1840.04.21 - Elizabeth Huntington to Frederic Dan Huntington, April 21st, 1840
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Elm Valley April 21st 1840
Its pitiful to being a letter with an apology: but it seems to be necessary at this time. This highly interesting present which accompanied your bible of the 18th of March, should have received an immediate acknowledgement of thanks - and you have margin to suspect me of negligence and want of suitable effort in the case. To this, I must plead guilty in some degree, although, if Theodore had not written as he did or when he did, it is probable I should.
You may be assured there has been no deficiency in kind remembrance, and kind wishes. You’re frequent and patient watching, your unwearied care and attention to me while sick, I cannot soon forget. I owe a debt of gratitude to my friends, which I cannot expect to pay. The only return I can make is to implore for them the blessing of the new and everlasting covenant.
The account you gave your father, of your situation studies employments was highly satisfactory. Your visits and labours among the prisioners, I should think would be interesting. If they are not, it must be expected that they will be useful; as sympathy seems to be considered most essential in the character of a missionary.
Perhaps you will have an opportunity to instruct the young men from Hadley, who have been sent to the State Prison. I hope I am not wicked enough to covet the religious advantages which you enjoy, but I must say that we are enduring some privations with regard to these things. The loss of the bridge has carried us some twenty miles distant from Northampton. While Mr. Hanson was preaching north of us, we endeavored to be content and go and hear him; but they ^the society^ have heard him long enough, and are trying to suit themselves better.
However, after the vernal freezes are past of which we have had an unusual share, I think we may occasionally find our way by Hunter's ferry, through Hatfield to our old resting place. “There's no place like home.” By this I would not have you understand that I cannot enjoy the sabbath while absent from this Lord’s house so far from this. I think we can never enjoy such free and intimate comparison with our Father in heaven, as when in the secret of retirement, we pour out our prayers and our praises before Him.
And here I must just mention that I fear Christians generally are deficient in intercessory prayer. Even ministers in their public prayer almost wholly omit it on some occasion. Do we realize as we ought that the prayer of faith can “shut the heaven that it rain not,” and “ remove mountains” even. Are we not this sparing of time for this duty? Considering the grop darkness which covers much of the earth, the heathen superstition and idolatry, the false religion that prevail, the melancholy state of the Jews, the indifference and vice that abound in christian lands, and the threatening advent of affairs in our beloved country, is it (page 3) not the duty of all who know how to pray, to cry mightily and say as Israel of old I cannot but there go without a blessing -- judging from my own experience I think the duty of prayer is too much perform as a task, which the sooner it is finished the better.
Wednesday morning 10 o'clock April 22 . We have been refreshed this morning by two very interesting epistles, One from Mrs. Fisher to Theodore and your’s to Bethia. Under date of March 14th she says, “ We have today received brother F’s letter to Lizzie. Glad were we to get it I assure you.” On the 18th she writes thus, Monday Lizzie came to make us a visit of several days. The principal of the school was hardly willing to consent to an absence of more than a day, but when Mr. F. told her if they had any rules which prevented his taking her out when he show it would be necessary to take her away altogether, she yielded most graciously. If it were not meddling with other people’s affairs, I should say your address to the Robin is delightful. I might also thank you for “opening your mouth for the dumb, in the cause of such as are appointed to destruction.”
When Arthur returned, he mentioned your being troubled with sore eyes, caused as he supposed by the same eruption which has below been troublesome to you. As you say nothing about it to Bethia. I hope it has subsided. Your father has had recommended to him for the (?) a decoration of the Red Root♣.
You have expressed my feelings with regard to Voices of the Night, very nearly. Not precisely. Footsteps of Angels I consider decidedly the best. The Reaper and the flowers comes next then the Psalm of Life. But they are all touching too much so to be compared.
Your father gave Bethia and me a ride to Cabotville last week. We went and returned the same day ^Thursday. Had a pleasant ride and good visit. He spoke of having had a letter from you not my before. The same day Mr. Neil was ordained at Hatfield. Mr. Bandit of South Hadley attempted to preach the sermon, but was too fabletog through. Your father has preached the two last sabbaths at Deerfield, so you see he has gained considerably since you left us. Mr. Fernandes is dismissed, and they are looking high, for a man to take his place.
I must not forget to mention that Tucker man came to puffing up yesterday and seeing your father in the yard said to him [sentence finished in cross writing up the center edge of the page] I came to see if I could borrow a [?] lamp for my little whig. This was quite unintelligible to your father but he soon found means to ascertain that his wife had brought an accession to the whig party a few hours before.
We had a long letter from William two or three weeks ago, written just after their arrival, giving an account of their journey to Holyoke with a good deal of satisfaction, of having persuaded a young man of great promise, to commence the study of Theology, with the view of preaching in the Utilitarian ranks. He also said that the young men of Quincy had requested him to give a course of lectures on Wednesday evenings upon the doctrine of christianity, to which he has consented. They board at the Quincy House. I wrote to him on Monday and disclosed all your exchanged. We hear alarming accounts respecting Harriet Mills. I am afraid her complaints will end in a decline, as did those of Lucy’s sister. Helen is feeble, the last time we heard from her she was about sending the infant away to nurse. They call it Mary; we shall love it better for that. Theodore has been placing shrubbery around the resting place of our dear sleeping ones. How cheering the hope that we may yet against be united; not in these decaying tabernacles, subject to sickness and pain and sin and death; but clothed in fine linen clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. In these robes we shall be permitted to sing the Song of Moses and of the Lamb if we fight the good fight of faith.
Most truly, your affectionate Mother Elizabeth
[Cross writing on the first page of the letter] Theophilus and Eliza go on very quietly as usual. For a few days past, she has had a touch of her spring complaint, [they?] argue, and he has had a _______ in his shoulder. Both however have attended to their business as usual. Samuel Lyon came about a [foresight?] since to [stem?] the ____ with them, in learning how to manage a farm. He has improved very much since he was hers before. I wish you could read over letters from France. When I write next I think I will withhold some of my own [empathy?], and some of their letters for you. I presume you will have an answer to your letter soon. This season of spring brings vividly to mind our dear Mary who so loved the singing of the birds and all animal nations. Also our dear Frederic whom labours (sic} in the garden and whose pleasant society in this house was such a comfort to us. This we may hope to have renewed here, and may we not as confidently hope ____ long. “To form a family anew, unbrightened in the skies!” “Be thou faithful into death, and I will give thou a crown of life.” Write as often as your other labours will allow you to do. Be careful to take regular and sufficient exercises. The Lord bless you and keeps you, now and always.
♣• Red root is plant used by the native tribes of North America who used it to treat skin cancers, skin lesions, and venereal sores.
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