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1835.03.27 - Elizabeth Huntington to Mary Huntington, Mar. 27th 1835

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1835.03.27 - Elizabeth Huntington to Mary Huntington, Mar. 27th 1835


This is a letter Elizabeth wrote in response to her daughter Mary. Here they are making plans for Mary’s visit as well as updating her on news about the town and its members. She shares with Mary how her sister Bethia and her father are currently reading the memoirs of Hannah More, an English religious writer and philanthropist. The reading is too long for Elizabeth, a very busy woman, but she does enjoy it from time to time. Speaking of time, she then goes on about how short life is and how, because of that, one needs to fear the wrath of God when living and she then praises God. After praising God, she goes on to talk about the family business, sleighing, and visits from her children about Franny and Charles who visited her. As most mother’s do, she inquires about Mary’s health and reminds her of the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and adequate exercise. In the post-script, Elizabeth mentions that Theodore was offered employment by Mr. Fisher, but has selected to stay at home in Hadley and farm. She concludes with the celebratory exclamation that J.P. Huntington was elected as vice-president for the Agricultural Society of Northampton.


Elizabeth Whiting Phelps Huntington


Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers (Box 12 Folder 12)
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections




Courtesy of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Foundation
For permissions contact Amherst College Archives and Special Collections





Hadley March 27th, 1835-Friday evening

Dear Mary,

Mr. Fisher’s letter to Theodore, reached us today, and yours of this same date, (16th) came last Saturday. Since we received yours, I wrote to you, but I believe I omitted to say as much about your return home as I intended. The time really draws near, and we begin to think it is time to make some arrangements for your journey. Theodore has indulged a hope, I believe, tho’ rather secretly, that he should make a visit to George this Friday; but if he should finally fail, I think you would do well to take the infamy of Mrs. Swift as some other friend who may be coming as far as Albany; and then if you with it, some of the family will meet you and accompany you home. Mrs. Fisher will not think it unkind, though, if we feel desirous of having your company at home. We are not required to love our neighbor better than ourselves. I doubt not she feels very thankful that we have shared you no long; and I feel satisfaction in the thought that my little granddaughter will very soon be all to her, that a fond mother can desire, affectionate obedient attentive to the wishes of her parents, and devoted to her mother.

Mr. Tabin has lent Bethia memoirs of Hannah More, which your father and sister are reading with eagerness. It is so large a work, that I (page 2) dare not think of reading it in wim. This focused work gives me an acquaintance with many great characters, much as Johnson Garrick Bishop Parteus Cooper John Newton etc. etc. but there are duties which have a stronger claim [for] me, than her ancient worries can urge: so I shall content myself with just taking a glance at them now and then, remembering that the present is not designed as a state of enjoyment but action, and that our reading should be so directed as to qualify us for our several phases of action. My time is far short; the little that remains for one to do must be done quickly- and I am greatly solicitous that my effort may be so employed as to promote the cause of truth and holiness; and yet almost everyday is a witness of my failures, and until the mercy of God prevent it, must witness against me in the day of final account. Thanks be to God that we have a High Priest, not one who could not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but who was tempted in all honesty like as we are yet without sin. It is indeed comforting to think of our Savior as a man of sorrow and acquaintance with grief, for if the captain of our salvation was made fearful thro’ suffering much more do we need the fear of tribulation to refine and fortify us. Then the same strength which enabled him to overcome and sit down with his Father in his throne, is offered to us, that we also may overcome and sit down with him in his throne.

We have had very good sleighing this week; and Charles and Helen availed themselves of it to make (page 3) us a visit on Tuesday with the children. Franny looked very fresh and healthy; little Charles has no color but enjoys fine health, and is a very pleasant quiet little fellow. Marianne Phelps does her visit the first of April. After that Helen hopes for Bethia’s company a little whole. –

I hope your confinement does not injure your health. If you find that it does, you had better quit at once; and continue to have more exercise. You know that attention to diet and exercise have always been very necessary to your health; and I have had some doubt with regard to the stimulation system. your food ought to be plain of sufficient quantity, nourishing and easy of digestion. But you know all this. I hope we shall hear from you often. Let us know what arrangement you make with regard to coming home that we may be able to appoint if necessary. – I have been trying to persuade your father to write to you, but he has not yet come to the right [indecipherable].- With the kindest remembrance from all to all. I am as ever most lovely, your affectionate mother.

E. W. Huntington.

Post Script: Theodore has found employment at home for the present year. He wrote a letter to Mr. Fischer last week to this effect; he feels very much obliged by the kind intent which Mr. F expresses in his welfare, but is not now at liberty yo avail himself of it. I am of the opinion that he has had enough of clerkships to serve him one year at least. The independence of a farmers life can only satisfy him. One piece of news I forgot to mention; at a late meeting of the Agricultural Society at Northampton Mr. J. P. Huntington was elected one of the vice-presidents!