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Elizabeth Huntington to John Huntington, Sep. 7th, 1831


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                                                                                                                                Hadley Sept 7th, 1831-Wednesday P.M.

My Dear Whiting,

           As your [?] is occupied with altering the store, and Mary and Frederic have this day begun their attendance at this academy[2] the business of letter writing will necessarily devolve from me; I would be glad if it had fallen into better hands.  Your two letters came to hand yesterday and made us glad with the information they gave us of your safe arrival and your welfare- one [problem?]  however, in which we were all highly interested was omitted – the subject of making for the [praise?].- Did you not when writing your letters, forget or disregard this thought. "Whatever you would that [them?], should do to you, do you even the same to them”- Last Saturday we received a letter from Elizabeth and another from Miss Vanderkemp of Trenton[3]- the former gave an account of the installation of Mr Condit[4]- and the four day meeting which succeeded it-. From her description it appears that the manner in which they endeavour to promote religion very much resembles that of the Methodists[5]- She thus concludes her recital. “From my description of these scenes you can have little idea of them. If this is the work of the Spirit, I would not for the world disbelieve it, but as far as I can judge, it is an effort which any one might produce at any time at any place. It has had one effect upon my mind. Religion as I have been taught to view it, appears more lovely and more im-portant than ever.” [Richard?] had a letter from Bethia about a week since- she says “I have felt rather lonely since Whiting left. These changes are rather unpleasant [6]– Young [7] says- How solid all, where change shall be no more”- She had six scholars when she wrote , and said she should like four times that number.  As the time has been approaching for Mary to leave me for school, she has put forth an energy to help me which I did not know belonged to her charac-ter - I hope she may be able to attend and that she and Frederic  will be able and disposed to make suitable improvements.- My strength holds out and rather increases. I am almost astonished at myself- but this astonished feeling belongs to the disease under which I have so long laboured -my mind is more quiet and composed than it has been; but an uncertainty shifts continues a kind of fluctutuation, at times a strangeness which I suppose  is a vestige of the disorder with which my stomach is still affected[8]- But I feel as if I had not words to explains I had not words to explain the obligations I am under for the relief afforded, or that my life and disposition might in future be more entirely devoted to the glory of God and the Redeemer. And now let me just say to you that perhaps there is no occasion for the hint- that what-ever favour you find in the opinion of men- let it all be turned to the advancement of that kingdom which is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit- I have now read your piece upon fasting and approve of it highly- do not I beg of you lose sight of your entire dependence upon Divine grace- born of him who was meek and lowly in heart- and with such an example before us, we shall have caused enough for humility-. Your errands I hope be attended to, I hope to send your shirts next week committing us all to the care of an over watchful Providence I am with much love, love your mother.


Post Script- Mary and I went to see Helen[9] Monday, the baby improves fast. I regret exceedingly that it must remain without the sealing ordinance. They removed to Pleasant Street last Thursday your Pa and I went over to assist. [Theodore?] and [Theophilus?] and [Orrie?] are engaged in plowing at the mountain.- The new part of the store is raised. Write again soon.

[1] The time in which this letter is written is while Whiting, or John Whiting, attended Harvard. Whiting later died suddenly at home in 1832 before receiving his bachelor's degree from Harvard.

[2] According to sources, Mary began attending Miss Willard's school in Troy, New York in 1831. The school was a secondary and post-secondary female academy. The all girls academy claimed to be "the first school in the country to provide girls the same educational opportunities given to boys". The academy which Frederic began during this time is unknown but he graduated from Amherst College in 1839 and began at the Harvard Divinity School in 1841.

[3] From the context of the letter from Miss Vanderkemp to Elizabeth, it can be inferred that they shared an interest in church matters. In the mentioned letter, Miss Vanderkemp emphasizes the importance of religion in her life, even claiming it to be more important than war. After Elizabeth was excommunicated from the church in Hadley she joined a Unitarian Church in Northampton. Could Miss Vanderkemp have been a friend from the Northampton church?

[4]Mr Condit, mostly likely a preacher from this time is described to have held a religious meeting which Miss Vanderkemp attended.

[5] During this time period the Methodist church was in a state of religious revival. In the frontier there were Holiness meetings which promoted religion.

[6]Bethia, Elizabeth and Dan's fourth child, presumable expresses agony due to the beginning of Whiting's college career at Harvard during this time period. Unlike many of her siblings, Bethia remained at their Hadley home all her life, which could explain her unhappiness with the movement of another sibling.

[7] This is a poem from Edward Young titled "Night Thoughts"

[8] Throughout Elizabeth's life she suffered from this "disorder" and in the Spring of 1846 her health began to deteriorate rapidly due to this long-term illness.

[9]Although not explicitly stated, Helen could be the wife of Edward Huntington. In the 1830s the family resided in Northampton, which would of been an easy visit for Elizabeth and Mary to make.

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