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1833.04.17 - Elizabeth Huntington to Mary Huntington Apr. 17th, 1833


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Elm Valley April 17th 1833

Dear Mary,

This day brought us your letter to your father, and as you may suppose, occasioned some [?] pleasant sensations. The glooms seem to have returned with all their strength. I had hoped that they had been chased away, by the light of science and religion, as the shadows of night, fly before the beams of the morning sun. And even now I trust these wil [?] will give flow to brighter and happier visions.

Your father has been wishing to write you for some time, and on your birthday he went so far as to [write?] a date. But since that, his business has been so urgent, that he has been unable to finish a letter. You may wonder what can occupy his time to such a degree, but you may [...] that he is making preparation for altering the kitchen chambers, and next week expects the workmen to begin their operations. We shall almost want your help then. Had not you better conclude to return with Edward, who intends having us next week for New York, and will probably call on you at Troy [1] on his return which will be I suppose the forefront of May. In the meantime, I should like to practice on the guitar as much as you think proper. Bethia and I have been making shirts for Theophilus, and we have some also to make for Theodore. We go as much in the old track. And I consider it no small blessing, that day after day and night after night, we can labor and rest, undisturbed by the groans of the sick, and the suffering of sympathy. Truly we are surrounded with mercies, more than we can reckon with. Even in your case, uncomfortable as you think it is [2], how much have you for which to be thankful.

The faculties of hearing speech and sight, are so common that we hardly think of them. But if deprived of them, how much would our enjoyment be diminished. The power of ministering to the comfort of those around us, is another source of comfort; which thou who have not the use of their limbs are in a measure deprived of. But above all, the use of our reason, and the gift of revelation, call for our most devout gratitude; for when all earthly comforts fail, and mortal life is closing, the gospel assures us, that them who [trust?] in Jesus, shall god bring with him. Let us then comfort one another with their words [3].

Elizabeth [4] wrote a letter to Bethia lately, in which she speaks of a protracted meeting which has been held then and which lasted three weeks. The two [haden?], Mr. Myrick and Mr. Warren, lodged at Mr. Fisher’s during their stay and Mrs. Fray [5] they preached and practiced the doctrine of perfection. She says also that she has received new light upon the subject of depravity, the new birth and Christian perfection. I hope she will soon communicate some of her light to us. But it is growing late, and I am a good to hand to retire in season, so wishing you grace mercy and peace I subscribe as ever your affectionate mother. Elizabeth

Dear Mary

Edward will not fail to come by Troy, when he returns from N York [6], & if you & Mrs. Willard, on the whole think but you can return with him, however great the mortifaction and disappointment might be. In the mean time, I enclose you five dollars, for your prudent use. I should consult no physician, unless something new & alarming occurs. Theophilus has left off using all pills and medicine excepting mustard seed [7]. He eats his meals, regularly with the family goes about his work, & says & seems to think nothing of his complaint, if he has any. Would it not be better for you to do the same, & mind nothing about what a parcel of foolish girls have to say about your rosy cheeks. You know I love you dearly, & that I do not trifle about your complaints. If they are serious Mrs. Willard [8] will know if, & will tell you what she thinks. If it is necessary to come home, there will be no difficulty about it at any time. Very affectionately, your father.

1 - What is Mary doing in Troy? The town "Fall River" changed its name to "Troy" in 1804 and didn't change it back until 1834, the year after this letter was written. Troy was a leading textile producer in the 19th century, and was one of the only towns in the union to have an actual waterfall near the town center.

2 - What ails Mary?

3 - When this letter was written, New England and the rest of the colonies were in the peak of the Second Great Awakening – a religious revival which spurred millions of people to join the church and attempt to purify themselves of sin before the Second Coming of Jesus. The movement started around 1790 as a reaction to growing religious skepticism/rationalism and continued until the late 1840s.

4 - Is this referring to Elizabeth Huntington?

5 - Who is Ms. Fray? Elizabeth seems very interested/impressed by her.

6 - Why was Edward in New York? He still lived in Northampton in the early 1830s, subsequently moving to Boston, New Brunswick, and Cabotville.

7 - Mustard seeds have been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years, and were believed to help with almost any ailment (especially skin diseases). As such, this particular treatment doesn't give any evidence as to what Theophilus was suffering from.

8 - Who is Mrs. Willard? She seems to be a caretaker of sorts.

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