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1832.06.23 Mary Huntington to Elizabeth W. P. Huntington, Jun 23, 1832

Dublin Core


1832.06.23 Mary Huntington to Elizabeth W. P. Huntington, Jun 23, 1832


In this letter, 17-year-old Mary Huntington is writing to her mother Elizabeth Huntington. Mary is away at school in Troy, New York, at the Troy Female Seminary—later the Emma Willard School. Mary writes that she has been unwell. She appears ill, homesick, or anxious, or a combination of some or all of the foregoing. The 1832 cholera epidemic ravaging the region—Mary refers to it as the "dreaded disease" and "terrible scourge in the land"—seems to be driving much of her worry. Mary regrets that she has neglected her devotion to God and things above, and expresses a renewed desire to "honor the Redeemer" and publicly profess her membership in the church. Mary recounts speaking earlier in the day with a physician. He described her as "very nervous" and left her with some suggestions—avoid tea and hot coffee—together with Valerian powder and iron pills. Mary has missed two her music lessons because of her ill health. Mary uses this letter to again request that someone come for her. Because she did not receive a letter that day, she tells her mother that she half expected her father to arrive. Mary concludes by giving love to her mother and the family.


Mary Huntington


Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers (Box 20, Folder 13)
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections


Jun 23, 1832


Public Domain



Troy, June 23 rd 1832
Dear Mother
Thinking I might spend a few moments profitably as well as pleasantly in conversing with you, I have gladly availed myself of this opportunity for doing it.
Since I have been unwell, and since this excitement respecting the dreaded disease has existed, my thoughts have been running in a more solemn channel than usual, and among the many, many, things which I recollected as having left undone, one thing I regretted exceedingly, and that was, that I had not united myself with Christ’s visible family, while there was such a favorable opportunity. It seems to me now that it would be an honor too great for me to belong to his visible family on earth, and to labor, and suffer if need be, in his service. This ought certainly to be my highest aim. But then I am so far from God in my daily walk, so cold in prayer, that it seems to be almost profane for me to desire to belong to his people. If I were to look to my own strength to accomplish the work of salvation, it would never be done. But we read in the gospel of Jesus “that we can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth [sic] us,” and that Christ has died for all who will believe in him. If God should spare my life until I could get home, it seems to me now, that I should delight to give myself to him in the way of his appointment, namely by coming forward to his table. It appears to me as if there would be a sweet satisfaction in doing it. Pray for me that I may be permitted to honor the Redeemer, whether the path lies through pleasure or pain, health or disease, life, or death.
As to my health, it is not very good though I am able to be about. This noon, as the physician was here I thought fit to consult him. He gave it as his opinion that I was very nervous, and wished me to abstain from tea and hot coffee, and drink instead, cold milk and water, and coffee with a great deal of milk. He left me the Valerian powders to take, and a box of iron pills. I hope they will be blessed to me. I have omitted taking my musick [sic] lesson twice on account of ill health. I suppose there is no need of my repeating what of late I have so often said namely that I should like to have somebody sent after me. [Prior sentence was crossed out at later date?] Indeed I some expect pa tonight as I received no letter today. But I know I am not thankful enough for all the mercies that I have received, and wish I had a more grateful heart. Give a great deal of love to all the family, and accept a large share for yourself, from your affectionate daughter Mary D Huntington.

{Sideways Text}
June 26 th I have kept this letter some time in order that I might add anything new if I wished. The trustees give it as their opinion that as there is at present no immediate danger, the school had better be continued. But if you feel as though you had rather have me with you when there is such a terrible scourge in the land, I hope you will send for me by all means. I should like to have your permission to return at any time in case it should be necessary. I desire to be thankful that so far I have been preserved in safety. Goodness & Mercy have followed me all my days thus far. Will you & Father have the goodness to give me a particular permission to come home if I chose.