earth
that could be made sufficiently hard by ramming.
I yesterday attended the execution of Whorajinkah, an indian of the
Morebago tribe, hanged as one of the murderers of two Soldiers
at Fort. Armstrong on Rock Isla. Never was I so much convinced that
capital punishment should be abolished in this one Land-- How I did
deprecate the policy that required the death of the Indian to atone
for a crime that he never thought he had committed! Do you suppose
he was sensible of crime-- Do you think that while under
the gallows he supposed that he was satisfying the Laws
by his death-- It is a part of their religion to destroy the whites and
while life lasts I shall entertain this sentiment that Indians should
not be punished for murdering the whites -- we have wrested from them their
Sands & their hunting grounds and now driving them even to the
shores of the Pacific Ocean. Is this not enough to enkindle within
them the fires of revenge. But pause - he's dead - and the laws
I am astonished at the silence of your daughter. Am I forgotten or
if remember'd, remember'd only as one not worth affection or regard?
Persuade some of them dear G. Papa to write me. Give my best love
to all the family and believe me your very affectionate G. Son.
Aug. 15. 1821
H. Livingston Esq.
Sidney Breese followed a friend, E.K. Kane, to Illinois,
where he was, in 1827, appointed United States district attorney,
and later postmaster of Kaskaskia, where he and Mr. Kane resided.
Mr. Kane was then in the United States Senate.
Sidney's grandmother was Elizabeth Anderson, the wife of
Colonel Samuel Breese. Elizabeth's father died and her
mother, Jane Chevalier Anderson, married Captain Joseph Arthur,
the step grandfather for whom Arthur Breese was named.
Joseph and Jane's child, Arthur's
half aunt and Sidney's half great aunt, was Abigail Arthur, who
was married to the first Postmaster General, Ebenezer Hazard,
from whom may come many of the postmaster appointments to be
found among the Breese relatives.
In 1829 Mr. Breese published in octavo form a volume of Supreme Court
decisions for Illinois, the first
book of that form published in that State. In 1835 he was elected
circuit judge and in 1843 elected United States Senator from Illinois.
It was in that role that he was instrumental in the creation of
the Illinois Central Railroad. Judge Breese was elected to the
Illinois House of Representatives, and was
Speaker of the House in 1851. In 1855 Mr. Breese was again elected
circuit judge, and subsequently was made Chief Justice of Illinois.
The current site of the Clinton County Historic Society Museum is
located in the former home of Sidney Breese.
It includes Judge Sidney Breese articles and
the "Early History of Illinois" written by Judge Breese, as well as a
fully furnished court room.