The Pursuit of Gentility

 Gent Family Papers 1786-1840

from the marriage of John Gent & Sarah Booth

to the death of John Gent


Part Two


• [Paid



Paid March 4th]


Henry Gent Esq



North America


My dear brother

Though I sent you a long letter last week I write again with pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your long-expected and very welcome letter. I am very happy to find that you are settled and hope it is to your satisfaction though it would have been more pleasing to me to have seen you fixed in this country yet if it will contribute to your own comfort and welfare I must be content. I some time since gave you the particulars of the only letter we have yet had from Belisario I hope he will get forward with the business and settle it to the satisfaction of all parties. Probably it would have been as well had you given us a more particular account of the state of the affairs when you left the island and of the way in which we were to proceed with Belisario. I sincerely hope that you will take care of your health and are living with a family who will behave to you with kindness. The last letter I wrote to you was directed to Charlestown therefore I fear you will not get it unless you have given orders for them to be sent after you. My Mother has been spending a week with my Aunt Stonehewer and is not yet come home. My Aunt has had some of her friends with her most of the time since her daughter's death. This estate which was bought from Morris is not yet paid for. Mr Hollins with whom the business entirely rests is very dilatory and does not appear to wish to bring it to a close but I believe it would not be prudent to offend him and my father was ever troublesome to do business with. Nothing particular happens in our domestic affairs. I find home very dull and believe I have not been further from it than Congleton since you left. I suppose you will see the necessity of paying Mrs Grimaldi as soon as you find it convenient and when you write to her request her to inform me, we have heard nothing of her since Brian left town. Peter Greaves [?] is now a bankrupt, my father has befriended him a little in several things but I fear he wants the industry and perseverance which are necessary to obtain a livelihood. Mr Vaunet [?] of Knutsford lost his wife some time ago and is just married again to Miss Godburn [?] who lived with the Miss Hollins's. The family desire to be very kindly remembered. I wish you complete happiness and success and am dear Henry

Your very affectionate sister

Mary Gent


Spen Green March 3, 1819


Dear Henry,

We have just received yours in which you express a wish to hear more frequently from your friends which I consider rather absurd when you are aware you have acted quite the contrary and have been written to at every opportunity. Your neglect in not writing for nine months is altogether unpardonable as you must imagine both from prudent motives and the business in which you have been deputed to interest yourself is almost in omitting an act of depravity as you give no sufficient reason for your silence. The few words in your letter relative to the business in Tortola is quite as undecisive as the first mention of it and after entrusting a Man of whose character of course you must be well acquainted should be no plea for the mismanagement of the concern. And it now appears to me as it has from the commencement of your writing that it is not likely to turn out altogether satisfactory. But however should it benefit you I sincerely wish you may employ it to the best advantage and when once settled as you now appear to be to remain as it is neither attended with profit or credit to be changing your residence altogether. I am glad to hear your practice is favorable and that you are select in your most intimate acquaintance as I believe in that quarter they are not all Men either of Honour or refinement. Allow me to wish you to attend to your penmanship and mode of writing as it is not exactly professional. I won't trouble you with a long harangue about myself as I have neither means nor a fair opportunity to obtain what is quite respectable but will if anything offers give you an account more favourable. I am going to write to the parties in Tortola and as Mary is writing on the annexed side will give you the news from this place wishing you every comfort [?] and success in your practice.

remain dear Henry Your affectionate Brother

B. Gent


• [Congleton


New York Jun 8]


Henry Gent Esq M. D.


District Columbia

United States

North America




My Dearest Henry,

Though Brian and Mary have wrote to you so lately I hope a few lines from me will not be unacceptable. Mary has wrote lately to Mr King and we think it would be advisable for you to keep up a correspondence with him. this Spen Green estate is unsettled yet and I am sorry to say that your father is still unsteady. I am sincerely happy to find you are in a comfortable practice, I wish it may agree with your health and if it does [not] I hope you will come home when the Tortola Business is finished.

They say the Quakers are a very worthy people and I am glad to hear you like them so well. Brian left her a few days ago for Liverpool upon the receipt of a letter from a friend informing him there was a chance of a situation; he is not yet returned yet; as soon as anything takes place we will inform you. Mary has been very much indisposed but I hope she is getting much better. I hope you will not omit writing very frequently the last letter I wrote was to you about a year and a half since; I could wish to know whether you received that letter one does not know whose hands it might drop into. Mary has a mind to conclude this so I leave off for her. God grant you your health and bless you and believe me with every good wish your ever affectionate Mother

S. Gent


Spen Green April 23rd 1819


My dear brother,

Brian informs me that if he remains in Liverpool he intends writing to you frequently; he met with old Turner in the street who is mightily exasperated at not being paid for the things which he sent out to my brother John; though I know he is not disposed to be a friend it is not worthwhile to give him a pretence to be an enemy and I wish he had been paid before this time. I hope you have received several of my letters since the one dated October as I believe I have written to you regularly. You enquire about Craig; he has had a sum of money advanced for him and has engaged an old-established school in town near the Minories - it now depends entirely upon himself whether it answers or not; the old man who has given it up to him has made a fortune by it. I am sorry I can say nothing satisfactory about our relations for which reason I would rather say nothing at all. Allen Booth is I believe the greatest Black guard I know and there is not much pleasure in the company of any of the rest of that family. James Gent has been in town attending an institution for the cure of his eyes but has found no benefit of it. His wife is so low-spirited we almost fear she will go into a melancholy way. They desire me to name John to you - he went out in the ship Commun on the Halifax station. Should you hear any thing of him mention it. I sincerely hope we shall have the pleasure of meeting again before the best part of your days are over. Adieu dear Henry believe me to be

Your ever affectionate sister

M. Gent

You will think this a curious scrawl.


• [Paid 18 1/2 2/3







John Gent Esq

Smallwood Hall

Near Congleton



P. Packett

via new York


Alexandria 20th May 1819


My Dear Father,

The expense of moving lately to Alexandria, nor being able to collect yet what is owing to me, and having drawn on the West Indies, for what I made there but have received no account from them, when I left the West Indies the state of my health at that time was such as caused me very unexpected to remove here. Having been at an expense since Christmas, which was the time I came here, I have taken the liberty of drawing on you for Thirty pounds; in my present situation just beginning to obtain practice and not being able to obtain credit I deemed it a liberty that you would allow in preference to my being totally disgraced, for which I will repay you out of the two hundred pounds my Grand-father Booth left or do promise to pay you as soon as I am able with interest for which this will be a full acknowledgement. The bill would not answer except it was made payable in some mercantile town. I took the liberty of making it payable at the house of John Turner, Nile Street, Liverpool. If you will pay it, which I sincerely hope you will, or I shall be lost to all trust, write to him saying what you will do and you will have to send him the money in two months as it is drawn after you accept it. If you do not pay it by the day it becomes due it will be protested and returned to this country with a great expense. I most likely shall be put into jail, and will cause me to be detestable as it will involve others. Your writing to me as soon as possible to say what you will do will relieve this uneasiness that I do and shall labour under untill I hear from you.

As I said before I have not heard from the West Indies nor from home since I came here; when you write, which I expect you will as soon as you receive this, state what you hear from them - I have no wish to go there again being now comfortably fixed, but if my presence will be the means of causing the business to be sooner settled I will sacrifice my own prospects and will devote myself to go there for the purpose. You will see by the letters received whether there is occasion or not. If you accept this bill my credit will be raised very much, but may be assured I shall not abuse it. And if you ever intend doing anything more for me I would ask you to accept this draft.

The inhabitants of this country are all speculators which has caused a great number of banks. Produ[ce] and everything else is falling, it is expected by some that the land will [?] not pay their debts and the banks are […] after a continuance of war; no doubt a g[eneral] peace in England causes a deal of distr[ess]. The bill is dated on the 12th May and is made payable sixty days after sight; it will be sent to you for acceptance which I hope you will accept it and send the money to my Uncle by the day it is due; write me what I may depend on so soon as convenient.

remember me to all enquiring friends, give my love to my Mother, Mary, Brian and Joseph and accept the same from

Yours etc

Henry Gent


• [Via Liverpool

Paid 1/ 1 1/2

Sh 20 1/2

Norfolk Va

Nov 16]


Henry Gent Esq


District Columbia

United States


22nd August



My dear brother,

Your letter dated 17th June was received this week and gave us all sincere pleasure. I have not been at ease in my mind since I last wrote to you as my letter contained a refusal of the thirty pounds you solicited from my father but a short time before the bill came here for acceptance we received a letter from Mr Belisario informing us he had lately sent you two hundred dollars and as we considered that you did not expect money from the West Indies when you wrote for the thirty pounds I sincerely hope that the refusal of it was no disappointment to you and shall not be comfortable until I hear from you again.

In my last letter I gave you a melancholy account of the death of my Aunt John Booth. Martha is to remain at the house until May next and then intends either going into lodgings or living with Craig's. She is not fit to be left entirely to herself and I fear will meet with many difficulties in the world but she bears the death of her Mother better than I expected. Mr Hollins seems to be disposed to behave in a friendly manner to her; she and my Mother have been at Buxton for a short time. My Mother has been more rheumatic lately and wished to try if bathing would relieve her. She cannot judge at present whether it has been of use to her or not. I have been housekeeper during their absence and have been very busy. Mr Barley of Astbury was there at the same time but was rather an annoyance to them as he intruded upon them when they would have preferred having their time to themselves. You say you will write to Brian when you know his address in Liverpool. He went to Liverpool in the spring and said he had a situation in view but returned soon after and has been at home ever since. Mrs Shonall [?] at the Post-Office in Congleton tells me if you would send your letters by Liverpool instead of Falmouth the postage would not be so much and all her American letters come that way, but you are more able to judge in this matter than I am.

I believe our poor brother John directed some trifle to be sent to Grimaldi's. I take the liberty of reminding you of it as it may have escaped your memory when you send her remittance probably it may be inclosed.

Peter Greaves […]d these when he was in town … she spoke very respectfully of you and sent me a present of three silk handkerchiefs I suppose in return for a ham and a cheese we sent her. Mrs Huskisson has two children and Peter says they appear to live very comfortably. Mr Hall the surgeon in Congleton who married Ann Martin did not succeed in his practice as he expected and has begun in the silk business in partnership with one of George Reade's sons. William Reade's son George has commenced practising in Congleton. Mr Hollins patronises him as much as possible and of course will be of great use to him. I am sorry if you do not receive my letters regularly as I assure I am very punctual in writing and seldom experience a greater pleasure than in reading a letter from you. The family joins me in affectionate regards I am dear brother

Your truly affectionate sister

Mary Gent


Spen Green 22nd August 1819

• Tortola 25th September 1819


Dear Sir,

I will not delay, however painful the task or ill calculated to perform it, from my own sufferings, to give you a brief detail of the fatal effects of the most awful and destructive visitation which it pleased the Almighty to punish us with on Tuesday and Wednesday last.

Towards Evening on the 21st a very severe Gale commenced from the N. W. the wind varying a few points, about midnight it blew a perfect Hurricane and continued to increase in strength until one or two in the morning, when it shifted to the S. W. with unabated Violence. How shall I describe the scene at day light? to say generally that 7/8ths of the Houses in Town are levelled might do very well, were I writing to a Person who was a stranger to it, but as you cannot but feel deeply interested and know almost every building, I shall mention the present state of the principal Houses - beginning at Strachan's - Strachan's - not a vestige to be seen of the wood work. Lisles the eastern part blown down. Belisario's at Killining's (repurchased at Marshal's sale from Dr Van Beuren) the upper storey and Roof gone and all my new out offices - as to the latter description of Buildings, or small Houses about the Town, I shall not mention them again. I do not believe half a dozen are standing. Mrs Macnamara's (Clifton Hill) nothing but the walls remain and those injured. Patnelli's (Parsonage) swept clear off the Foundation. Morton's - down. Chorley's (where old Mr Lisle lived) down. ditto's (where Mr Dix kept store) swept into the sea. Carruther's - southern side unroofed. Joe Dennington's down, the upper storey serviceable. The President's one half down. Custom House very much injured requiring two new sides. Doctor Porter's entirely demolished. Dougan's store on the Wharf 2/3rds down, back store, entirely. House much injured - this has been my residence the last two years. Miss Molineux's (my former dwelling) down - from that to your house, great damage and Roofs down. Gent's one half the Roof of the dwelling House down and very much injured in other parts - no building standing in the yard, of course - the opposite shop scarcely a vestige remaining - the sea took it off. Heirs of Judge Robertson down. Cunningham's (late Wallace's) materially injured. Mr Down's store down - he lost all his Papers and Books the Billiard Room down Johnston, the Tailor, moved off the sills and partly unroof'd. Jenny Fleming down McCleverty's and Cotto Fraser's down. Allen's, since Dr Doty's and the Court House entirely demolished. Glover's east side down Frett's down. Hill's, east side unroof'd and the large stores in the yard as well as the New House on the sea side down. Mrs Sheen's and Mr Sheen's at bottom, down. Lawson's down - most of the free people's Houses opposite - down - almost every house from that spot to Patnelli's, excepting Mr French's, Mr Gordon's and Mr Isaac's, seriously injured. Mr Roberts's upper storey down. Patnelli's down. Lawson's small House, down. Nearly all of the small buildings from thence to Mr Crabb's, down. Chief Justice Crabb's very much injured. Wm Thomas's comprehending the whole of Manchester Square, i. e. Dr West's, Allen's - a House I sold him and another, down. The President's (above the Court House built by Parson Elms), not a stick remains.

I have no doubt I have omitted much, as to the country as far as I have learnt there are not four sets of works standing nor as many dwelling Houses - and I am assured there is not a Negro House in the whole Island remaining. No prospect of a crop, had the planters the means of taking it off, the Canes stumped out and every description of Provisions destroyed. To close this Scene of devastation I have still a woeful duty to perform! You will read with Anguish of the number who lost their lives during the Tempest or in consequence of it. The number of whites supposed to be 20, among whom I have to notice four, killed on the spot, you will regret: Mrs Hetherington, The Hon'ble Andrew Anderson and the Hon'ble Abraham C. Hill Members of Council, and Mrs Doty (late Miss Fanny Robertson) - the number of Free persons and slaves killed is calculated at nearly 100. The streets from one end of the Town to the other are still cover'd with Ruins, One House absolutely moved into the centre and obliging the Passengers to go through it.

I will now say a few words respecting myself. My large store and wharf are unhurt, as are also the two Houses, I have opposite Morton's. I have saved all my Papers, Account Books and Library, but have lost nearly 30 small Buildings, including the out offices on my different lots besides some goods I removed two days previously, still I deem myself very fortunate, compared with others, as I have no limb broken, nor has my health suffered.

How your house stood I cannot conjecture! as besides being out of Refuge one side of the Judges fell against it. I shall consult the executors on what is proper to be done and inform you; I cannot enter into minutiae of your Brother's estate as my books and papers are stowed away in great confusion, with articles of every description which I deposited in the same place considering it (as it turned out) secure. Without book I think the most that can be effected from the collection will be to pay off the last two instalments for the house. As soon as I get clear of the ruins about me and am enabled to attend to business I will write you again, which I hope will be in a few weeks.

I am very truly

Dear Sir

Your most obedient servant

A. M. Belisario


Dr Henry Gent


• [Water mark 1815]


The Flower of Spen Green


The rose-bud in summer was never so pleasing,

Nor all the gay flowers that deck yonder grove:

As the flower of Spen Green, with smiles so bewitching,

And Innocence mingles with sweetness and love.


O here let me meet her, that oft I may greet her,

And wander where Mary adds charm to each scene;

O here let me meet her, that oft I may greet her

And pass all my life near the flower of Spen Green.


Where I first saw this Flower 'twas sweetly inhaling

Those Breezes which Zephyr so kindly bestows;

It was there I exchang'd a glance so endearing,

Th'impression I hallow from so sweet a rose.


O here etc.


No Riches nor Titles, nor Grandeur your pleasure,

Where love, Youth and beauty do ne'er grace the scene

How happy the youth who shall gain this sweet treasure

When all are combin'd in the flower of Spen Green.


O here etc.


My dear Cousin,

I beg leave to present you with the following lines in compliment to the many good qualities you possess and am with every sentiment of Love and esteem, dear Mary

Your affectionate Cousin

J. Craig


Miss Mary Gent

Spen Green

• 1820 Thomas Hulme of the first part, Robert and Thomas Thornley, and the executors of Doctor Howard of the second part, James Gent of the third part, William Hollins of the fourth part and Isaac Whittaker of Great Warford of the fifth part: assignment to Whittaker of £500.

• 1820 To Henry Gent Dr

August 29th To Medical Attendance and Medicines from date untill September 1820



Please to pay the above to John Mayor whose receipt will be good for your Obedient Servant

H. Gent

• Dr Henry Gent


D. C.


Washington 15 Decr 1820


Dear friend,

Your favor of 22 Oct was red in due time, and in reply thereto am quite at a loss to understand some passages therein, for instance where you say 'I will try and answer yours and not suspect you write to please the humour of another' Untill I red this I was under the impression, my letters were to you, what yours is to me, a source of pleasure, but unfortunately for me, I have not studdied books as much as men, on that account, my rough epistles does not teem with that erudition, which is to you an intilectual banquet. You will know my education has been far very far, from clasical, and my opportunities for improvement, being very limited to this period. Another passage in yours I will quote, it not being fairly understood, that is 'Our associating together ought to give that knowledge of each other as not to decieve but candour like honesty is the best policy'. If I have deceived you at any time or times it proceeded from the head and not the heart, it ever was and is now very foreign from my intentions to act towards you otherwise than perfectly honourable and should I have in your opinion acted the reverse, I must beg leave to request you to name the circumstance minutely, that I may make you amends commensurate to the injury. Should I have mistaken your meaning in the two foregoing passages - pardon my surmises.

When Mr Whitelegg was with us he mentioned your having changed your quarters and mode of living, and also he should join you if he lived with C. again; the arrangement I think a very good one, your all being Country men there will naturally a coincidence in sentiment and friendship manifested, between you, which would not be evinced among strangers towards each other, and another benefit resulting to yourself, that you can always be informed of a call from your patients without loss of time, which certainly will increase your practice. I hope the wound on Cagenar's [?] servant is perfectly cured, and to the satisfaction of all concerned, and that it may be the means of introducing you to the wealthy of your place (make him pay well). I was this week near South River, and from thence round the Bay to the Paturent where by chance I fell in with a Miss McPherson, one of the most interesting females I ever saw, a perfect beauty, and charming disposition, and quite intelligent, and in addition to all as far as I could see quite artless, which is the Magnum Bonum in a female that's handsome, and should I visit that neighbourhood again, I certainly will pay my respects to her. The circumstances of my meeting her is somewhat strange. I was lost, it being after night, and had to beg lodgings from her Grandfather, who owned the farm on which I was, and who like a genuine man, gave me of what he had cheerfully, which was luxurious, and when I made my name known, how was I surprised to find myself with a distant relative, then his kindness became almost burthensome. You may well suppose I tarried with them joyfully. How very inscrutable are the ways of a just Providence, how mysterious, to our dark understandings. When I was lost and wandering about I was ready to repine, when behold the doors of plenty and hospitality were thrown open for me to enter and partake thereof, which I did and I hope with thankfulness. I fear I shall tire you, with my long unmeaning epistle, but give me one of same length and I shall be well compensated for my trouble; write me soon and give me a full statement etc. My best respects to our Mutual fd s[…] J Whitely [?] and Remain Yr fa Servant

M. Prout

• [Congleton 162

Chals'n SC




Via Liverpool



Henry Gent Esq


District Columbia

United States


Spen Green March 1821


My dear brother

As your last letter is dated nearly five months back we begin to feel more than usually anxious to hear from you again and I cannot but believe you have neglected several opportunities of writing however when we do not hear from you so often as we could wish I never delay writing to you as I know it is impossible to judge at this distance what may be the cause. Your last letter rather puzzled me to understand. I do not feel competent to judge on religious matters and believe it is does not signify to what sect we belong provided we do our duty with a good heart and according to the dictates of conscience nor can I agree with you in entirely neglecting worldly affairs as the most enlightened and sensible people generally endeavour to distinguish themselves in whatever situation they happen to be placed and think it their duty as well to conform to the law and customs of this world as to prepare for a better. Brian wrote to you about Christmas, he shortly after went to London as one of his friends then [there?] had procured him a situation. We have heard from him once since he went and he appears to be very well satisfied with it he likewise wrote to Mr Belisario at the same time but he has not answered the letter nor have we heard from him at all of eighteen months when he gave us the account of the hurricane as Mr B does not give himself the trouble of writing to us it is very natural that we should wish to hear something of that business from you and I hope your letter will contain something satisfactory about it. My poor brother John has now been dead four years and a half and in his lifetime he took great pains to save the money and to secure it to the family, but I am sorry to say we have had no comfort of it at present however I know you will exert yourself to bring the business to a close as soon as possible and as you well know we have occasion for whatever there is to receive it is pity it should be lost for want of proper attention. Our neighbour Bennet has sold his stock and furniture I fear through necessity and has let his farm to one of Goodall's sons he has been wishing to sell it some time but cannot get a purchaser. I believe all our relations are going on partly [?] as usual. My Mother is very rheumatic and has been poorly all winter and I have been so unwell myself that I have been at church but twice since last October. I sincerely hope that you continue well and that we shall hear from you soon. The family present their sincere regards. I am dear brother

Your very affectionate sister

Mary Gent


• [Ship

Congleton 162


Jul 18


Paid 1/ 1 1/2


Via Liverpool



Henry Gent Esq


District Columbia

United States


Spen Green 28th April 1821


My dear brother

We received your letter of 15th February with great pleasure as we had been anxiously expecting one for some time and you know were it possible to hear from every week it would be a great satisfaction to us. I am happy to say that Brian went to town about Christmas and soon after wrote to say that he was tolerably comfortably situated in the printing business but we have not since heard from him he sends us a Newspaper every week and for that reason thinks it unnecessary to write often. You say something of Brian coming out to settle the affairs in Tortola which proposal you certainly do not expect him to accept the passage to the West Indies and back would cost a considerable sum much greater than my father is willing to advance for Brian and if the privileges arising from the collections in Tortola are not sufficient to induce you to attend to them how should they repay Brian and the family for going out from England and you know he is ignorant of the nature of business in the West Indies but I believe he never entertained a serious thought on the subject. I intend writing to Belisario by this post but do not know whether he will attend to my letter as he has not thought it necessary to write to us of eighteen months I cannot help imagining that he is either dead or has left the Island or he would certainly give us some information about the business. I am truly sorry to hear you complain of your unfavourable success in Alexandria and had great hopes that a professional man would have found America a beneficial country to live in but sincerely hope you will in time be situated more advantageously and think if you are so very unsuccessful it is a waste of time to remain where you are but you are able to judge what prospect you would have in England or elsewhere and I think there is no doubt but you will be able to make a respectable livelihood anywhere if you have your health and if your exertions in Tortola would bring that business to a close. I must believe that you would still do all in your power to do it. The times are very bad here just now farmers' produce has not been known so low of thirty years as our income is chiefly in land you will be aware that we must feel it considerably. Riley has been lowered thirty pounds per annum since he first took Middlehulme and I suppose we would have made £40 a year more of Spen Green six or seven years ago. I am sorry to say that Morris is not yet paid for this place though I expect it will now be settled in a short time. My father has been under the necessity of selling the small farm here which he owned before he made the purchase from Morris a part of it he sold to Thomas Leadbeater two years ago and the other part he has now sold to Proudhom's [?] family except one field which lies next up to the house and which he does not intend to part with. As my father was disappointed of having the money from Tortola he was absolutely obliged to sell the small farm in order to pay the money for the other purchase and has likewise hired a thousand pounds to make up the purchase money as the £1000 which was left by my grandfather Booth to my Mother and me could not be called in to the satisfaction of all parties. My Aunt Gent's sister Mrs Brown is going to embark in a few days for new York in hopes of finding her husband who I believe I told you left London in a clandestine manner some time ago and told his wife he was in America if she chose to follow him she is gone much against the consent of all her friends. Allen Booth is now at home and is become a wonderful farmer his debts amount to five hundred pounds and I suppose they will never attempt to pay anything. I sincerely hope we shall hear from you as frequently as possible and have a good account of your health and welfare. Do not imagine that we are insensible to the difficulties you have experienced since you left England. I assure you that we have all experienced the greatest anxiety on your account and I wish it was in my power to serve you essentially [?] The family are tolerably well and present sincere love to you I am dear Henry

Your truly affectionate sister

Mary Gent

• Messrs French and King

Virgin Islands




As it is necessary for me to return to obtain and attend to my professional duties for a support I beg you to take the collection and settling of the business of my late Brother's estate upon yourselves. Mr Fraser is willing to collect all monies due to the estate of my late Brother if you think proper to employ him allowing him five per cent for his services for all monies received by him.

As Mr Belisario has not given up the books papers etc I beg you to obtain them from him and give him a receipt for the same. All monies received transmit to my Father at Smallwood, near Congleton, Cheshire, England, for which you will much oblige

Your Obedient Servant

H. Gent


Tortola 22nd September 1821


P. S. The House I would wish you to sell immediately for as much as it will fetch; the rents owing by Dr Ross and Mrs Shannon they are willing to give their notes without interest; as I am totally unacquainted with business I will thank you to attend to it.


• William Stabler


District Columbia

U. S.




Cayuga County

New York


24th 11 Mo 1821


Dear William

Not having settled at any fixed place has caused the delay in not answering thy letter sooner; but may now remain here during the winter, and if the severest weather is not found too cold, may continue here altogether if it seems to justify a permanent advantage. After staying seven days in New York to receive a letter from Rd H. Litle a paper saying the mail had been robbed was put in the P. office window. Should he have wrote, Joseph Caroll from Ireland, a partner of the house Stephen Guttacre [?] is connected with, promised to forward all letters as soon as he should know where to send them. In New York the places of amusement visited, which it is said give the tone to what is followed, neglect such as gardens that show what might be said a vocabulary of plants as not modish, and such as have become obsolete amongst friends are in fashion, but for all that William thy Father's name at a distance with friends (insertion: love is of such an influence as doth pervade through all) is as passable to appearance as gold and not so easily spent; excuse this mention and may it be an excitement to make our own as eminently pure, also the richest legacy we can bequeath our successors, and are universal treasure. To a good name there is a secret charm, an unbounded desire, an elevated regard, for beyond what riches give, and worldly greatness can receive, does not money make a monster, does not goodness give a &emdash;, likewise the richest legacy we can bequeath to our successors and one universal benefit wanting. With travelling through this part of this neighbourhood in stage coaches, in farmers' waggons, on horseback, and a great deal on foot, the West Indies tenderness may be in a great measure worn away, and after drinking of the water and feeding on the food, do guess, thou wilt calculate me to be of the same nature enough to give a vote of the semblance this part of the state bears, and with these pretentions thou canst judge with what correctness such things give without experience. Mankind deprived of their own liberty except those in the state's prison are few. The state's gaol is built in this village. The land is good yielding most things consumed by the inhabitants, except teas, silks and coffee. The girls look pretty with that kind of eye and heel that denotes a mixed growth of foreign import, collected from many sources. An effervescence may be taking place and in one family (not members) finery seems to have evaporated its many colours having passed away, and left them clad in garments of their own creating, which doubly showed their charms, with not wantoning in another's woe nor adding to the misery foreign manufacturers make, though neat in its simplicity. Towns are built here within a few years. Lakes are interspersed through this part of the state, plenty is to all who labour, or seems so. Yet midnight intervenes, so avaricious are the ways of men, distrust, anxiety, interpose throughout. Thou mentions J. Plummer's death, which was once so fair, now is not, and bows the mind to grief.

But if such scenes as this afflict the mind

It will refine it to a nobler theme

Forsaking all that leaves a care behind

Will force the mind to one effulgent gleam.

The clouds do fleet, the seasons change, and every scene is fickle, not remorse, age alone doth leave a prickle, even a child's play shows there is no method in amusement. I have not yet sent my Mother a letter, so excuse this being so short. I am determined even yet about staying here, tho' two of the Physicians are become unpopular.

Thine etc.

H. Gent


¶ Founder Edward Stabler's son, Dr. Richard Hartshorne Stabler, married Jane Janney. Dr. R.H. Stabler [1820-1878] is also the son of Edward Stabler and his second wife, Mary Hartshorne Stabler. Dr. R.H. Stabler would be William Stabler's younger half-brother. [Sarah Becker]

A Memoir of the Life of Edward Stabler. Stabler, William. Philadelphia, PA John Richards 1846

The History of Auburn. Hall Henry. Dennis Bro s & Co. 1869 in poor condition with missing spine label, very weak hinges, wear on boards. Pages are intact and unmarked. hardback with no DJ.

• James Russell


Prince William City





Cayuga County

New York

9th 12th Mo 1821


Esteemed Friend,

Conceiving from the intimacy that has existed, a letter will not be unexceptionable, as it will be attended only with the trouble of reading it, and free of all expense in postage, which often is most calculated upon: but free from heaving such a burden now, do please myself with posing the way that time is passed away in this neighbourhood. This village is said to contain from three to four thousand inhabitants chiefly made up of mechanics and state prisoners. The Doctors too are numerous, some of them have gained great reproach for cutting up a corpse who died in a drunken fit but prejudice has put it in report they poisoned him. His death and dissectation came on so suddenly at the premises of a practising physician who paid no regard to persons having a written agreement in his possession stating the purchase of his earthly portion and prayed them not to interfere with his lawful property, but party spirit now is put in play and has presented him to appear before the presiding court of the counties peace. Farmers of the surrounding country are said to be beyond the bounds of independence possessing more than what is pleasant to enjoy and bears the mind to bow to its pursuits. Engulfed in its ammassment they lose the luzil [?] of another's love and lead the life of loneliness depressing all the pleasing hope of wakening to their memory the kind desires of another's gratitude for acts they may ever have accomplished and left the w[…] that leaves their life a tetria [?] preferring by their conduct the returns of avaricious glee the freedom of a prey that bears upon their peace and leaves them bleeding at its blightening source losing its hope in every act and leaves a mind deception; nevertheless to farm near hear would meet an agriculturist's views. This is wrote for want of something better, let inability lug its own excuse and be the base of something that would please.

Etc. Etc. H. Gent


• Henry Gent M. D.


Cayuga County

New York


Alexandria 1 Mo 26th 1822


Dear Friend,

Thy letter of 11 Mo 26th came to hand giving information that thou hadst left the City of New York and removed to Auburn. I was not in a hurry to write because I knew a letter would be likely to find thee at Auburn any time this winter. We have had some pretty cold weather here but I suppose not so cold as it has been in the State of New York. Yesterday morning a little after sunrise our thermometer stood at 6º above zero: on the 7th day some weeks ago it stood in the same situation at 7º. The day before which was an excessively cold day, the wind blowing violently from N. W. Father and my brother Thomas started on a visit to Bengal where my brother Robinson is sighted my two elder sisters living with him. I believe I mentioned in my last where Bengal is, if not I can now say it is about 3 1/2 miles from Cousin James's store on the road to Baltimore. We have not yet had a snow to lie 24 hours, several have fallen but they have been small, and followed by wet weather. Our river was early frozen over and remained so until a few days ago after a warm spell of weather which ended in rain; the ice broke away but in one night it formed again and is now I believe as firm as ever. Two of our New England captains have fitted up an ice boat, a thing we never saw before at this place. I have not seen it but they say it sails in the ice with great velocity and possesses the advantage over other vessels it makes no lee way. I took a letter for thee out of the P. O. some time ago which I send enclosed and hope it may be worth the postage. Affairs seem to be going on in the same old way among us. Marriages are talked of and some are taking place, one occurred a few days ago which has excited some remarks. Joseph Janney (John's brother) went off to Annapolis with his his former wife's sister Hannah Hopkins who lived with him and married her. Hannah Drinker will probably be married in the course of a week or two to William Smith a young Irishman who formerly lived with Hugh Smith of this place and now resides in Richmond. Some of us suspect that Samuel is about to take to himself a wife, but I believe Samuel Peach is free from suspicion in that respect. Hetty Sinclair paid a visit to Alexandria a few weeks ago but I did not understand that Samuel paid her any particular attention. Our worthy little friend B. W. Powell is still living with Richard H. Litle, he spends a first day evening with us once in a while. Thomas M. Bond continues with us, he retains his fondness for composition and between essays for the Budget Society and letters to his friends he has something constantly in hand I believe.

William Lanphier with whom I do not know thou hadst much acquaintance but who is one of the worthiest men I know, calls frequently at our shop and spends an hour or two in social converse much to our gratification and often much to our instruction. He seems to be fonder of the company of young men than most of his age I am acquainted with. At the time that my cousin Edward lived with us William Lanphier would call and sit hours with us when we were not more than 17 years of age, he would amuse and instruct us, but if we manifested [thoughts?] of improper principles, he would endeavour to represent to us the danger of cultivating them. My own family (except a servant),father's and our friends generally are well; With respect

I remain thy friend

Wm Stabler

• I have lately been to see the Anondagua tribe of Indian. A stream runs through the centre of their land, which is rich, level and (beautiful) picturesque. Above this level it appears broken, but after ascending a short (way) space, we come to another level of open fine land and so on which rises by tiers in succession one after another the whole having the appearance of nature's amphitheatre.

• 1822 Joseph Whittaker etc assignment of mortgage of £500 to Miss Mary Gent

• Doctor Henery Gent


N. Y.

(in care of H. Lion)


Poughkeepsie 2nd Mo 13th 1823


Dear Doctor,

In health I embrace this opportunity of dropping a line to a friend but, business prevents me from wrighting a long letter. I enjoy myself very well this winter although I have not much opportunity for reading. yet my mind is not unemploy'd and I hope to my advantage. It seems much pleasanter being near my friends and relations. I had a very pleasant time at a wedding of my sister's this winter, and it would of been indeed very pleasant of thou coulds of been there but distance separates those friendships that I believe essintial to happiness here below. The society in this place is very limited; I spend my leisure hours mostly alone which I suppose is best for young minds. I should not th[…] strange if I shall take an excursion to the west next Spring as far as Auburn or beyond if nothing should happen to attend the yearly meeting in the spring. I shall be very much pleased to have thee and some more of the western Friends to accompany me from here and perhaps thou might find a situation in Duchess County that would be advantageous to thy profession. Poughkeepsie is certainly a very pleasant village and is as healthy perhaps as any in the state. there is a great deal of business done here but the competition is so great, it requires very hard work for those who do it, and it requires a good look-out to keep strictly honest, but may this and being honest with ourselves be our lot which will lead us through this transitory scene with comfort to ourselves and in the exaltation of our minds we shall be enabled to repay the source from where all good proceeds. Do write soon the state of affairs in that part of the country, and be assured thy letters are very acceptable. I believe Aaron's friends are all well. I expect Solomon will write.


Stephen Moore Junior.

¶ I was surprised to discover the photograph of Stephen Moore in a website about the history of Poughkeepsie.

• To

Henry Gent Esquire M. D.



County New York

U. S. A.


[20/- Ship

New York




Liverpool 12th June, 1823


Dear Gent

Your letter under date the 1st December last only reached me a few days ago by the ship Amethyst from Boston, otherwise I should have replied to it sooner. I left America on the 15th Oct. and arrived here on the 5th Nov. only twenty-one days passage - the reason of my leaving America so soon was in consequence of the failure of the great banking house Messrs Thomas Worswick Sons and Co of Lancaster, who were my merchants in this country - and as I have arranged matters with them as far as I can it is my intention of going out to Tortola in about ten days time via St Thomas. I shall as you direct me give your address to Mark French say B[?] and mention to them what you say.

A few days ago I was spending some days with a friend between Warrington and Congleton, and I met an old gentleman by the name of Ephraim Meyer who enquired very particularly after you. He goes very often to Congleton and is very intimate with your family. I told him I believed you were in America, or the West Indies, that I had written you when I was in the former place, but had received no answer to my letter. However, I shall see him again in a few days when I shall inform him that I had heard from you and that you were well.

All the news that I can collect from Tortola are, that the County is going fast into decay, which will be hastened by the Bill in Parliament to emancipate all negroes in the British West Indies, and this Bill they say is sure to pass, but nothing definitive can be done for a year or two.

[……] and the death of R. Isaacs W. Alston (who was to have been married to Miss Eliza Ann Doan) W. Raleigh, John Robertson and Hanley, Mr Pickering is at present in Tortola, he is there for the purpose of removing 300 negroes from his estates to Trinidad where he has purchased two very fine properties, - in which Island they say will give three Hogsheads Sugar to Negro, the soil being so very rich and the weather so seasonable, but not so healthy as Tortola. My brother has got the attorneyships of Martin's and Robertson's estates besides Miss Threlfall's, in these hard times people ought to take whatever they can get. I dare say you recollect F. Ingram the late Collector of Tortola, he's now in this town, we are together every day, he intends going out with me to pay a visit to Abraham M[…] Belisario Esq. Notary Public M[…] to know what is become of […]700$ which is owing him by that Gentleman. The fact is, Belisario whenever he lays hold of money he can't part with it without being forced. Mrs Murphy is at last married to Mr Berg a St Thomas lawyer. Ann Eliza Robertson is going to be married to Wm Greenwood of St Croix, a partner of Burrows and Nottage Lancaster, which is a very good match for her. Liverpool is improved amazingly you would be astonished to see it. Ingram has just called on me to promenade with him, he begs to be remembered to you, but before I close this letter I must say that I shall be glad to hear from you when in Tortola and give me an account of that part of the country you are in, the cheapness of houses house furnished - furniture suitable etc etc etc

I remain

dear Gent

Very truly yours

Dan. V. Donovan


There are plenty of vessels from New York and Boston for St Thomas by which you can write and direct to me to the care of Mark Anthony Ffrench Esquire St Thomas

• Dr Henry Gent

Auburn, N. Y.

(To the care of Jas P. Martin)


May 22

N. Y.

Syracuse May 21st



Syracuse Friday evening May 21st 1824


Dear Sir,

At your request, although a considerable length of time has elapsed since I made the agreement, I now commence a Letter to you. Conscious however of my utter inability to make a letter worth a sixpence in your eyes (which, you may recollect, you wished me to) I will proceed deliberately:- hoping and trusting, however, that your generosity will overlook all errors of the head or heart, as I am in a great hurry and have no leisure to correct or revise.

For your kind advice, and friendly disposition, which you have given and manifested towards me, I am sensible I have the greatest possible reasons to be thankful (for); and I hope, if you obtain no other satisfaction, you will have the pleasure of seeing your kindly admonitions acted and your precepts cherished.

There is nothing that swells the heart, (or mine at least) like true unbiased Friendship - and a firm supporter and feeling friend, such as I firmly believe and have ever believed since our first intimacy, yourself to be:- and whether, by my actions outwardly, I have reciprocated the sentiment, I leave you to be the Judge: but that I have done it inwardly I can say 'I have', with all my heart.

My situation here is a tolerably good one; I am, what I like to be when I have leisure, immersed in solitude and silence - it is at such times, and under such circumstances that I can enjoy myself the best. Then my thoughts can wander back to Friends whom I knew in days that are gone - in the years that are fled - and they wander also back to hours of Infancy - when my little sea of life was calm and smooth - when no boding tempest gathered - no clouds blackened in my early horrison - then all was serene and lovely - and my bark of life glided gaily on - no wave of affliction tossed it about - and no hurricane of passion, or blast of penury retarded its passing on in peace. But now, when I take a view of my present situation the scene appears to be entirely changed

'Black, low'ring clouds, obscure the Sky'

'…-And angry Tempests blow'.

Now I am away, from the scene of all my youthful sports and recreations, I am as it were, upon the wide world, which, as you may have had occasion to experience, is too often cold and unfeeling - but still while looking as far as possible, into Futurity's womb, I still hope for better days, and fix my thoughts with a steadfast earnestness and anxiety for hours that are yet to come. But this is Life's scene - it is nothing uncommon - it is the way of the world, to be in youth joyous and cheerful - when years roll on to enter into the spirit of trouble, and as it were to enjoy our sorrows - and should they pass away, then we look behind with a kind of pleasure, that sorrow as well as joy has been our lot - Prosperity as well as Adversity - for we must experience both to make us relish the best. When I look back through the long vista of departed years, and see the pleasure that I have enjoyed in the society of my parents and friends, in infancy and youth, when my golden hours rolled on in sweetness by, and the look at the aftertrice [?] of sorrow which I have acted [?] since leaving that peaceful abode, I feel happy, comparatively, in the thought that I have experienced both, although one, indeed, for the time being was not quite so pleasing. But, as I said before, we must have ADVERSITY before we can prize PROSPERITY.

As to the situation of the village, it is very handsome and there is a great deal of trading forwarding and commission business done in this miniature city - Buildings are going up every day - and Industry with her busy hum, resounds daily. I have a very fair view of the Canal from the Office window. Although dark, I can see the boats as they come down and pass along with their lanterns in front, which dazzles in the Big Ditch quite 'sublime'.

If I had a sixpence I would pay the postage to this, and then you would have nothing to complain of without it indeed it were the trouble of reading it. But if you will write me answer and pay the postage on it, I will be infinitely oblige, although it is not right for you to pay it but in fact my small change runs low.

My particular respects to Walter Fosgate - and Jas P. Martin at the Post Office.

Yours sincerely

Willis Clark

P. S. Tell J. P. Martin I shall write him soon - but not by Mail. WC.


The literary remains of the late Willis Gaylord Clark, including the ollapodiana papers, the spirit of life, etc. Clark, Willis G. Stringer & Townsend, NY, 1855, 4th edition. 8v0, brown cloth, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4 , 480pp.

Dr. Walter Fosgate, Hospital Surgeon of the Texas army at the Hospital at Victoria August 25, 1836, signed the following statement: "I have received of Mr. Wm. Bernbeck a few surgical instruments, one spring lancet, one thumb lancet with their cases, one Tourniquet, and saw, which articles are required for the hospital at the value of ten dollars, to be paid out of the Texas fund provided it meet the approbation of the General Commandant."

• Doctor Henry Gent

New York


Trenton, 12th Mo'th 1st 1824


Feeling myself peculiarly circumstanced I have at length concluded to take my pen in order to acknowledge the reception of a letter which thou wouldst reasonably suppose was cause of surprise - I suppose if some females had received such a one, they would have returned it, without much consideration upon it, but I think it not right for me to act rashly in any thing, believing it would tend to confusion for I am one who believes in the revealed Word of God in the heart, as being able to save the soul, and such things as the world would call trifling, even the smallest events of life I think right to bring to the witness of this Word, in the heart of every one who will seek it, and obey it, to see if it approves, or if its controversy is against them, fully believing, having found from little degree of experience that my present, as well as future safety, and happiness entirely on thus doing - and I think it best just to mention to thee while thou wast in our house, and at thy departure - believing thee to be one whose mind had been visited with the dayspring of light from on high - a sincere desire was raised in me that thou might be willing to walk in the light, which light is a portion of the spirit of God, whereby we may profit, for God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, and remember that 'as many as are led by the Spirit of God become the sons of God'. After recommending then to this, the word of his grace nigh in the heart, and in the mouth, ready to speak if all flesh will keep silence before it, as being able to save. I leave thee, subscribing myself thy wellwishing M. S. C. - before I close this I think I will just add - that it is my advice to thee, to pursue thy West India business, after the accomplishment of which we may possibly become further acquainted with each other, and I think I shall remain thy interested friend, M. S. C.

• Auburn

Cayuga County

New York


17th 1st Mo 1825


To Elizabeth Jan[n]ey

I received a letter from Sarah Cant[]y, the late Sarah Janney, informing me thou hadst received a letter from me, which thou treated with great contempt. Allow me to inform thee, Elizabeth, that when such kind of letters are so illiberally received it is usual to return them, which I hope thou wilt do.

I cannot suppose it was through any vain wish (any exalted idea) to expose me, nor to show that thou wast preferred before all others - even by an insignificant being - as though seems to say - by Sarah's representation. I am: but through an open insincerity of youth, if there is such a thing, which led thee into the error.

It was too cruel to sacrifice my confidence, and betray my letter, even without the formal surrender of my affections in thy favor. I attribute it to a forward inadvertency of youth, which differs widely from the real benevolence of thy natural disposition.

From the kind behaviour, the unremitted attention, the hospitable manner in which your family treated me, especially as a stranger, on first landing in this country, excites my gratitude, and engages my regard. (With such sentiments) I subscribe myself with every ardent wish for your welfare

and respectfully remain

Thy friend

P. S. The written part of these letters thou canst return, and enclose in a sheet of paper to me at Auburn etc

• Auburn


4 Mo 11th 1825


To Elizabeth Jan-y

I wrote to thee some time ago, acquainting thee with the unpleasant use I understood thou wast making of my letters, and begging thee to return them. Thou certainly, during the first of our acquaintance, gave me some encouragement to see thee, and if thy agreeable manner and favorable person have won me over this (degree of) fascination, thou canst hardly blame me for writing, for, from the first, thou wast the most agreeable to me, and if my letters were unfavourably received thou ought to restore them.

I believe now I shall never trouble thee, at least a considerable time must elapse before I write to thee again, without some visible change or sudden alteration takes place. Thou needs not, however, regret the delay or suffer a moment's uneasiness on account of having nothing of mine to show, and if my letters are not repliable thou arbitrarily usurps an authority congruent even if with thy former disposition, and like the Empire of Love thou wields dame nature's sceptre. I hardly ever knew what humility was before I had to plead to thee, though I have undergone almost every other distress yet I irrevocably retained those principles that avert the keenest conscience.

• [To Samuel Janney]



Cayuga County

4 Mo 30th 1825


Respected Friend,

am somewhat surprised thou shouldst have accused me of 'abrupt and unjustifiable language' etc. I am insensible of using any unjust or unwarrantable expression and if such have escaped me, I am convinced they were unfit for me to use, and unworthy thy respect, and serious notice. But I see no reason why I am so sensible for what I did say. Though I had used some warmth of expression, thou dost not make any allowance for have writting once before, and been defeated in my demand.

The keenness of thy remarks is somewhat obtunded. I am now suffering under troubles of another nature, which thou canst not avert or command, which makes the tartness of thy censure less sensibly felt. Had I never taken notice of what was imparted to me, this might have been now altogether forgotten (but then I should have been a coward). Sarah Canby did not make this a matter of communication, it was accidentally mentioned in a subject in answer to a letter of mine. And although we wounded the feelings of others, we are apt to forgive an injury, but we do not so easily forget a contempt.

Thy sister is totally unacquainted with my character if she supposes I would willingly offend: and if any word or expression has escaped me which gives her uneasiness, it was inoffensively done: I am sorry for it, I did not intend it. I have troubles enough without multiplying them upon myself by doing her wrong.

The will is unbounded, and, in the case of fancy the choice is not controlled. It is unnecessary to conceive a person who writes as thou dost, of the propriety of what I say, and in thy sister's case I early foresaw the futility of my passion, and desponded - which was one reason why I left Alexandria. Since then I have led a kind of banished life - an exile from my native country, and from Alexandria, where I first became acquainted and where the people were the most endearing to me. Though I have amused myself with the coquetries of other females to avert the gloom, yet the task was always arduous, and I repent the folly.

I wish thee to pardon me if I take notice of an incident which does not exactly come under my interference. Thou hast relinquished that language thy Father the most admired and which I presume thy most intimate acquaintance make use of, and changed the plain for the aggrandized. However, if thou hast the most talents to be the most useful that way pursue it. It is rather paradoxical in me to blame thee with what I am guilty of myself: though I do wrong I see no good reason why thou shouldst.

Memoirs of Samuel M Janney Late of Lincoln, Loudon County, Va. a Minister in the Religious Society of Friends. Janney, Samuel M. Philadelphia  Friends Book Association  1881  Hard cover  Good. No dust jacket. corners edges and spine ends bumped and worn; cover spots and rubs; frontispc and title p foxed some epp soiled, other pp yellowed but clean; 4 sq in gone top corner of bfep, name on fep; binding a little weak to center, else vg.  Unknown printing. 309 p. ; 

• [Middlewich




John Gent Esqre

Spen Green




In reply to your letter I have the satisfaction to announce that I sent up to London last week an instrument necessary previous to Letters of Administration being issued from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury by Mrs Wm Beckett to her late husband's effects which has been delayed some time on account of the expense. The matter is now however in a train for settlement and I assure you Mr Braband with whom I had conversation on the subject yesterday and myself shall be happy when you are put in possession of your money.

I am Sir

your most obedient Servant

Richard Vawdrey

Kinderton 7th June 1825


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