Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Description of John Grant’s honeymoon in London with Sarah Gertrude Day Grant in 1857?]
On Friday we visited the British Museum -- a most interesting place -- just across the street from our Lodgings -- Thurs The rain still continued -- In the P.M. we visited “[Hucks?] Houses of Parliament” and received admission to the Gallery of the House of Commons
Heard among others Lord John Russell, -- The Chancellor of Exchange Mr. Thomas & Dr. Mitchell -- saw Lord Palmerton Mr. De Israeli &c &c The session has been long and there [seem?] but few numbers in attendance. I was interested in their discussions -- especially that on the Canadian question. We returned home soon after 9 o’clock -- though the session continued much later
Saturday tho. [though] cloudy was not raining, and I commenced “doing” London in Earnest. Having obtained the preceding day a permit to visit the rooms of Parliament during Sat’s recess -- we first took Westminster Abbey which is near by. Of all that I saw and felt and thought which within those doubly consecrated walls, I cannot now speak. Time will fail me -- words even more. We then passed through Houses of Parliament -- saw every part of that vast -- still unfinished structure -- had interesting conversation with members and others, and much Edified left for a stroll through the Parks while my friend went home.
No one feature of London has pleased me so much as the Parks and Squares. They are settled throughout the city -- so far as I have seen it -- in great numbers -- and are very tasteful and beautiful. Leaving Westminster I entered at James’ Park -- passed Buckingham Palace into Green Park and on by the Equestrian Station by the Duke of Wellington into Hyde Park -- traversing the whole length of which (it contains 400 acres) I spent some time most delightfully in rambling through Kensington Gardens, in conversing with an intelligent Londoner who gave invaluable information -- I never behold a prettier spot than these Gardens But I cannot describe
On Tues -- 13th we visited the delightful Gardens of Kew and afterwards went to Richmond where Thomson [James Thomson author of The Seasons] the poet lived and died -- the views of the country from Richmond Hill are enchanting fine place surely to inspire such a poet -- visited the house where Thomson lived the arbor where he wrote saw his table which is standing in the arbor as he left it. Went also to his tomb in the old church. The rain prevented us from going to Hampton house &. We went by invitation on an excursion up the Thames to Walton -- The company consisted of 6 or 8 London merchants.
You will still address to Mr. Petire’s care at London -- as the continuant postage charged by the 1/4 ounce -- I believe.
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[fragment to Caroline Burr Grant]
a young man might not shrink from being so understood for himself & a woman to whom his feelings go forth, she would be more likely to have a shrinking from a manifestation of a love, which she knows she should keep at bay, only as she allows it to be turned towards a man, to whom she sees the way open to give her self as her earthly companion for life. -- Feelings like hers are in thousands of cases. Laid open before our heavenly Father, with the longing, heart felt prayer “Lord, what then have me to do?” And he hears & helps. In the felt presence of Jehovah, & a sense of his perfect knowledge of us & of his parental feelings towards us, our self will is subdued. We choose that God should be glorified in us & by us, & by all with whom we have to do. Choosing him for our portion, we choose to do his will, & are by grace enabled to say, Not any will, but thine be done.
How has A. [Abigail E. Grant Burr?] manifested her faith & love & new obedience? Has she, on the whole shown that it was her unwavering purpose to obey the precepts of our Savior? Has she accepted the eternal life that God has given us? That life is in his Son, as tho [Fountains?] & in us only as we are united to him by a living faith. I hope the dear child goes to him, & accepts salvation as a free gift: & look to him to guide her step by step. In every thing, by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving we are directed to make known our requests unto God. No other one earthly thing is of more importance to our well being, than that connected with what we do in reference to that first institution inaugurated in paradise by the Father of all, & making Adam & Eve one duality.
It is not always easy for children to see, that their parents desire & seek the highest good of their children: & that for their future well-being in this life, & the life to come, they are disposed, often, to make every effort & proper sacrifice. In opposing matrimonial alliances, that they regard injudicious or untimely, it is the good of the child, that they have in view. When I was a pupil of Rev. Joseph Emerson in 1820, I remember asking him whether in matters of love & marriage, persons should be influenced by the opinions of their friends? Whether this was not rather a matter of their own? He replied, A person that will not be influenced by friends ought not to have friends; or is not worthy of friends. And surely on this the most important subject next to securing their own salvation, that ever comes before a human being, the counsel of friends, is as important as it possibly can be. They care for the good of their friend, who by the making up of a tender emotion on the exercise of a strong passion, which they call love, is liable to be led contrary to sound judgment & discretion. Love will not be pure & lasting, unless it has good judgment for its basis -- The principles of a man are more to be relied on, together with his general character, to make his wife a happy woman, than any strength of a love before marriage. That is more liable to grow cold, than his warmer sense is to vanish.
Let this dear child be constantly held up in faith before God by her parents, & all to whom her well-being is so dear. Remind her when you write of the precept & premise James [1:5?]
[separate unpaginated sheet, perhaps a different letter]
after she came & has suffered less since than before, Mrs. P & the children have gained comfort by rest & they think a higher state of health. They all join me in love to you all.
You did well to mention your father & mother so definitely. My love to each of them particularly, & an assurance of my sympathy in their infirmities, & in their looking to Christ alone for deliverance from sin & suffering. A definite remembrance to Daniel, & sympathy in his state of difficulty in deciding what next to attempt. I send to him Prov. 3:6 & James 1:5. The Bible would not be complete without these precepts to be obeyed, & these promises to be believed & pleaded. Tell Marcus he is often present to my thots. [thoughts] & that I desire that God may be his inheritance. Truly yrs [yours],
Z.P. Bannister [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
New York. Oct. 13, 1837.
Dear Brother --
We received in due time your letter and were glad of it -- brief though it was. We received the same day letters from Mill Brook [Millbrook, Connecticut]. Were sorry to learn that Marcus is getting no better. His case is hard indeed. We are anxious to see you all, and shall probably do so at no very distant day. You are aware of the state of our business affairs Every body is failing -- and nothing is doing -- Never was such a time before. And yet never was there such abundance the country through of the necessaries of life.
The prospect for the thousands thrown out of Employment for the winter is forbidding indeed -- Already is our city full of suffering and beggary to an unprecedented extent --
As my relations to the school do not hold me here I think we shall flee from this center of disaster and gloom to spend a few weeks at last in the society of our friends in the country. I do not yet know where we shall go -- but before very long I think.
You speak in your last of any garments which I may have worn all I can -- Particularly of my overcoat -- Whatever I have I shall be glad to put in your hands. My overcoat is not exactly worn out, but is too small for me -- So I shall need a new one for that season if for no others -- Especially in the country -- So if you still think you would like it, I will get it to you in some way.
All kinds of goods are being sold [now?] by one merchants at reduced rates -- Every thing for ladies wear can be bought at cost or less -- for cost -- the great want being money -- If you or your family need -- you can buy cheap by sending to us.
Everybody <has> not broken, is trying to sell his stock on hand in order -- to stand it through -- You have no ideal how sad a fix things are in -- and I cannot tell you.
Our school has opened unusually well -- but I am afraid it will not grow as usual. It now numbers 20. I do not teach much -- Have one private pupil.
Gertrude [Gertrude Day Grant] will be glad of the letter we are daily expecting from Sister Caroline. She wished her thanks sent in return for the assurances of your last -- and sends love to you all. She is anticipating much in visiting my friends in [Conn?] and her Uncles in Mass -- Boston & [Westfield?] --
Remember us to all relatives and friends who you may see. Write ere long -- Love to all your little circle --
Your aff. [affectionate] brother
Jno. Grant. [John Grant]
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
New Haven [Connecticut], Feb 19th 1847
The following is a somewhat minute account of the various circumstances attending the surgical operation that has this day been performed at the State Hospital in this city, for the removal of tumors from the back of Mr. J. Grant situated between the shoulders and below all the muscular part, in contact with the vertebral column. Mr. Grant and myself were classmates and intimate friends during our College course [at Yale University], and for this reason he wished me to remain by his side on that trying occasion, and note all particulars with as much accuracy and minuteness as the nature of the case would allow, in order that I might commit the same writings, both for the gratification of his friend who could not be present, and <and> that he himself might be able in after years, if permitted to survive the operation, to recur to them, and know those facts which from the situation he was then in, he was unable with any distinctness to perceive, or afterwards to call to mind. Dr. Knight had on a previous occasion, with his usual prudence and caution, administered both to Mr. Grant and to others, moderate quantities of the Soporific gas or Ether, and thereby tested its favorable effects in producing at least partial insensibility to pain, and therefore did not hesitate in accordance with Mr. Grant’s wish, to administer it at this time immediately previous to commencing the operation. The hour fixed upon for the assembling of the Physicians was1/2 past 10 o’clock A.M. It was also Mr. Grant’s wish that those of his former classmate who were in the city, should be present with him at least until the operation should commence, and as much longer as their nerves would admit. When I arrived, I found him sitting in his rocking chair, with 5 or 6 classmates and some other friends sitting around him. He was conversing freely and cheerfully with those present, and indeed often laughing quite heartily, as classmates are almost sure to do when meeting after so long a separation. He was evidently a little excited in view of what was before him, his nerves slightly trembling, yet he remarked that the trial must come, and he felt prepared to meet it; and other similar expressions that indicated his firmness of resolution to hear all that was necessary. He said to me more than once, that if he should need holding, I must hold him firmly to the last, as it was his wish to have the operation as thorough as possible. A few minutes before 11 o’clock, the Physicians requested all to step out, until they were prepared to commence. We were shortly invited to return, and on entering the room, Mr. Grant was lying upon the bed, with his back towards the window, to secure a favorable light, resting on his right shoulder, having turned nearly upon his face. At about 6 minutes past 11, he commenced inhaling the Ether; in the mean time all things being in readiness, Dr. Knight stood at his back prepared to commence the incision, Dr. Jewett at his head and Dr. Hooker before him; also the three Dr.s Ives, Dr. Dom, and various other Physicians around to aid in sponging and other necessary duties. After inhaling the Ether from 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, he became drowsy and his eyes closed. At that moment Dr. Knight made the first incision over that portion of the tumor, on the left spine <making the> a little removed from the central line of the back, and parallel with it. This incision was about 8 inches in length and from 1/2 an inch to an inch in depth, laying the part, often down to the tumor. It was cut from within outwards, in accordance with the Dr’s present mode of operating, thus as he supposes avoiding at least half the pain that was caused in the old may be cutting from without inwards. He then commenced separating the body of the tumor from the parts around it, by the aid of his hands and instruments, assisted from time to time by others as opportunity offered itself. At the end of 2 or 3 minutes, Mr. Grant showed more signs of sensibility; at times partly arousing himself like one deeply intoxicated, and speaking in an incoherent and broken manner, saying he knew what they were doing, that he did not suffer and wished them to proceed, that it was wonderful the Ether should produce such an effect, and many similar remarks: also requested some one to go and tell his friends, who were in another room, not to worry about him, for he did not suffer as he had done on a former occasion. In about 5 minutes from the time of making the first incision, Dr. Knight had entirely separated the body of the first tumor from the neighboring parts. This was nearly oval in shape, full 5 inches long, and from 2 to 3 inches in diameter. I say the body of it, for there were then remaining numerous branches or roots, extending still deeper among the lateral and posterior processes of the vertebra along the spinal column. The next 10 minutes were spent in extricating them as rapidly as possible, constantly using sponges to remove the blood as fast as it collected in the incision. The blood and depth of the incision, making this extremely difficult. During these 10 minutes, Mr. Grants mind was constantly active, though clouded and confused, dwelling for the most part on the subjects already mentioned: sometimes making very sensible and apt remarks, but oftener confusing and commingling different subjects. He said he had had a dream, and it was a very pleasant one. His mind dwelt much on the fact that he felt so little pain, saying that it was wonderful he should feel no pain when he could feel other things, meaning that he felt no pain, and yet was sensible of what was going on around him. He said once, he might perhaps learn something then, respecting the connection of the mind and body. When the instruments were hooked into remaining positions of the tumor, and considerable effort made by other instrument and by main strengths to extricate there portions, he would sometimes say he felt pressure but no pain. Again he would flinch, and tell the Dr. it was beginning to hurt. By this time the effects of the Ether had to a considerable extent passed off, and his countenance grew more pale, until it had assumed almost an ashy whiteness. His pulse had also fallen and rest was advised, though Mr. Grant proposed <proposed> that they should proceed immediately to incise the other side. When beginning to faint the Dr. ordered camphor and water. Mr. Grant said he did not like Camphor, he however drinked a little, but was nauseated by it and vomited slightly; they then gave him spirit, and water which had better effect. After resting about 5 minutes, his countenance regained its color and his pulse came up again. It was now 1/2 past 11, and Ether was again administered for near three minutes, and Dr. Knight made a second incision parallel with the first, yet on the right of the spinal column. From this incision he removed another tumor nearly as large as the first, but more irregular in shape. From that time until 7 minutes past 12, every moment was occupied in removing branches and minute portions of the tumors from the extreme parts of both incisions, and from that portion of the spinal column lying between the two incisions; thus leaving entirely naked the spaces between at least 3 of the Posterior processes and some of the lateral processes on both sides. Sometimes when Dr. Knight spoke in a low tone to the other Dr’s in regard to drawing out those portions of the tumor, Mr. Grant would say that he heard him, and to convince him that he was not mistaken he would repeat the Dr.s own words. Several different subjects seemed to be all deeply impressed upon Mr. Grants mind, his remarks referring first to one and then to another. One was the suffering he endured on a previous occasion; seeming inclined to compare that case with the present, and to speak of the astonishing difference in the amount of pain he endured. Another subject was the great value that was to be set upon this invention of Soporific Gas, saying he hoped Dr. Knight would not fear to administer it to patients here after, once remarking that he did not like their getting it pattented, yet he thought it a valuable invention. He said ‘he hoped it would produce no unfavorable results, knowing’ that the Dr’s were not a little anxious on this point. He then observed that he did not know but he was as well prepared now for unfavorable results as he ever should be, still be preferred to get well again if it were permitted him. Another subject much on his mind was the faithfulness and candor of Dr. Knight. He said he loved candor in any man, and if Dr. Knight thought there was danger he said so; and he loved him for it. He showed that he placed almost unabounded confidence in the Drs skill and integrity. Another subject still was his friends that were so faithful to him. He said he loved his friends, so long as they stood by him as they had done; he cared for nothing else. Towards the last, he charged Dr. Knight to be as thorough as though he were dissecting a dead body, repeating the injunction. He seemed fearful throughout lest he should show unmanliness. Dwelling for a moment upon what he had suffered previously, the tears came into his eyes and he said he knew it was unmanly to weep, but he could not bear to be living along thus a burden upon his friends, and then for an instant bursting into tears. Another time after drawing a sigh, he said he knew it was not the part of a true man to sigh, but he could not help it. He often remarked after saying something rather disconnected, that he feared they would think he was very foolish. Again he would say he knew some things well, he was partly sensible. During the last half of the operation he found it necessary to have recourse to the Ether frequently. Every few moments he would say he was coming to and must have some more Ether, and if it was delayed he would beg for it like a child, and then say if Dr. Knight thought it was not best he should have any more, he would try to do without it. My position most of the time was on the left side of the bed, nearly in front of his face, and invariably during the whole of the operation, when he opened his eyes and met mine, he would smile, however great the effort necessary, and not unfrequently would laugh quite heartily, especially when feeling the effects of the Ether, more than usual. Once he looked up in that way and smiling called me by my first name, said Guy, Does not such a sight as this effect your nerves? Again he spoke my whole name, inserting the middle letter, as he often did in College. After the first incision was completed, he wished me to support with my hands his left shoulder, which was much weakened by cutting off the muscle and I continued to do this till the wound was dressed. He would often speak the names of those near him to satisfy them he was sensible. There are but a few things that he said, for he was talking almost constantly during the operation. And many of these are interestingly only as they show the effects of the Morrison Gas on the mind. The time of the operation aside from the dressing, was an hour and one minute from the time of beginning to inhale the Gas. After this about 15 minutes were spent in washing and dressing the wounds. The mode of dressing was by adhesive straps of the common sticking plaster, crossing often in every direction, -- over these were laid thick compresses, and the [the?] so called figure of eight bandage passing many times around both arms, and crossing every time over the incisions. If asked in regard to the actual amount of pain he endured by the operation, I should say almost literally nothing compared with what he must have suffered without Ether or something equivalent. Still there was evident suffering, both mental and physical. The moment the dressing (March 4th) was done, the room was darkened and every person strictly prohibited entering for several days, except barely enough to take care of him. Considerable vomiting followed which may or may not have been the effects of the Ether. No other effects have been evident. The favorable results of the absolute quiet and rest which was maintained for many days, have been seen by all who were much at his bedside. His rapid improvement has been truly astonishing.
Yours Guy B. Day
[Note on side: I think this was written by Uncle Banister Gay]
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Newark [New Jersey] Feb. 1. 1863
How are you and all the rest of the folks.
I get along first rate in school.
Have you sold the oxen yet?
We are having fine weather I like the Spanish boys very well but I do not like the young New York secesh excessively well
Your aff Nephew
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Newburyport [Massachusetts], Aug 27, 1869.
Tues. 2 1/2 p.m.
My dear Nephew,
I know not whether to think of you as at the homestead or in the church at Colebrook Centre [Connecticut].
Tues. 6 1/2 p.m. All of you have returned from the burial of your father to the homestead. It seems desolate. Tho [though] you feel that the sting of death was taken away in this case, as it is with believers, the world around, its sadness remains. & after the laying away of the body, dust to dust, the bereavement seems greater than while it remained in the house. The care that had been so constant, so pressing has ceased. Your main occupation seems to be gone. In the case of a widow, who has lived for her husband, it is not difficult to conceived of the element of that sense of being good for nothing; of being no longer wanted in the world; or no longer essential to the happiness of any one person, that in their lack of a divine revelation, they should be tempted, & be ready, to be burned on the funeral pile. But each of you in that lone homestead, has various calls to present, active duty. Besides, you cannot mourn with out hope in case of the departed as the heathen do. You can see things in same measure as God does. And you can sympathize with the psalmist in the expression, “Precious in the sight of the lord is the death of his saints” The highest rewards promised by our glorious Redeemer, to his disciples, is that they should be with him, behold his glory, & be like him. Our dear departed one, has no doubt entered into the joy of our Lord, is now enjoying what he enjoyed, & in sympathy with him in his love; his love to God the Father, his love to all that God loves.
Your having ministered to your father I have regarded as a favor not only to your father, to Marcus & Caroline, to all your father’s children & grandchildren, to his Christian friends & his acquaintances generally, but also as a special favor of our heavenly Father to myself. It has for months been a subject for constant gratitude. It was your privilege to minister to his spiritual, as well as his temporal wants. You could be tender towards him, even as a nurse cherished her children. Caroline & Marcus too have done what they could every way. --
Your frequent & full communications to me have been a wonderful comfort. Next to my being personally present to enable me to sympathize with my elder, my only brother, as he was descending into the valley of the shadow of death. By being permitted to be with you in spirit, I have had a tender, a sad, a cheerful satisfaction. At the present time, it is better to seem to be in the house of mourning, than in the house of feasting.
In love & sympathy
Z.P.B [Zipah Polly Grant Banister]
My love to Abbey [Abigail Cowles Grant] & John [John Grant]. You will tell me particulars of the funeral.
In fellowship yours Z.P.B.
[Zipah Polly Grant Banister]
Letter 7 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Oberlin [Ohio], Aug 1st 1876
I was very sorry to part with you in the manner I did. I counted so upon seeing you at the Art Gallery, that I did not even provisionally bid you “good bye”, I was a few minutes late to my appointment, but haunted the neighborhood of those pieces of statuary so long, that I am convinced you, for some reason, did not try to meet me there. I had counted on a fine time looking over those grant works of art with you, I know nothing of your movements after you left Phila. [Philadelphia] but suppose you have long since found your way back to Ct. [Connecticut]
I am now attending Commencement exercises here. Have seen the Theolgues & Ladies graduate & tomorrow expect to see the gents do likewise. All seems passing off very pleasantly.
Mr & Mrs Smith came to day from Ill [Illinois], Mrs S. & Prof. Cowles are sister & brother to Mrs. Corbin, If you see her you may say they are very well. We are all well here, I saw Miss Hill your Cousin this morn. in usual health. Has been pretty warm to day but we have no such excessive heat as about two weeks since, I suppose Theodore is now at Phila. [Philadelphia] Do you know Cousin John’s whereabouts? I got here the eve of July 6th, Shall start for Grinnell, Iowa Aug 3rd I think. Hope to hear from you there at your earliest convenience, I was a good deal worried about you But had made all my arrangements for going on the evening train & thought it extremely doubtful about my being able to find you if I waited over, I had a very pleasant ride through Penn’a [Pennsylvania] I thought the mountain scenery very fine, & there certainly were never more beautiful views than the Susquehanna & Juniata, When did you reach home? How have you found the friends? When you write Cousin Abbie tell her, I shall not much longer neglect her very kind & pleasant letter. Give love to your Mother, Uncle Auntie & the others when you see them, In great haste
Affectionately your Cousin
Wm [William] Burton