The Pursuit of Gentility
Gent Family Papers 1786-1840
from the marriage of John Gent & Sarah Booth
to the death of John Gent
Oft as I strive step Fortune's hill to gain
Which some have done God knows sans part or pain
Some slip of conduct or oppression's power;
Lies, whispers, slanders some unlucky hour,
Or what soever cause, unseen, unknown,
Still pluck'd me back, like Sisyphus's stone,
And lastly dropt me in my native clime
To teach, preach, pray, read, muse and feebly rhyme.
Thus subtle magnets reel from shoal to shoal,
But lastly trembling nod towards the Pole.
Yet grant at Heaven's decree I ne'er repine
But kiss the Rod and trust in Providence Divine
For to God's fiat all things seem to tend
Malice might Joseph into Egypt send,
And Judas' self contribute to that end.
Adieu, then Gew-gaws, Hail thou well-known spot
Pastures green and humble straw-thatched cot.
Haunts of my youth and conscious of my Toys,
O strange vicissitude of transient Joys
That actuate the breast to Man from Boys
Here then may wisdom be my first pursuit
Learning the soil may Virtue be the Fruit.
Thus may my thoughts improve the Talents given
And dress my Soul an offering fit for Heaven:
As each advance in knowledge may afford,
Proof of God's being, attribute and word.
Till all Demurs and Doubts for ever past
The Infidel convinc'd, appall'd, aghast,
The Vision beatific full displayed at last.
Thus whilst the many dup'd by fading Joys
May I like Mary whom the Text records
Bend to my Saviour's ever-during Words:
Unswayed by Martha's or by Esau's Taste,
Slighting eternals, lured by one Repast,
Oft view that Tomb which near the Lich-gate stands
Rais'd by a pious mournful Widow's hands
To him whose life a bright example shone
Who liv'd in peace and dy'd without a groan,
Like full ripe Fruit that earthly Nectar yields
Or yellow Ceres that adorns the fields
Whose dear remembrance may my zeal inspire
And prompt the son to emulate the sire
For oft as day gives way to gloomy night
The mansions of the Dead my steps invite
Where Prayers and Praises both spontaneous rise
To Nature's God my evening sacrifice.
Now guess the Partridge to the hawk a prey
Signal that Night obtrudes retiring day;
And Grace to Birds though scorn'd by tasteless Fools,
Solemn in Voice and aspect hoot the Owls
Slow swings the Curfew-bell the Winds unseen
Through Pines and Yews improve the solemn scene
With Rosemary, apt Emblem of the dead
Which being crop't the more erects its Head.
And last the moon pale Empress of the Night
With slow majestic pace appears to sight
Whilst stars unnumbered feeble light reveal'd
Which erst the radiance of the Sun conceal'd.
Thus whilst I rov'd in this obscure retreat
Feeding my soul with meditation sweet
Near midnight's hour inviting soft repose
Job's mystic vision to my Fancy rose.
Silent and solemn all, my heart subdued
My pulse beat languid, slowly crept my blood.
My voice supprest my heir erect thro' honor stood
When lo a phantom stood before my eyes
Majestic large surpassing human size
With aspect calm he awful raised his hand;
Loose flow'd his gown and gently waved his Band
And thus with accent mild; Fond man behold
The gross delusions that attend on Gold.
Shun Syren pleasure false as Harlot's smiles,
Which tempts and stings, still poisons yet beguiles
Tho' specious Knowledge may thy wishes gain
Yet weigh, oh, weigh, the vast alloy of pain.
Here then thy Anchor fix with full assent
That Virtue only yieldeth true Content.
Thus having said, the Genius benign
Left me deep musing wrapt in thoughts Divine.
Oh may such thoughts my mortal eye engage
And serve like Balm, to sweeten Lifes's last stage.
Lines by the Rev. James Turner, senior, under the Commandments in Meerbrook Church
(Vicar of Meerbrook. Died 1828. Brother of Mary Gent, née Turner)
By Fear alarm'd may we receive imprest
These awful Mandates deep within our breast.
Whilst our rapt Souls to JESUS we resign,
Where wonder, love and gratitude combine.
Also these next the pulpit by the same.
Before Thee Lord, when prostrate I appear
In humble prayer; vouchsafe a gracious ear,
In balmy sleep, when sinks my drooping head,
Thy watchful Providence surrounds my bed.
And when this world's affairs my hours divide,
Thy Spirit, instinct-like, be then my guide.
My race thus run, may I on Seraph's wings
Soar to those Realms where bliss eternal springs.
Lines to be repeated by Children of Meerbrook Sunday School on Christmas Day.
For ever blest be this auspicious Morn
On which the Saviour of Mankind was born.
Dumb with amazement pause all human Kind,
Survey the Bliss ineffable. Design'd
For all your race. Lo, Christ your Ransom brings,
For Adam's Lapse, with Healing in His wings.
Hear the blest promise as in scripture read
The woman;s feet shall bruise the Serpent's head.
See the blest Babe in sordid flannel swath'd,
With tears of Joy his face the Mother bath'd.
Hear the Evangelist in raptures tell,
Satan like lightning shot from Heaven to Hell.
Pan's lying Oracles began to droop
Gasping, desponding lay his vanquish'd Troop.
Lo, GOD a sojourner on Earth appears,
Who from repenting Eyes wipes off the Tears.
Faith and Repentance, Christ's Benevolence
Almost outshine Man's state of Innocence.
The bright inhabitants of Heaven proclaim
Their Joys in chanting Blest Messiah's Name.
With such Ambition, Lord, our souls inspire
That we in Heaven may join that blissful choir.
Lines by the Rev. James Turner, on seeing the sun set in Meerbrook Chapel Yard, July, 1825, when 81 years old.
Oft as I view day's glorious Lamp descend
Awake my Soul, and view thy latter end,
Or , rather, entrance on an endless state
Where Bliss supreme or woe must thee await
Let me compute my days already past
And think this very day may be my last.
Weigh how much Duty every day requires
And what has been the main of my desires.
To me, O Christ, thy saving Grace impart,
That this sad thought may never rend my heart.
So one day more in Sin and Folly spent
And one day less to live the Penitent.
To banish such sad thoughts and soothe the mind,
Peruse the Scriptures, seek and though shalt find.
Draw near to Christ, who all thy troubles sees,
But bring a contrite heart and bending Knees.
To thy superiors pay all honour due,
Stoop to the meanest&emdash;Christian, Pagan, Jew.
See what abasement Christ himself sustain'd
When to redeem mankind the Saviour deign'd
Thus deference meek to all who bear the rod
Seems an appendix to our serving GOD.
These gentle hints if well observ'd my Friend
May sweeten life and bring an happy end.
For wisdom's wages are the paths of Peace
Her harvest large, Eternity her Lease.
John Gent Esqre
I must now beg you to send me an account of any further charges you may have against the late Mr Wm Beckett's Estate relative to the Money secured to you, in order that all accounts may be adjusted and got ready for some day next week when the business can be closed. Any day next week will suit me except Tuesday. I must beg for an answer by return of post if possible so that I may give Mrs Beckett the earliest intelligence.
I am Sir, your obedient Servant
Kinderton 22nd August 1825
John Gent Esqre
Ex parte Beckett
In my letter to you of the 8th instant I requested on behalf of Mrs Beckett to be furnished with the particulars of principal interest and costs claimed by Mr Gent. In answer to this you send me the particulars of the sum of £5 17 8 charged as Mr Gent's expences at various times. This charge is such as reasonably to excite a suspition that Mr Gent's other claims are as unfounded as this demand. I am at a loss to conceive how Mr Gent can charge Mrs Beckett with these journeys or how he can make it appear that such expences are incident or relating to the security. Mrs Beckett is anxious to have the business concluded but is nevertheless determined to pay only what is justly due to Mr Gent. What I understand from your accounts is, that there now remains due from the representative of Mr Beckett to Mr Gent the principal sum of £200 with 19 years interest amounting together to the sum of £390 with further interest from 2nd April last to the day of payment. The sum Mrs Beckett will pay, but out of it she expects to be allowed the sum of £6 10 4 paid to the Surrogate for expences occurred in applying for a prerogative administration, and after admitting in your letter of the 20th June that these costs had been incurred in consequence of your insisting that the fund was invested in the name of Mr Wm Beckett when such was not the fact, I did not expect any objection on your part to pay then, when I am furnished with the particulars of Mr Lockett's bill for £11 7 4 you shall be informed whether that or any part of it will be paid. To save however further useless trouble I state at once on behalf of Mrs Beckett that unless Mr Gent will agree to this most reasonable proposal on her part viz to pay principal interest and reasonable costs deducting the £6 10 4 Mrs Beckett will feel herself obliged to apply to Mr Braband for payment of the legacy and she will then tender to Mr Gent such sum as is actually due to him.
Should Mr Gent determine to accept of this offer send me by return of post as well the particulars of Mr Lockett's charge as also of all costs claimed by Mr Gent, that there may be no further misunderstanding and the business at once closed. Mr Gent must sign the receipt to Mr Braband for so much of the legacy as he receives, and Mrs Beckett for the balance only.
I am Sir
your obedient servant
for Mr Avison
W. T. Hutchinson
Rd Vawdrey Esqre
Liverpool 19th Septr 1825
I am sorry to say there still appears to be difficulties in the way of the settlement of these affairs. This morning I have received a further letter from Mr Arison's clerk, of which the annexed is a copy. I repeat that I consider you entitled to your principal money interest and all costs and expenses and it must be for your judgment whether you will forgo any and what part thereof, which Mrs Beckett's solicitor seems to expect. Waiting your reply
I am Dear Sir
Your most obedient Servant
Kinderton 28th Septr 1825
'This was in earnest'
My dear Mary,
It is with the utmost diffidence I now appear to write to thee, like unflown young that first soar upon pinions but love impels me which overcomes all fear; and if I indulge myself in apursuit that is unavailing the sooner I cast it from my mind the better, and I know of no way so well as the object of my choice being averse to a correspondence. But if I should be indulged in the liberty of a correspondence, it would be the utmost object of my wishes for the present. And I hope thou wilt fully satisfy me on this head without submitting to others' views and without our own will we give up our temporal existence. I hardly ever knew what affection meant, I hardly ever knew what transport was, until I saw thee: and the whole feeling was engrossed and the whole faculties absorbed in thy interest; and like the beneficence of the deity thou art predominant and ever present to my mind.
Were I to go to Jericho the 'practice' would hardly be worth contesting for. In the city I could not expect to do much without a person of thy interest; but with thy love and my abilities I should want to stand unequalled and peerless not so for the sake of vain applause, seeing how egregious and eminently bad mankind are, but for the self-evident cause of trying to do good for what satisfaction is there in anything else to reflect on or delight in.
Skaneateles is no place for pre-eminence except it is to gain the love and the admiration of the whole neighbourhood, and what else can be desired elsewhere?
This was wrote in new York then I could not muster sufficient fortitude enough to send it, (since that I thought if I preferred thee to all others I ought to let thee know it), and my whole conduct bespeak and my whole faculties move me to that course. Not that I expect a full determination of thy sentiments in my favour, but a partial derangement of my views in thy favour may meet with an answer.
New York 25th 3 Mo 1826
To Gilbert Hicks
I have taken the liberty of addressing thee through the advice of my friends to acquaint thee with some business I have in Tortola which if thou couldst make it convenient I would wish thee to inquire after for me to know if the agent is doing anything towards bringing the business to a close and if thou hast time and inclination I should wish thee to try to collect something for me, but I do not wish thee to subject thyself to any additional expense. I have sent thee an order to Daniel Fraser who has a house to sell and is the present attorney to get from him what monies he may have in his hands on my account collected from the estate of late John Gent deceased. I have likewise enclosed thee another order on Abraham M. Belisario who has monies in his hands collected from the estate of late John Gent of which I am the acting executor in company with Mark Dyer French and Richard King both of the island of Tortola. A. M. Belisario was appointed agent by the rest of the executors and myself to collect all notes, bonds and demands which he has done to a considerable amount and now has the money in his hands which I wish him to pay over to thee - and thou wouldst much oblige me to make several enquiries if Fraser is likely to do anything towards bringing the business to a close. If thou hast time and wishes for something to divert thy mind I will give thee the usual per cent for what thou collects for me but I do not want thee to go to any expense on my account and if thou shouldst think it necessary for me to go to Tortola I should wish thee to early advise me of it as I am now at leisure more than what I may be at any further time. My acquaintance with thy connections is very limited but presuming on their interest I have taken the liberty of writing to thee and thou wouldst infinitely oblige me to state what is doing them by Daniel Fraser or the executors and address thy letter to me at Skaneateles, Onondaga Co. New York. With just assurances for thy welfare
Henry Gent M. D.
Dr Henry Gent
Falls Township 22nd 1st Mo 1826
I know not what thou attributest the great length of my silence to have no doubt but that thou hast anxiously expected to hear from that part of the country towards which I suspect thou often casts an eye and could almost wish the tales of yore might be realised in which when children we have heard that by 'magic skill' the lover could behold the object of his desires at a great distance and that by the aid of her wand the fairy could summon before her anyone her favourite wished to behold (excuse my nonsense I just wrote this because it happened to enter my head). One great cause why I have not made a more speedy reply to thy last [ ] has been a consciousness that my intelligence would not appear [to] thee to be of the most favourable kind: a knowledge that I could not give thee any encouragement to persevere in the design which I expect still claims thy attention. But instead of this if I acted the part of a true friend I should have to give thee my real and undisguised sentiments and tell thee that any longer to harbour any warmth of affection for the (apparent) object of thy attachment would be entirely useless as I am well satisfied there has never been the least degree of reciprocity in the matter and from my full acquaintance with my [foe?] am not afraid to say there never will be. Thou hast my full sentiments on the subject undisguised by the least tint of flattery for which thou ought rather to thank than upbraid me as I very much disapprove of keeping anyone in suspense adhering in this respect to the command of 'Do unto others as ye would that they in like manner should do to you.' And have in this business acted towards thee as I would wish thee (had I been in thy situation) to do to me: not without a considerable degree of a feeling of delicacy being aware that my situation is quite a delicate one but in addressing thee this morn have endeavoured to lay down all restraint and consider thee as a friend whom to oblige it is necessary to speak freely and without reserve.
I will now turn to another subject with which thou wilt feel interested I expect. Elizabeth Janney made us a visit a short time since and informed us of a weighty matter which laid upon her mind a thing of no less importance than an intention of marriage having given her heart and promised her hand to an object who (in my opinion) is entirely worthy - a young man no less remarkable for the greatness of his talents than for the purity of his principles the amiability of his mind and the agreeableness of his manners and conversation. Who is this? thou wilt query of whom thou givest so exalted a character. cannot thou guess from the description. It is no less than Samuel M. Janney son of Obijah. If thou hast heard nothing of this before thou wilt be a little surprised methinks as far as I am acquainted with the opinions of their friends this match is viewed with universal approbation. When thou wrote to me last I was teaching a school in Solebury Township. As is customary in the country I gave it up when the weather became cold and returned to my dear home with the pleasing anticipation of spending the winter in our family circle, but a friend from Hall's Township Pennsylvania came for me and after a time I agreed to teach a school in his house, where I now am. I expect to go home every other seventh day and spend First Day in Trenton. I was there yesterday. Mary spent nearly all the day at our house with me she has lately returned from a visit to Philadelphia where she stayed two weeks she was not so fortunate as to make a conquest either there or on her way home again that we have heard of. In the forepart of this I have stated matters very plainly and now may just say that I hope they (my remarks) will not appear applicable to thee that thou hast long ago done as I said in my first letter to thee on the subject viz forgotten or rather ceased to encourage an attachment which thou hast had sufficient proof was not reciprocated. I say this as a friend. It would allow me a great deal of pleasure to hear of thy having taken to thyself a companion from thy own neighbourhood who suited thee and that thou wast settled down for life as I think a young man has so many temptations to draw him from the path of rectitude without something to claim particularly claim his attention and as I desire the prosperity welfare and interest of all my friends (amongst whom thou art included) I am often tempted to advise them to do that which in my opinion may often be the means of turning the mind to seek eternal happiness I trust through the wisdom and guidance of our Heavenly Parent thou mayest be enables to find one who will be a help-meet to thee in thy passage through life. When thou writes to me again direct to
Care of Stephen Comfort
Morrisville Post Office
I do not know where this will find thee but I thought I would direct it as I had usually done thy letters.
The friends with whom I board Stephen Comfort and Mary his wife are both ministers in our society and I hope in their family to have an agreeable home.
I believe I have now said what I wished to say and will conclude and hope thou wilt believe me to be thy friend
My Dear Mary,
I wrote to thee some time ago advertising thee of my love - not only imagined, but felt - not only wrote, but attested to. But as yet I have had no answer in return. What am I to consider is the cause, or wherewithal am I to construe it. That a letter from thee would be desired with a vehement regard, thou canst have no doubt; like the bird of spring, I should hail a favourable one with the greatest zest - as a harbinger I shall receive it with all the alarm of that auspicious season - as the winter, so an unfavourable one would be received with all the torpitude of that glazing period. Do not keep me in suspense: the agitations of such uncertainty is worse to bear than the gloom of winter; yea, than the assertions of a false witness or a coquette - or any other thing incomprehensible. I hope thou wilt not expose this letter to others' view - Like the sensitive plant my feelings would shrink back at the garget of another's eye, as that heart does from the touch.
A part extract of a letter to Mary.
Not that I am indifferent as to thy answer - a favourable reply would be more agreeable to me than the bird of spring after a glazing winter, or the precursor of some great event after a long period of many years. There is nothing new here worth relating. The County has been in a good deal of ferment lately on account of celebrating the completion of the canal. Another canal is talked of to connect this lake (the Skaneateles) with the head waters of the Susquehannah river to enable the southern people of this state to export their grain and import salt and goats [?] in return. Nothing authentick is decided on at present. Whisky, that bane, which brings a family to destruction, and a morsel of bread, has increased the vociferation and interest, seemingly, has caused all classes to join in the outcry - tho' at the expense of the general good: for I am of an opinion it will increase the means of wealth, bring in the city practices, inebriate our manners, and make void all that pleasure and delight which flows from a (poor peasantry) pure conscience and (rustick manners) uncorrupt manners.
Dr Henry Gent
Trenton 6th Month 21st 1826
Thy letter dated 30th of last month was not received by me until last evening. As thou appeared from thy manner of writing to be rather dull I thought I would speedily answer it as a letter might possibly divert thy mind from gloomy reflections a short time. Though I do not suppose a letter from me will prove interesting for I am well aware that if I possess a talent for any kind of business it is not for that of letter-writing. Conscious of this when I address a friend in an epistolary manner it is not with a prospect of exciting his or her admiration but to evince my continued remembrance of and the interest I feel for them.
Permit me in the first place to refer to something in thine though not in a reproving way. Thou judgest me wrongfully in believing me guilty of exposing thy letters to the public view. My sisters are my confidants and of course nothing of a common nature is withheld from them. They saw thy communications and such as I believed thou would like Mary to see I showed to her; besides these none others read them to my knowledge. Mary is absent at present, she has gone to visit some relations in New England, was well when she left here.
I was much surprised to hear of thy prospect of returning to England. Thou sayst if thou hearest nothing favourable from me. It would certainly be a great gratification to me to be the harbinger of good or agreeable intelligence but that satisfaction is denied. Mary still retains the same sentiments with respect to that matter: this is all I can say - methinks. The language arises in my mind "Ah me when will the minds of men learn to seek happiness where she may be found". I have long regarded earthly felicity as an Ignis fatuus - a fallacious dream. yet am aware that some situations in life are far more desirable than others and often feel my own unworthiness to possess so many unmerited favours and blessings though deprived of many of those luxuries which constitute what many ignorantly fancy human bliss. To look beyond temporal things to a situation in which the world and its delights are viewed in their proper light is true wisdom. To seek the consolations which flow from the spirit that breathes 'Glory to God in the Highest, on earth peace, and good will to men' is a pursuit worth our serious attention and cannot be too ardently sought after by rational creatures, endowed with a capacity to receive and eager desires to obtain happiness. Assured at the same time that it is an object beyond the attainment of our carnal endeavours or gratification of human wishes that it is to be found only in a willingness to surrender these to the government of a principle implanted in the breast which subjugates the will reduces the lofty imaginations secures the affections humbles and contrites the soul. In yielding to this there is something substantial gained. It does not open any true enjoyments even in this life but enhances their value. We are [ ] taught to use the things of the world without abusing our privileges If you sacrifice the unlawful propensities of the mind we gain the reward of peace in return, feel the language of 'Thou hast been faithful in the little. I will make thee healed evermore'. But I am writing on a subject of which I know too little and therefore desist.
Thomas Wetherald attended N. York G. Meeting was accompanied by James Stabler a nephew of Edwards who's a young man who lost his wife 2 or 3 years since. He appeared to us to be a very interesting young man. While in N. York he ruptured a blood vessel and returned exceedingly weakened. I believe his principal design in going with Thomas was to try if travelling would not have a beneficial effect on his health which had been delicate for some time past.
I expect thou hast heard of T. Wetherald's attended the Annual Meeting as his fame has reached far more distant than his visit extended. He is one who like many other great men has to pass through 'evil as well as good reports' but I am firm in the belief that he is one of those great Instruments which from time to time have been raised up by an Almighty power to spread Gospel truths in great authority disregarding the opinions of men. He is remarkably clear in his delivery, very fluent as well as eloquent, and very engaging in his manner. His language is excellent; his very frequent quotations from the Scriptures shows his intimate acquaintance with these inestimable writings and the well-timed application of these quotations discovers his deep discernment into their true meaning and at the same time [ ] his hearers that
[ ] has been led into the arcanum of the Scriptures. Think not by my speaking so highly of this valuable man that I would wish to exalt the creature in his own or any other person's estimation. Without waiting upon and for the immediate help of superior grace and strength he is nothing more than a common man but by faithfully attending to the manifestations of light in his own mind he has gradually advanced step by step till he has increased in the knowledge of Divine truths and is capable as strength is afforded of preaching unto others and recommending them to apply to the same source that they also may come to the knowledge of the truth in their own heart [?]. This is my opinion.
The sable shades of night are fast ga[thering] around which appears to remind me that it is almost time to quit my scribbling but I want to say to thee not to give way too much to gloomy thoughts. I do not mean serious for these are very different from gloomy. Thou sayest the spring has returned but to thee not the beauties of spring, what is the reason? [ ] If thou repliest disappointment let me remind thee that they fall to the lot of all men and that we have been told that they are good for man. Nevertheless I do not think it is right or that it was ever designed that we should look too much on the dreary or dark side of things, but in all things trust to a power who will enable us as we are willing to surrender to its authority to overcome all wrong things. In haste I must subscribe myself
Thou didst not mention whether thou hadst become a member of our society yet or not; if thou hath I hope thou wilt derive some satisfaction from it. M.
I had almost forgotten to tell thee that Samuel Janney and Elizabeth have taken a [ ] North Western excursion expecting to visit the Falls of Niagara and the other curiosities which lie in that direction.
¶ Wetherald, Thomas: Sermons by Thomas Wetherald and Elias Hicks delivered during the Yearly Meeting of Friends in the city of New York, June 1826, together with a sermon by Elizabeth Robson and a prayer by Anna Braithwaite, also, sermons delivered in Philadelphia and Wilmington. Hrsg. von Marcus T. C. Gould. Philadelphia 1826
SERMONS BY THOMAS WETHERALD DELIVERED AT FRIENDS METTINGS IN BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON. WETHERALD, THOMAS. JAMES LOVEGROVE, 1826
Sermons by Thomas Wetherald, and Elias Hicks, delivered during the Yearly Meetings of Friends, in the City of New York, June 1826. Together with A Sermon by Elizabeth Robson and a Prayer by Anna Braithwaite: Also Sermons delivered in Philadelphia and Wilm. Thomas Wetherald. Philadelphia: Published by the Reporter, 1826. Elias Hicks, the noted Quaker preacher, was recognized as one of the two or three most effective Quaker preachers of his period. (DAB) He was a leader of the separation in the Society of Friends, one of the branches often referred to as the Hicksites after Elias Hicks (QUAKERS) 8vo. . Original boards, uncut. Rebacked with white cloth, boards worn, some spotting and soiling of text, with library bookplate, tag on spine and remains of pocket, else a very good copy with the signature of J. D. Merritt on the blanks.
Solemnised in the Parish of Swettenham in the County of Chester in the year 1826
1826, June 25th Esther daughter of Thomas and Mary Warburton of Kermincham Labourer by Thos Hodges
to Mary C- at Trent[on?]
My Dear Mary,
Although thou enjoined upon me the last time that I was in thy company not to write to thee any more, yet the love I have for thee breaks through such tinsel works of restraint and supplants any vows I may have made (thee) on that subject. Yet I have tried to divert my mind but it cannot be estranged from thee. Thy conduct in this instance resembles, in some measure, snow in harvest or blossoms in winter, quite out of season and unnatural: for whoever saw the one beloved despise the one that loved? The stars that in the firmament, reflect their lustre and act in harmony; and the great sea, deep and tempestuous, revolving in its tide returns the earth the flood it gave) source returns (its tide); yea the great globe, and all that it (inherits) (inhabits) begets its nature; and all but only thou, quite out of season and unnatural returns not what I give. Oh Mary! couldst thou look into my breast, this mural partition now that sheaths my love from thee, would be seen forsooth in all its glow, pure, evincible, and the apprehensions thou hast would disappear. With such sentiments I subscribe myself
Skaneateles, 8th 12 Mo, 1826
My Dear and Esteemed Friend,
It is with the utmost reluctance I have witnessed a relapse of our former friendship, and hope it may be renewed. It is ever a maxim with me, and I believe it is a law of nature likewise, to love and esteem those persons with whom I have spent my time agreeably, and have nothing revolting to reflect upon from their company, to wish to continue their esteem and approbation. And thou art one, William, with whom I have equalled all this, and hate to have our former joys cancelled by an oblivion of their memory. To keep it up, William, I know of no way so well, as a continuance of our correspondence. I have assumed most stations in life, and find the humblest has been that in which I have been received with the most familiarity. The easier people are within themselves, the more comfortable I have been in their company; and the more reserved they have been, the more embarrassed I have been in my behaviour. Therefore, I shall write to thee in the humblest, and hope to be received in the most familiar way. Now my West India business is at an end. The person who had the management of my late brother's affairs is dead. I hear he died insolvent, and like the universal deluge, everything is swept away. Hence all my hopes are satisfied and all my joys arise, etc. etc.
It is with great regret I have omitted answering thy long, and very welcome, letter, for so long a time: but it was done through a wish to hear from thee in answer to my last letter sent by way of Morrisville Post Office. Thou art now situated by all accounts in the most delightful parts of the Union and I am anxious to hear how thou likest thy new home and if thy hand is still at liberty, and whether I could accomplish it. Thou wouldst likewise oblige me to state what inducement
Thou mightest consider it rather impertinent in me to address a letter to thee without some further introduction, but thy sister Phoebe said thou wouldst prove a valuable correspondent and bid me to write to thee. I therefore comply with her request (hoping etc) Out of chaos the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and all things that are therein. Though I can make no new heavens nor new earth, I am willing to do what I am able etc etc
Thy letter really gave me much pleasure. Now, I presume thou art a married woman by this time. The only inducement that I could have had to have come out there would, of course, only been to have seen thee. I rejoice, with the rest of the family, in the satisfaction you have in Grace. I hope she will prove worthy the opinion we have of her, but as there is no setting bounds to people's opinions, I think she had better take advantage of the stream while the tide lasts, as the insence of the adulation of such praise is apt to destroy a weaker mind than Grace's.
'Who seeks, and will not take, when once 'tis offered,
Shall never find it more.'
'There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current while it serves,
Or lose our ventures.'
The interest that thou takes in my behalf is very gratifying. Mary is not the paragon. Elizabeth I would have married through choice, and first love, and everything else, but I doubt if I should have had Mary, even if she had consented, as I had not then the means to have supported her.
I am sorry thou shouldst wait for a wet day, and a time of idleness, before thou couldst answer my letter, after thou hadst had it by thee for near half a year.
Alex'a 1 Mo 10th 1827
Thine of the 8th of last Mo came duly to hand and I have omitted answering it this long which may seem like neglect not because I had lost any of my esteem for thee but as much as anything because of the nature of a part of its contents which I shall come to presently. I fully agree with thee that it is entirely natural for us 'to love and esteem those persons with whom we have spent our time agreeably etc' this cause I have to love and esteem thee, particularly since thy last visit to Alex'a for I thought I noticed something in thy manners and the state of thy mind as far as I could judge by the impression thy spirit made upon mine, that indicated thou hadst been growing in that stature which is 'in favour with God'. Do not suppose because we have not written frequently to each other that 'our former joys are cancelled by an oblivion of their memory'. Surely thou art write [sic] in saying the humblest state is best - it is more easy to multiply words about it but that is not necessary for we both know it by experience - do as thou sayest write to me freely and I will use the same liberty with thee. I hope it will turn out for the best that thy West India prospects are destroyed! I have long thought and more than once mentioned it that in moving about from place to place frequently thou wilt not be likely to receive much benefit either in temporal or in spiritual things. I hope thou mayest meet with some young woman who will make thee a prudent and affectionate wife. Thou wishest me to point out one. This is a very delicate undertaking and one that I don't think it would be proper for me to enter farther into than to give thee general advice. Not feeling quite so deep an interest in the subject as one does who is personally concerned I might fail in recommending a particular individual to select one whose qualifications are such as to render thee and herself happy - but I would say become acquainted well with her character in private as well as before company, study it without letting her have the least suspicion of thy view, let her be a candid woman and serving, let her be one who never shews a disposition to trifle with the feelings of any sensitive or sensible being; and lastly let her have at least an ordinary share of intellect and education - but the last two qualities are not so important as the others. I would have thee also observe her mode of managing children if any are under her control say sisters nieces or such, she ought to be mild in her conduct towards them, to be temperate in her decisions but when once her mind is fairly made up inflexible and persevering against all entreaty on their part to alter her judgment. It is likely that thou hast while not intending anything like marriage been in some degree thus watching the character of some female. If thou canst meet with one to suit thee in thy own neighbourhood or one elsewhere who will reside with thee I think it preferable to breaking up thy present establishment and forming a new one which may throw thee considerably back in regard to pecuniary affairs.
My paper is nearly filled. I wished to say more in answer to thine but have not now the room. In religious matters we are quiet here, partaking not of the troubled state in some places to the north. Our time may yet be to come but I do not think there exists at present fulminating matter enough among us to make an explosion. I have felt in some degree comforted in comparing the state of the religious world in the days of George Fox with the present. There is much similarity. Those who preached Christ within as that only which could save us from our sins were persecuted but notwithstanding this many were convinced and their speaking pleased the people in that day. Is it not so now? With a salutation of esteem I remain thy friend
Dr Henry Gent
Cincinnati 7th Mo 1st 1827
Strange indeed appear many of the occurrences which befall man in his earthly pilgrimage. Our emigration to the West is a matter of surprise and can yet scarcely be realised by me. We have a second time been willing to bid adieu to all those endeared by the warm ties of consanguinity and affection to seek amongst strangers a home not doubting but that in every situation we should meet with many who would with friendship's smile invite us to become their friends and partake of their joys.
From the date of this thou wilt perceive we have executed our contemplated plan of removing to Cincinnati. We arrived the beginning of last mo[nth] after a pleasant journey which I would like to give thee some description of but a sheet of paper affords too small a space to give even a slight view of it. My life had been spent without travelling a great deal consequently objects presented charms to me that by those accustomed to visiting new scenes continually and wandering much abroad would be overlooked or passed by as unworthy of notice: but contrarily with me each day was replete with novelty of some kind and I enjoyed it much. The season of the year was favourable all nature seemed to smile weaving her lively hue. After passing many lofty ridges of mounts the Allegheny presented itself: our first view of this ridge was grand beyond description - a slight shower had been diffused and except in the west the sky was clear. Here the top of the Allegheny seemed lost in the cloud which from a very dark colour was gradually brightened to its edge which borrowed from the last rays of the descending sun the most glorious refulgence. Suffice it to say it was the grandest sight of which I ever had been the witness - and why should I attempt to describe it since the pencil of the most experienced limner or a pen guided by the hand of him who most successfully could write the feelings of a mind richly stored with sensibility and ingenuity would fail to do it justice. But thou hast been accustomed from youth to wander much and undoubtedly hast observed many of the sublime scenes in the various parts of the world thou hast visited that such as I would wish to describe would not interest thee because they would not be new. I got very much in the spirit of travelling and was not much pleased when we arrived at the 'port of destination', it would have given me great pleasure to visit Niagara's falls. A tour from Philadelphia to Cincinnati thro' N. York state when time could be spared to visit the natural curiosities which be not very distant from the usual route must be very interesting and agreeable. It has already become a fashionable jaunt and will be increasingly so as this part of the country is rising very fast into notice and consequence. When I contrast the difference between domestic tranquillity and the pleasure derived by gratifying an inclination to visit distant and different parts of the country my decision on the subject would be favourable to the former though the latter accords too much with my nature.
But I must now expect to settle down for life without thinking of wandering abroad as my mind has already had more opportunity of becoming expanded than thousands who are more deserving. I think all persons whose minds are contracted ought to go from home, observe the manners and customs of those who live at a distance from them on their return if they have made impartial observations their prejudices would be very much dissipated they would discover that location had very little effect on the mind. Although my veracity was undoubted before I left the east by my friends I think some of them would be apt to accuse me of relating traveller's tales were I to write an exact description of Cincinnati could the polished manners, way of living etc. of the inhabitants be justly delineated it would be impossible for them to realize its truth. The idea of uncouth and rough exterior with mind not greatly superior or rather much more cultivated to the civilized nations having in childhood been imbibed and ever since associated with their reflections on the people in this state.
I am sorry to find a great deal of apparent lukewarmness about religious matters in this place among the members of our society which is quite small, a great many young men new come to Cincinnati who were brought up quite plainly and never or quite rarely enter our meeting house they soon mix in gay society and almost forget they have a membership in friends' society. Generally the inhabitants are very fond of amusements. A great number of people visit this place during the summer from New Orleans and have introduced too many of their customs. I fear this will be a growing evil as the city enlarges. Its gaiety is the principal objection I have to Cincinnati. The people are remarkably friendly, we have met with many who have evinced a warm interest in our welfare ready to do any kind offices which would promote our comfort. If our business will suit we will like living here very much. Sister and myself expect to open a school in a few weeks for boarders and day scholars. We hope we will succeed in the undertaking but it is yet untried. Therefore we are altogether in uncertainty. I do not wish to be rich but I think it would be very comfortable if we possessed enough of this world's goods to live independently by which I mean to live without teaching school: we are subject to the caprice of employers and many other inconveniences such as close confinement etc that to us are not very agreeable. There is great difficulty in becoming well established in a school particularly where there are many good old establishments of the kind which is the case here, however we must patiently wait for our turn. By leaving Trenton so soon as we did we missed seeing our old friend Edward Stabler. I saw it noted in a paper that he was at New York Annual Meeting without doubt to the satisfaction of a great number of his friends. I would be much gratified once more to meet with him, but we are so far removed from all our former acquaintances that in all probability we shall rarely be favoured with their society. It appears to me to be a great deprivation as my attachment is warm for many between myself and whom high mountains intervene and large rivers roll; but as all happiness rests in the mind we may without any of these be favoured to enjoy our share of the comforts of this life. My poor mind is often almost ready to sink at times under the fear that the enticements of the world will be too alluring for it to stand against as it will have in this place as very few to whom it can look for example or encouragement to persevere in the path which leads to life eternal to pursue which needs a daily self-denial and the wearing of the cross of Christ, no half way surrender will be acceptable. Oh! if it would if we could follow the lamb immaculate one half and our foolish inclinations the other how numerous would true Christians be but a knowledge that the whole heart is required in order to be followers of a crucified Saviour is a stumbling block to many. My spirit fervently desires to be kept pure in the midst of a backsliding people but my flesh is very weak to feel and appear like a sparrow on the house top or a beacon in the wilderness is very trying to nature and whether I shall be able to stand or whether I shall like others pursue the path which descends to the valley of death and darkness I know not but my desire is that the true seed of the kingdom may yet grow and flourish in the hearts of the children of men that the church of Christ may arise from the present state of darkness which overshadows it and conspicuously shine forth to the glory and honour of him who is faithful in accomplishing his promises and will not forsake those who rely on him alone for help in the time of need. And oh that (what is called) religious contr[ ] might cease not till then will our society be the chief among the nations it cannot be again a city set upon a hill to give light to all about until its members are more willing to lay aside secondary things and points at present disputed so long as we continue to contend about doctrines so long will be kept from the enjoyment of spiritual blessings. The argued points have not yet been discussed here and I hope all contention about them will never reach us we would be as well in our present lukewarm state as to be quarrelling with each other about our belief.
It is nearly dark and my paper almost filled. If I had time to spend conveniently I would copy this before I sent it but my engagements are numerous and thou must excuse all deficiencies.
N. B. When thou wrote last thou wast on the point of leaving N. York for Charleston I write without knowing whether thou hast returned or anything further about thee. I shall always feel interested in hearing of thy welfare and knowing in what part of the world thy residence is as thou appearest to be something of a cosmopolite, however I hope to hear of thy being settled yet very comfortable in great haste.
I must say farewell
Our friends in Trenton were well when we left. Mary has become a resident in Philadelphia I staid a day or two with her previous to our journey.
Thou wilt most probably think this a strange letter, but as I am inanced [?] to write it from what has transpired, and from the advice of some of my friends. Thy brother refuses paying me the amount due me for attending your late brother Charles last winter, saying if he pays me what I ask, he shall have to pay it out of his own pocket. I wish to know if this is the conclusion?
Considering the way in which I served thy brother as nurse as well as companion and physician, the sacrifice I made of my business, the risk of my life on the sea and in a sickly climate, and of my health by unwearied assiduities by night as well as by day - the promises Charles made to me, the advantages that were in my power, and which had I been disposed I might have made use of to my own interest - but which I would scorn to do, under all these considerations I am astonished, and totally at a loss to conceive the views you must take of the case, before either of you could hesitate to give me the sum which your executor's physician said I ought to have.
I invariably refrained saying what I thought was my due through delicacy, never dreaming but that you would pay me the sum proposed. When we were at Rhinebeck, thy brother foreseeing that I might have a great deal of trouble with him, said that if I would only accompany him, he would pay me well, he would satisfy me. (On the strength of that promise) I did go, and exerted myself to render him comfortable, to the utmost of my ability, suffering much inconvenience and fatigue night and day, waiting on him as I would that I should be waited on, (in my last hours) and soothing his last hours by every means in my power - and can it be that either of you should wish to withhold the reward of my labours, blest as you are with abundant means? I cannot believe it, and I make this appeal to thee as one the most nearly interested, and whose feelings towards the memory of a beloved brother will not suffer such an act of injustice and illiberality to have thy sanction, as I conceive withholding thy proportion of the sum would be.
Britain the home of my childhood, the charm of my life: what could be so bewildering as to lose that hope that is once to restore me to my former residence, and splendour that I see in the hamlet village and gay pasturage of a country scene?
My Dearest Mary,
Thou wilt long have wished to have heard from me, but as yet I have not satisfied thee with a reply, because I have not had a convenient opportunity of sending down to New York that indenture, and did not like to send it unless I could have sent it free of expense, which is not the case - always holding in view the expense, and as I could not have sent it without having to pay a great deal for postage, I thought it best not to send it until I heard further from thee, as there was no hurry, and as there may be a private opportunity there would be so much money saved by the family that otherwise would be spent for postage.
I have not heard from the West Indies since I last wrote to you, so I cannot inform you anything from that part.
I have long thought of coming home; thou sayest that all kinds of business are improving, but I do not wish to risk myself there unless I could get a promise from my father that he would assist me, as I am already here in a state of getting a livelihood and the despondency that would follow a disappointment there would make it worse than to remain from home.
I likewise should be glad to come, but I should not like to be there without the means of living, and my father may not think well to give me that, that would set me up, neither should I like it to deprive him or my mother of the means of living comfortable, otherwise, what dost thou think could be more gratifying to me, than to live at home amongst those that have the greatest regard for me, and for whom I have every cause to bind my attachment to them? My father like all other parents must wish to see his children married; but as that could not be so with any prospect of success or happiness without I have some means to begin with, I could not think of going there to be a lumber at home and useless to society, and thou mayest remember once when I was about to be married or thought I was, to a girl of my choice, that he refused paying me a draught drawn upon him, but it came back giving me a good name, and how can I expect anything better from him now? Thou art heartily sorry no doubt, but it may be all for the best, I have betokened nothing as yet to requite his indulgence, and I ask no favours at his hands unless it is agreeable to his wishes and mother's views.
Dr Henry Gent
Skaneateles Onondago Co.
Cincinnati 11th 4th 1827
I received thy letter a few days ago and as thou particularly requested a quick answer I thought it would be unkind in me not to comply with it when it could be done with so little trouble though I do not think I can give much favourable information.
Cincinnati is a very pleasant place for residence and a very improving city many kinds of business are done to advantage and the necessaries of life can be procured at quite reasonable though not at so reduced prices as report told us at a distance. Rents are high for instance we give $225 a year for our dwelling which is not in a situation for business but we were glad to get it at that price as strangers often have to board a considerable length of time before they obtain houses to live in. This will continue to be the case as long as the emigration continues as great as it has been of late years, however the number of buildings erected the past year has been much greater than at any preceding so that we hope after a while the people can all be accommodated. I have never been without the precincts of the town therefore cannot give my opinion of the surrounding country but the soil is said to be remarkably fertile and productive and there are many handsome situations and buildings in the vicinity. Small towns are interspersed throughout the country. I like to live here very much and feel at home, we have met with attention and kindness from our first coming here although I have staid at home more this summer than I ever did before not feeling any disposition to form many new acquaintances or go from home, perhaps after a longer residence my relish for society may be increased. This disinclination for mingling with the inhabitants is not to be attributed to any supposed defects in them for if persons could be by any means immediately transported from any of our eastern cities to this they would find no difference in the appearance, customs, fashions and manners of the people: they are exactly the same. How could it be otherwise when the town is composed of citizens from all the principal cities in the Union and how can any suppose we change our nature by crossing the Allegheny. None of the roughness of exterior awkwardness of manner or singularity of fashion is observable in Cincinnati which many in the east suppose exists.
Thou requested me to say what probability there would be of thy getting into practice. This is a thing of which I know nothing, only that I have often heard it remarked by persons that they did not now how the Lawyers and Doctors made out to live in Cincinnati as there were such numbers of them. The town is remarkably healthy no particular disease has been prevalent this season and from the little notice I have taken of the report of the board of Health in this and other places I have supposed Cincinnati was the most healthy place of its size in the Union. With regard to the travelling I can inform thee a little more particularly, though perhaps I may not be precisely correct yet I guess nearly so. There is a boat communication between Buffalo and Erie $5 fare, from Erie to Pittsburg is a stage route of about 130 miles the fare $8, from Pittsburg to Cincinnati the fare in the steamboat is $12 and takes from 2 to 3 days to Louisville 150 below $4 from Louisville to New Orleans a distance of 1500 miles generally performed in 6 days fare $25. To go from Buffalo to Cleaveland and from there in the stage to this place is rather less expensive I think though not so agreeable however a person then travels more in the State of Ohio. But with good company a trip from P to C in the steamboat is very agreeable, but in this there is a risque.
This is first day afternoon a very pleasant day and I left my writing to go with some friends, to take a walk we went up to the canal which commences at Dayton 60 miles above us and pursues a south course to Cincinnati where it turns directly to the East in a straight line across all the principal streets thus it forms a North boundary. We passed this in our walk and visited a grave yard where are numerous monuments erected many of them with appropriate epitaphs engraven to call to mind the nature of man. We as a society do not profess to believe it needful to raise monuments over our departed friends to recall them to our remembrance yet I have always been fond of visiting such places and reading the inscriptions, it often produces solemn feelings; but our graveyards speak a solemn lesson to us. The glory of man there vanishes all pomp is dispensed with the rich and poor high and low of this world are alike enclosed and left without a stone to designate the spot where they are laid. This reflection is or ought to be humiliating to us but we seldom see this effect produced.
The last letter we received from Elizabeth Janney contained very little or nothing that would be interesting to thee she did not tell much of the news of the town her letter was of the sentimental kind. Dost thou expect to reside in Baltimore or merely visit it thou didst not say. Uncle Gerard J. Hopkins of that place has met with some serious losses of late insomuch that he has given up his property. So it is with man those whom we esteem as the rich of this world often in a short time have to surrender all certainty those who have a moderate share with little expectations often fare the best because having little to lose they lose but little.
I have heard it said that to take the liberty of writing carelessly was a sign of friendship I think if thou ever heard that thou wilt excuse this by attributing it to that cause however I do not want to puzzle thee too much I have been in a great hurry there is company down stairs, a very nice young man of course I ought to go see him besides darkness has so shaded the windows I can scarcely see what I write but before I stop will tell thee that if nothing unforeseen occurs I shall live a life of celibacy with these sentiments I conclude
being thy sincere friend and well wisher
As it is unexceptionable in me writing again after what has happened I hope thou wilt excuse me if I address a few lines to thee stating the meaning I had in petitioning thy love.
It was always foreign to my thoughts not to address one that I could place the utmost confidence in, in every sense of the word, that would take care of my reputation, and value her own as the only adage that could be of any value to her, which I hope thou wilt merit in whoever thou becomes connected with, or whatever thy fate may be in this world. What am I to think of myself that could interfere with thy repose, or open a valve that was already consigned to another? In every circumstance of life after this thou wilt become an object of my particular regard. With respect and esteem
I remain thy assured friend
Skaneateles 12th 1 Mo 1828
My Dear Margaret,
Thou art advertized here as having got into a good habit of writing, and thy epistles are much admired as condensed, expressive, and every way interesting; for I have shown some paragraphs of thy letter without letting thy name be known.
I began a letter some time ago, expressing the infinite pleasure I took in hearing from thee, but I did not send it: owing -
Thou art anxiously awaiting for an arrival to know how I took thy letter. I must assure thee it was expressive of some doubts, for instance, 'that if nothing unforeseen occurs I shall live a life of celibacy'. When in one of thy former letters thou expressly sayst thou admirest the married state, that it settles the mind, and else -
Now thou art constituted to live happy, and make man/life agreeable. Thou hast those talents and propensities which meet every emergency, and if they do not ward off the blow, they reconcile thy fate to it, and propitiate the worst adverses.
Thou art aware the advances I made were in consequence of being fortune's minion lately. I was never in a state before to assert such a right through the want of means; but now the time has arrived that puts me of with a specimen of tincture given to green-eyed melancholy; for who would be so foolish as to pass a life of singleness when the vapors and the obstipations pine away existence without one kindly feeling.
From the view thou must take of it, seeing the inconstancy of mankind (I do not state this with a wish to interest myself, and I hope that young man is worthy of thy choice) but in the latter part of life there is not that versatility of genius to cultivate friendships and augment happiness that there is at thy present age and buoyancy of disposition.
Thou speakest of having partaken of the melancholy scene of a grave yard. I view such a scene as an epitome of (history) nature where the feelings of mankind are levelled, and where the solemnity of the feelings are raising one to assert the inconsistency of any other theme but that which thou art engaged in, of raising that superstructure which never fails, which makes a man hereditary a friend to community and a friend to society.
New York Jan 21st 1828
I avail myself of the opportunity of sending a letter 'free-gratis' afforded by cousin Chorley's return to inform thee of my safe arrival here after passing thro' 'perils by land and perils by water' - we found the roads so desput[?] bad that we were obliged to walk a considerable part of the way to Utica where we did not arrive until the next day about 4 p. m. although we travelled all night, and as I felt too much fatigued to enjoy myself and moreover reflected that I should make but an awkward figure at a fashionable wedding party in my frock coat and boots I finally concluded to send an excuse and push on to All-bonny where I arrived in due season and remained there two days to hear the spouters in the legislature and took the steamboat for Hudson and the night being dark and foggy the captain concluded to stay there until morning so that I made my visit to Tommy's mother that evening and went on with the boat in the morning and arrived in this city on first day night - Please tell Tommy - that I found his Mother and sisters well and comfortably situated they were very glad to hear from him and very much pleased with the little articles he sent by me. I called on Mr Wood today according to thy request - he said he had been offered $700 for his place but did not wish to sell at present. Mother is pretty well and we shall probably go on to Philadelphia next week.
With sentiments of brotherly love I remain thy sincere friend and humble servant
Mama sends her best respects.
A Brief Account of the Life, Last Sickness and Death of Robert Mott, Son of James and Mary Mott, of Mamaroneck in the State of New York. Mott, Robert. York: 38pp + advert leaf. 12mo. New-York, printed: York, reprinted for Wm. Alexander. c1820.
Biographical Sketches and Interesting Anecdotes of Persons of Color. Towhich is added a Selection of Pieces in Poetry. Mott, A[bigail]. New York M. Day  Third Edition (first published in 1826, revised in 1837 and revised again here). 12mo; 408pp; original calf, black leather label, joints cracked by cords holding, covers rubbed and stained, back blank torn, slightly foxed, good+. Abigail Field Mott (1766-1851), writer and abolitionist, cousin to James Mott (Lucretia's husband) like many Quaker women of the time period was involved in a number of political and social causes. While living in Albany, New York with her sister Lydia, her home served as a meeting place for social and political reformers presenting petitions and speeches at the state legislature. Notable figures such as Susan B. Anthony and cousins James and Lucretia Mott frequently visited the Mott sisters in New York. Both Abigail and Lydia were active abolitionists, and their home also served as a station on the Underground Railroad. As a writer, Abigail Mott explored a number of topics, experimenting with political, historical, and children's literature. This is her most famous work was - BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND INTERESTING ANECDOTES OF PERSONS OF COLOR. First published in 1826, it was one of the first compilations of African- American biography including sketches of famous African-Americans such as Phyllis Wheatley. Mott compiled the book with Mary Sutton Wood (1805-1894) using the name A. Mott (in an 1877 reprint she was listed as Alexander Mott). Lindley Murray sponsored the publication of the book and was also responsible for the 1877 reprint titled NARRATIVES OF COLORED AMERICANS. Other entries in this effort to show the 'dreadful consequences of that arbitrary power invested in the slaveholder over his fellow-being, to show how it hardens the heart and petrifies the feelings.' There is a heart- breaking account of 'Poor Sarah: - Or, Religion Exemplified in the Life and Death of a Pious Indian Woman' who died convinced of God's love, despite a life that would have tested the faith of the most ardent Christian. There is an account of the life of 'Alice, the Negro' a female slave who died in 1802 at age 116, again a devoted Christian. The account of 'Margaret Ann Crutchfield -A Cherokee Convert' and 'Belinda Lucas' (a woman of color taken in slavery around 1725) are both about the positive effects of Christian conversion on the lives of the most impoverished members in early American society. The trials these women endured are enumerated, along with their Christian charity to those they believed less fortunate than they. The assemblage of these lives of the famous - Toussaint L'Ouverture and Phillis Wheatley - juxtaposed with Poor Sarah and other 'ordinary' people is unusual. The second part of this book is a series of anecdotes or essays on the evils of slavery by various authors. The third part is a selection of poetry, most abolitionist. Included, however, is Lydia Sigourney's 'Burial of the Indian Girl'. Sigourney's abolitionist 'Difference of Color' and 'Missions to Africa' are also included with 'Washington City Prison' by fellow Quaker Elizabeth M. Chandler who had died in 1834. Wallace, Dictionary of North American Authors Deceased Before 1950. Marshall, Pen Names of Women Writers. Gurko, The Ladies of Seneca Falls. p. 114. Lutz. Crusade for Freedom, p. 213. Cushing I, p. 198.
My Dear Maria,
Thy letter came safe to hand last night, and certainly it was a great treat for I did not expect one. Thou needs not have been so piqued or have fixed reputation as on a point as it was at least known to a dozen (before I sent the letter) that I was going to write to thee. A person, Maria, of thy great qualifications, in the flowers of youth, and the ornaments of beauty - is not considered disgraced for one to be attached with etc etc
To meet with such a rebuff, maria, is past endurance etc 'These growing feathers plucked from Casen's wing' etc 'will make him fly an ordinary hitch.'
The copy of thy answer, maria, ought to have been something like this: your letter came to hand last night and I proceed to answer it without delay as an exquisite torture in such a case - Your good opinion is quite flattering but as my prejudices are not in the same way etc etc
After having been confined to his bed about nine weeks my dearest ever-beloved Father breathed his last yesterday afternoon, the day before he completed his 83rd year. He endured his sufferings and met his death like a bishop, and, through the merits of his Redeemer he is blessed for ever and ever. You will present my wife's and my kind regards to Mrs and Miss Gent and say we had intended to pay them a visit at Spen Green in the midsummer holidays, but my poor Father's sickness prevented it. If Miss Gent will spend a week with us here we shall be very happy to see her. Have the goodness to inform your brother James of the death of his relative and believe me to remain, dear Sir,
Very truly tours
Henry Gent M. D.
Skaneateles Onondago Co
Cincinnati *th Mo 24th 1828
Withdrawn from company into our retired school room I will endeavour to collect my scattered thoughts and communicate to my friend anything which may occur though judge from my present feelings that no new ideas will flow to fill this vacant sheet. Indeed my mind feels almost blank. Thou wilt wish (I presume) that I had selected a more redundant season for writing but the truth is that through the week my time is so engaged in school etc that first-day afternoon affords the only leisure hours wherein I write much. Practice is the only means by which to improve any of the talents bestowed upon us and we have proved that by using these they become strengthened and enlarged. The mind that is neglected though naturally possessed of strong rational powers may become weak IN proportion each particular faculty may be expanded by culture or imbecility follow, the natural effect of neglect.
If I ever possessed the least talent for communicating my sentiments on paper I fear by neglecting to cultivate it I shall in time lose the power of interesting my absent friends in the least degree. Should this be the case I hope they will inform me of it in time and I promise not to burthen them with a continuation of my correspondence.
I guess I could not be so blind as not to see that thy mind was diverted from all old objects, Skaneateles etc and leaned towards or rather attracted by a bright luminary who after shining conspicuously a long time in the city of Philadelphia was arrested by an opposition too powerful for its resistance caused it remove out of its regular orbit and retired for a season from the city's gaze to illumine a smaller circle. Whether it continues in its latter or has resumed its former course I do not know not having heard lately but from thy writing I judged that Philadelphia had again become the residence of Mary and Susan Cox. Thou didst not inform me which of them had acted so badly as to rob thee of thy heart but in thy next perhaps thou wilt divulge the whole secret. I would congratulate thee upon being informed that her's had in like manner fallen a sacrifice to thy attractions and I will hope for a favourable result. But thou didst not guess aright in judging one of those girls to be she whom I selected in my mind for thy future aid in life. I do not suppose thou ever heard of Martha Hampton. This is the name of my favoured friend. I should like thee to become well acquainted with her, if our taste corresponds thou wilt be well pleased, but if thy acquaintance is short I cannot speak positively that thou wilt as she is one who improves very much and in my opinion to know her well is to love her. I wish my friend Henry had something to settle him for life. I do not like to hear thy complaint of feeling 'all unsettled' and wandering about from place to place seeking for pleasure. Do get a suitable companion for life, one who will be willing to share every joy and sorrow, to sympathise in every trial and affliction, imparting consolation by her gentleness and meekness to thee and all else who surround her. If thou canst find, and make such a prize thy own thou wilt by experience prove that 'a virtuous wife is a crown to her husband'. My opinion of the female character is exalted. I believe many capable of affording all that I have mentioned though on the contrary there are many who deviate very widely from the sphere intended for them and thus instead of promoting the happiness they destroy the pleasure of their families. I am sorry thou wast so misinformed as to my future prospects. I doubt not thou felt glad to hear it was probable I would be 'fortune's minion' ere long but I must tell that with regard to wealth I still expect to be denied the claim of calling myself her favoured child. The man of my choice was not selected for his wealth or beauty but because I believed him possessed of many amiable qualities and in most respects suitable for me. I do not know how my friends could have heard so false a report. W. Buller has an income sufficient for his support if managed with prudence and economy but to be very rich he does not aspire. There will not be any danger of my being made a 'spoiled child' by it I assure thee. It would not be impossible for me to be hurt perhaps were the report true but if I know myself at all something beside wealth would be required to raise my ideas above their ordinary level. 'The mind makes the man' is my opinion. Thou spoke of Brother with interest in thy letter for which I feel obliged. Dear Child it would not require my being reminded to bestow any benefit upon him within my power. The only cause of his being in his present situation is our utter inability to provide him with any other. His talents are too good his disposition too amiable and his power of ministering to our own gratification too well known to us to bear a separation from him with fortitude were we not aware that his situation might not in any way that we know of be improved by his removal here but it is his prospect to come during the ensuing year and I hope something will open during tha[ ] for him to be engaged in. I will live in hope however even if [ ] should be disappointed in the end. William Buller is not at present engaged in business he sometimes talks [ ]mmencing but I think it is too precarious here at [ ] therefore have not encouraged him. Our school is small this summer owing probably to the very wary reception we have had. I wish I could give thee encouragement to take up thy residence in our agreeable city when thou gets thy new wife bit I can do nothing here than write thee to visit us except thou hast money enough to live on the interest if that be the case this place would suit thee as well as any other. Sometime ago thou told me thou hadst received an addition to thy former sum but did not inform me of the amount, so that I cannot judge whether I think it a competence or not. Do not think me impertinent by such an interrogation. I do not suppose thy friends made much acquaintance with my former intimate Mary. She is a very fine girl possessing many valuable qualities but I never thought from the knowledge I had of you both that either of you was suitable for the other (This is candour) and consequently not calculated to promote the happiness of each other. I want you both to be as happy as creatures of our formation can be. Sister Elizabeth has visited Louisville this summer was very much pleased with it and some of its inhabitants and Mary is there now enjoying herself to the full I expect. For my own part I have not made one visit out of this town since we came here owing in a great measure to want of inclination. Father enjoys very good health this summer unusually so. Our Quarterly Meeting divided the week before last. This is the first division of a Q. M. in Indiana Y. M. I suppose the example will be followed before a great while by others. Dost thou not intend to come out to attend my wedding the 2nd day of the 10th Mo next? Thou enquired when Baltimore Y. M. will be held. It commences the 2nd or 3rd week in 10 mo. I think but cannot be certain. I suppose thou wilt go to Baltimore for an excuse to pass through Pennsylvania. If I mistake thy motive thou must pardon me.
There were 2 things in thy last I did not fully comprehend. One was thou saidst something about 'Miss Sarah the (school mistress)' The other about a receipt. Was it a receipt for love thou wast looking for? I hope thou wilt write soon and tell me everything relating to thyself take example and write closely like this is. I believe it is time for me to bid adieu for the present
with wishing thee success health and happiness
I subscribe myself
thy friend M S
I want to hear thy mind very soon do gratify me. M.
Skaneateles 2nd 9 Mo 1828
My Dear and esteemed Friend,
It is a happiness that thou wrote to me, and if my (present) address should be unavailing, I hope thou wilt correspond with me [*] when I was in Abington I was much pleased with thy behaviour, and, indeed, everything I saw seemed to give a zest, a charm so that my thoughts often wander back to that spot, whose hearts I wish to gain, whose affections I wish to win and become a mirror in their imaginations that will continue though life, to cherish the residence of their [life's?] pilgrimage her, with esteem that is already gained - and to continue through life a beacon to light their path and a wonder to defend. Lockett's love of riches does not seemingly diminish with his declining health altho' he is failing fast yet the bait once drawn in is hard to eradicate. Inspiration and reason show us the fallacy of human wishes in that respect, yet there is no certainty in our calculations however, as all Empires, kingdoms etc etc Altho' we may despise the love of riches, yet the allurement of gain is increasingly great, while every day occasions call aloud for money.
* as I do not consider thy letter irrelevant, but entirely to the point, and if I could become worthy of thy distinguished notice, I should think myself happy.
Go little letter find thy way travel on
Until thou reach the only one
And there my thoughts and passions tell
Go little letter find thy way
To her who in my breast would dwell
Who only in my breast does dwell
Within thy breast to whom I pray
And their my thought and secrets tell.
The first on earth I love so well.
Tune thou thy theme of residence
The heart's residue of recompense
And there compose thy residence
That fate has left of bliss below
The heart's residue of recompense
That can give or earth bestow
The only fate of bliss below
That earth can give or heart bestow
That heaven destroys or man can know
[That heaven] doth give or earth doth know
And when thou hast thus wandered free o'er
The broad space/heart from shore to shore
return again and tell/to me know
What is my fate of bliss below.
Go little letter tread thy way/travel on
Until thou reach the only/destined one
And their my thoughts and secrets say/tell
That only she I/look upon loved so well.
To Nancy Eliza
My Dear esteemed Friend,
Pardon me, if I take the liberty, which the effects of the moment and my sanguine ardent passion propels me to.
When I was in B- I was much struck with the appearance of thy eldest which still continues (to haunt my imagination night and day) and induces me to make this application to thee, to know if I can be permitted to write to her? as I do not wish to do so without thy permission. As it may not be irrelevant I will give thee some description of myself
When I was in B- I was unwell, or should have made known my views to thee then; however, if thou wilt write to me, I will endeavour to conform to thy decision whatever it may be and
P. S. as it may not be uninteresting to hear what is going on in this part of the country, I will endeavour to give thee some description of what is taking place here amongst your society.
They are fighting, which shall have the supremacy, a kind of tongue fight. One party are held up as Deists, perjurers of youth, and all evil. The other as nonconformists, conspicuous idolators, and an outward conformity to the rules of others, so thou mayst perceive what is going on here. I have given up going to either, and am detached from the whole. Thou mayst think it strange that I go to no place of worship, not but what I admire individuals in both societies, but their apparent anomalies confuses me, and makes me dissent to either.
I am pleased with the view I have in writing to thee, hoping thou wilt concede to my wishes, and whatever thy determination is let me have it quickly.
Thou wast good enough, when in B-, to tell me to keep quiet, respecting both parties, which I have so far done, and hope to be governed by thy decision in a further rule.
To Susan C-
Thine of 27th of last month I have lately received, and it has given me much feeling pleasure to know thou wilt correspond with me as a friend. I will use the same liberty with thee without any disguise and unbosom myself. When I first opened thy letter I thought it would be more explicit but as it is I shall have to wait until thou chooses to develop thy sentiments.
I am about going to Canada, to the upper province, to York, to try to obtain a lot of land. When I return I shall be (pleased to receive) rejoiced to find a letter in the - office from thee.
I have been thinking lately of going home. I have not been there now for near ten years when I left I was quite young. My parents are both living. I have two brothers and a sister. We are all unmarried. I am the youngest. Thou wouldst be much pleased with England, from its classick scene, and persons undertakings, it has arose to the first nation, and like an alchymy it has converted its refuse into gold. But I would not go there if I could think thou wouldst consent to acquiesce in my wishes, as I should be unemployed which I was there, and after I had left the same inclination would remain to see them again, therefore I would not go if I could gain thy admiration. Thou asks which walked with James M. than took a turn in the garden with him, while I and thy sister returned to the house, so thou art sufficiently identified or like an Irishman I should have made a considerable blunder.
I should be base indeed to use flattery to thee, or indulge in fulsome praise; but in this instance I am exempt (from what I heard from thee, and thy peculiar manner, made thy character near to me, and thy person interesting) do therefore exculpate me from all charge.
I will conclude by giving thee a quotation from Cicero in his oration for Archias the poet etc.
Doct Henry Gent
Alex'a 1 Mo 26th 1829
I received a few weeks ago a letter thou wrote to me when thou wast in Baltimore last summer and within a few days thy last which came as far as Washington by the hands of Lydia Mott's niece. For both I thank thee. I acknowledge that I have neglected thee but in this respect thou dost not stand alone among my correspondents - of these I have a considerable number and a very small portion of time which I can properly devote to their gratification. But I would write to thee if I had no other motive than respect for thy warm attachment to me. I will first tell thee of some changes that have taken place in our family since thou heard from us last. My sister Elizabeth is married to Joseph Bond of Waterford, a Tanner and Carrier, and my brother Robinson to a young woman of Lynchburg Va. Robinson has not yet gone into business for himself but expects to do so in the Spring. The rest of us remain pretty much as we were when thou knewest us except the difference made in us by the lapse in time.
Our last Yearly Meeting in Baltimore was an eventful one. Except for the opposition of that part which claims the title of orthodox and which constituted a very small minority of the meeting we got along with our business with great harmony. To give thee some idea of the proceedings I send with this a copy of the printed Extracts from the minutes. At the end of the 4th day of our deliberations two of the leading members of the orthodox party made a proposition that since it was obvious our meeting had separated itself from the ancient Society of Friends, all those who were in favour of holding Baltimore Y. M. on its original foundation should meet the next morning at another place. This was done without producing any disturbance in the men's meeting or any of consequence in the meeting of women. The next morning they met in a school house and numbered not more than 150 of all classes and ages, citizens and strangers. The highest number fairly estimated that I heard of is 136, but I say 150 to be sure I give them enough. They included the sittings in which they remained with us, as a part of the Y. M. and yet denied that the sittings held by us after they separated themselves, were any portion of it. How they can reconcile this view with rationality is beyond my ken for of us there were somewhere about a thousand. I apprehend the proportion of orthodox to friends throughout our Y. M. is not more than one to twenty. Thy poor old countryman Geo Jones could not feel easy to stay with us as long as the others did. I think it was the evening of the second day on which he made a farewell speech and abruptly departed. This speech I took down in shorthand and it is a rare specimen of weakness. Suppose I fill the balance of my sheet with an anecdote of this same G. Jones and a stranger. It occurred on board of one of the steamers as Geo and Ann were going to N. Y. Yearly Meeting last spring and I doubt whether the news of it has ever yet reached thee. Geo is an affable old man and seeing a gentleman who appeared sociable he commenced a conversation with him. From matters of less consequence they soon got to the subject of Religion. Geo remarked that there was an unhappy division existing in the Society of Friends. Ah! says the other and who is the cause of it. Elias Hicks replied Geo who is preaching up deistical and infidel doctrines. Pray sir said the other do you know Mr Hicks? I have a little knowledge of him replied Geo and that is all I want. Well! said the other 'I have known Mr Hicks for 40 years and he is one of the very best men upon God's earth!! but I am told there is a Mrs Jones who is going about the country preaching against him and scattering fire brands of dissension, and if I could have my way she would be put in the Penitentiary!! This he said without knowing to whom he was speaking. I shall be very glad to hear from thee when thou returnest to England particularly let me know how things go on in the religious world. I strongly suspect the English will have to combat Hicksiteism (as they call our opinions) in their own country.Father desires me to give his love to thee and to say he will always rejoice in thy welfare. I remain affectionately thy friend
Skaneateles, 27th 1 Mo 1829
My Dear Esteemed Friend,
It is with an interesting anxiety I wish to hear from thee, before I go from this country; but as I am written for, in the most interesting terms, by my Mother and Sister, I am willing thou shouldst know my anxiety to hear from thee, before I depart, for that advice which I know thou art capable to direct to my use. Probably, thou wilt not write to me in consequence of what I wrote to thee in my last letter; but if that theme is disagreeable to thee I will urge no more in that respect, but if an overture of that kind would be agreeable to thy wishes, nothing would be more pleasing to me, as I am informed there is no barrier to make an irresistible obstruction. Of the waves of time, or the precursors of others, I am unacquainted with, but nothing has seemed to me more pleasing, more flattering, and whatever thy views are, it has cast a charm around me that I cannot shake off.
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