Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Mr. Elijah Grant
Ipswich [Massachusetts], March 22, 1834
My dear Brother,
Most sincerely do I thank you for your affectionate letter, mailed the 18th & received yesterday. The evidence, that it proceeded from a heart filled with fraternal tenderness, was most grateful to my feelings. As the number of my relatives diminishes, I seem to cling with increased ardor of attachment to the few that remain. Doubtless my heart too much resembles the vine by seeking support from near earthly objects. While I prize these blessings, may I always keep in mind their author.
It is painfully pleasant to me to mingle my sympathies with yours in behalf of those entire orphans, who are bone of our bone & flesh of our flesh. I rejoice, that the one among them now entering on manhood, proposes to take a course, that can keep the little children together, at least a little while longer. These tender lambs are by no means prepared to sustain the chilling blasts, & piercing storms of this tempestuous world. I hope it will be possible to have them in safe harbor, till their good moral habits can become established, & their right principles deeply rooted. Amanda, the little one, is probably from her childhood, in less imminent danger, from taking a misjudged course, or a wrong step, than Lovina. At this day, it is hazardous in the extreme for a female of Lovina's age to go any where among strangers unprotected, & to go thus into a city is almost certain ruin. Many from good families who have been induced to go either to <either> Boston, to Albany, or to New York for the sake of being in a better situation to procure their own support, have come in contact with society, unprincipled, corrupt & corrupting, & have been imperceptibly led to deviate widely from the moral rectitude of their parents, till they have eventually classed themselves with the vile. For together, less desirable, less respectable, & less safe than to be situated as a domestic [a servant] in a family. Should Lovina or any other of my neices be offered $10. a week or any other sum that could be named, I should not consider it the least temptation to have her place herself in such circumstances. I feel, therefore, that the plan for L. [Lovina] to go to the place proposed must not be executed. Could I see her one hour, I am sure she would be convinced that it would be best for her to relinquish it without hesitation. I am so situated, that I cannot immediately see her face to face. It seems, therefore, to devolve on you to be an active agent in the case, & I shall depend on your taking measures that will prevent her going forward in the way proposed. When you have done this, I will take charge of her for a year or more. It is very important she should attend school some more. I could probably obtain a situation for her in the family of my dear friend, Mrs. Briggs, where she might by her own efforts do something towards defraying the expense of her board, & <attend a good school> be treated as a sister, watched over as a child, & attend a good school. I should choose that situation for her, rather than that of a pupil in our large Seminary [Ipswich Female Seminary] at present. Mrs. Briggs has three children an aged mother, & a domestic about 60 years of age & a little girl in her family. The little girl will attend school next summer, & cannot render Mrs. B. [Briggs] much aid. Mrs Chickening, her aged mother, needs much of Kezia's time. <And> Mrs. Briggs is under the necessity of devoting much of her time to her wearisome babe now almost 3 months old, that she would probably highly value having some one with her, who could get the breakfast, & do some sweeping, & sewing, or aid her in any way she should need. She does not, however, think it best to employ any one wholly. <Her> Lovina's tuition, & the remainder of her expense for board, through the summer, & her traveling expenses on I will defray, without charge to her, [or] any one else. I will also come to Con. [Connecticut] about [the] first of May, & take her back with me. As I shall not be able to stay long, it is desirable she should be ready. I will aid her to a light calico dress, & to a white one if necessary. Her other clothing, it will be desirable she should have made, before she comes from home. Probably she may now have nearly as much as she will need. When I come to Colebrook [Connecticut], I will confer with you about the course to be pursued after this summer. I very much wish you could be guardian both to <Almira &> Lovina, & Amanda. It would be much more convenient to me to co-operate with you in relation to these children, than with a stranger. I know your cares are many, but I believe you would be sustained in your efforts to secure paternal care for these dependent children. My cares are almost overwhelming now, <but> should they become greater than they are, it would be my duty to care for your children, if they should become orphans.
Elizabeth is in good health. She will probably be able to make you a visit of a few days the last of April & first of May. I do not know precisely the time in May Mr. Hull will leave Andover [Massachusetts], but as soon as the middle & perhaps before.
I have unavoidably been prevented from finishing this in season for the mail today. hope it will reach you next Tuesday.
Did you receive from me a No. of the Religious Magazine? I suppose Almira can keep house with [Y?] As soon as any thing is decided will you write. With love to each member of your family individually your very affectionate and only sister, Z. P. Grant.
[Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Mr. Elijah Grant
Ipswich [Massachusetts], Mar 1834 [Postmarked March 31]
My dear Brother,
Since I <last> wrote you about Lovina, I have written to Mrs. Briggs & received an answer. She has recently made an engagement with the little girl, who has been with her during the winter to do all that Kezia cannot do, so that she cannot take Lovina & board her for less than from $100. to 125. a year. Her bill for board here for 52 weeks <would> at $1.75 a week including washing & lights would be $91. & her fuel & some other continges would perhaps be $9. making $100. Her tuition would be more here than at Dedham [Massachuetts]. As it is, I think I had better place her in our school [Ipswich Female Seminary], & decide to pay her whole expenses, including her traveling expenses, & some aid in her clothing. Beside what I mentioned in my last, I can furnish her with some night gowns & white cotton skirts if necessary. Such things as pocket hdkfs [handkerchiefs], stockings, shoes & other things that she will not make herself, she may as well procure here as at home. It will not be desirable, that she should come on before the latter part of May. Our term commences the last Wednesday of May. She might take her journey in company with Mary. Perhaps in the intermediate time, she may even earn something.
While I say I will do <somet> such & such things for Lovina, I do not say I will do no more; but I want to see you & to know more about her before I promise much. When under my care I shall not see her want. But I have so much on my hands now, it would not be prudent for me to undertake much more at present<.> than I have named. It would be extremely undesirable, that Lovina should receive the impression, I can aid her without effort, frugality & economy; or that she can depart from those habits of care in her expenditures, in which she has been brought up. I feel it to be our duty to save her from the temptation that now awaits her, & I mean to all that I ought.
I expected you would use your own judgment about reading my other letter to her.
I should be glad to know how much she has studied on arith [arithmetic], geog [geography], gram [grammar], &c. It is quite important that before she enters our school [Ipswich Female Seminary] she should be well acquainted with Colburn's First Lessons, written arithmetic through reduction, & be able to answer the questions on the map in some common geography, & very desirable that she should have studied the history of the U.S. — It may be so that she can study a few hours each day, till she leaves home. If she is deficient in what I have mentioned, I would have her study if she can have the instruction she needs rather than have her earn something.
With sincere love to your family, & in great haste,
Your very affectionate sister,
Z.P. Grant.[Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
[Written across side] It is not probable I shall be able to leave Ipswich till several days after the close of our term. I think it will be best for Elizabeth to go directly home with Roxana & not wait for me. Z.P. Grant [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
[Written across in another handwriting:] Sab. [Sabbath] eve March, 30.
In about four weeks, I hope to see you all again. The school closes three weeks fr. [from] next Tuesday night. I rejoice in the prospect of seeing all our family again. I fear something will happen that we shall not all be together.
I suppose Marcus has grown a good deal & continues to be a kind good boy. I dare say <you> M. [Mary Grant Burgess] J. [John Grant] D. [Daniel Grant] J. [Joel Grant] & A.[Abigail Grant] and especially Mary have altered some, but I think I shall not be at a loss to call your names, when I see you.
Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] is coming to Conn. [Connecticut] this spring & I hope she will return with me, and go on with me to Ohio, if I go.
Have you heard from Mary recently? I hope she will be prospered on her journey home.
I am studying Whately's Rhetoric. He dwells much on public speaking in some parts of it. I am sure Joel wd [would] like to study it. I wish he wd [would] write me once more before school closes. I thank you for your letters. but if I write more I shall be tardy to bed.
There is to be a protracted meeting here next week.
This week Thursday is fast.
Much love to all of you
Yrs. [yours] affec. [affectionately] Elizabeth [Elizabeth Grant Burton].
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Ipswich [Massachusetts], July 24. 1834.
My dear Parents [Elijah Grant and Elizabeth Grant],
Was the letter mostly written by Miss Cowles [Abigail Cowles Grant?]duly received? I suppose you perused it. Aside from one letter mailed about two weeks since to Elizabeth, & one business letter I penned for Miss Lyon [Mary Lyon], I have written but two letters since I came here. Miss Cowles has not heard, neither have I from home. Cousin Lovina received a letter from Grant and Miss Beach has heard a number of times, so that we have felt contented feeling that you all were usually well, yet I feel that a letter from home would indeed be acceptable My health has been good, for a week past a cold has troubled me some. Miss Cowles has been gaining strength, she has been absent from school but one half day — then because of the sick head ache. We enjoy rooming together well. Lovina is making good improvement I think, & is happy. Half of the term is gone, we are to have a short vacation soon here. The school is very pleasant, I do not know but I mentioned in my last that one section of 24 young ladies were committed to me. They are generally about 17 years of age from five different states. I never felt the privilege of living and laboring so great as this summer. I have often felt grateful that a kind Providence has brought me again to Ipswich [Ipswich Female Seminary]. I ardently desire that my principles may now become so fixed that I may be prepared for more extensive usefulness than formerly. Miss Lyon I think is more & more spiritual & enlarged in her views. She is confident one way in which the renovation of the world is to be accomplished, is the more general diffusion of correct female education, & I do think schools will eventually be formed where the domestic labor will all be performed by the pupils, & Miss Lyon will do something. It is known that she intends leaving Ipswich & she often receives applications, but she says, she thinks it would be wrong for her to accept any situation however desirable, unless on the domestic labor plan. She has given two lectures on fem. [female] education of about an hour each. She would have the intellectual advantages equal to any school now in operation. A few ideas in one of her lectures follow. Learn to philosophize upon what educated men & women ought to do in various ways, & what you ought to do & then do your part. I mean fem. [female] ed. [education] in general not principally our relations. The man without children may have that benevolence & comprehensive view of the subject as to render his interest ten times deeper than many men with ten daughters Throughout the country a man interested for himself alone is considered mean, but not so mean for an educated female to be contracted as an ed. [educated] gentleman. Females cannot rise so much above those around them as men. This one reason why the mass shd. [should] be raised — Aspire for an enlarged view. — education to go forth into the world to be actively useful. — God has blessed fem. education, & next to the preaching of the gospel a means of bringing forth the glory promised. — Investigate — write upon the subject find out what is lacking, what is superfluous. — physical system to receive attention — to understand philosophy of the mind, & of human nature, how the passions are excited & allayed, & prepare for action on society, eminently philosophical able to investigate general principles on every subject. — Should be no incongruity between theory & practice. Her own passions under perfect self control. — A great loss of moral power by being obliged to warn others by our follies, rather than by our correct deportment — Our country is not awake to its importance — the advance is slower than generally supposed, & has not been principally to extend the privileges to a greater number. These are a few of her remarks which I noted down at the time. Some of them may be so unconnected that you may not understand them. Miss L. [Mary Lyon] always has general attention in her lectures. Her face & voice express a great deal, & her sincerity & deep feeling can but fix attention. I do think it much to be lamented that the vast majority of females have not the means to become prepared for expansive usefulness. We have heard of a small society in Jacksonville, Ill. [Illinois] composed of females who lend money to indigent promising females that they may gain an education, & for two or three days at table we have been discussing the utility of such a society in New Eng. [New England] conducted something on the principles of the Amer. Ed. Soc. [American Education Society] Mother, I thought had you been here you would have entered into it with all your heart. Do you take the Nat. Preacher? If you do not, Uncle Cowles does. It is taken here by the society in school for general improvement. The Jan. & May No's contain some sermons by Prof. Hitchcock on Intemperance in eating. I have read them, & wish you could all take the time to carefully read them Perhaps you might have it read aloud when all the family were together, or some Sat. evening calculate to have all the work done early & read one sermon. As you both mean to be awake in every good cause, I have no doubt you would like to understand, & not be behind on this subject. And I think it would do the children good, particularly the older ones. Perhaps they will read them if you cannot during this warm, busy season. I think of you these warm days, — good hayweather, I suppose. The thermometer stood at 96° in the shade at one <in> this P.M. Sat. July 26. It is now three the thermometer was taken & hung on the [b]arn in the sun where it rose to 108.°.
Father, have you ever read Edward's' history of redemption. Miss Lyon & Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] both think it very valuable. They made some efforts last winter to get it republished in an abridged form, as there are no copies to be obtained of the former edition. Some notes are to be omitted & the print to be smaller. Last winter when they anticipated to [hav]ing it in their power to recommend it as a ... wor[th]y <their> careful perusal, they received word th[at] the hard times prevented their procedure. This summer through the influence of the Rev. Bela. B. Edwards Boston, they thought it would be done. But its contents are too solid, & sp<r>iritual to sell, the bookseller said it was not sufficiently inviting for sale. Then Miss Lyon sent to know for what number of subscribers they would publish it. They informed her, 300. The number of subscribers is not made out. The single book will cost 75 cts. [cents] By the dozen a little l[es]s, probably 52 1/2 cents. It is a sorrowful thought that the great & wonderful plan of redemption has no charms for enslaved man, whose bondage is infinitely more dreadful than that of the colored man within our borders. The book is valuable for every one over 14. particularly for Christians. Could you not get a dozen subscribers within two weeks. Please write within that time & tell me what you think about whether you get any or none. If published at all, it will be soon after that time. I subscribed for two copies. You may say there are already too many books, but our people <might> must & will read something, & if a taste for solid feasting upon what is really elevating and good is already formed, no work can be more palatable or profitable than this. It wd. [would] tend to lead any one to be ashamed to live for themselves, & to ardently desire to cooperated with God both heart & hand in redeeming the world. Cousin Maria [Maria Pettibone] will bring them on, & will pay for them in Boston, & receive pay there of those who subscribe. It is not subscribing for a work whose merits have not been tested. Will you all, the family I mean, see what you can do, & write however the case may be. Remember yr. [your] daughter Mary at the throne of grace.
Yours, very affectionately, Mary [Mary Grant Burgess]
[written across second page] Mother. I think this work on redemption would be interesting to read together in the Maternal Association. & have conversation on its contents intermingled It is suited to elevate & show the great object of living. It is also suited to encourage us in our labors.
[written across first page] Love to Uncle & Aunt Phelps & cousins E. & M. also to all other relations & neighbors. I should from them, & write them, if more urgent duties did not command my time. What do you think of Bush's work on the Millennium. Good bye.
[written across fourth page]
My dear Abigail [Abigail Grant] July 28, 1834
I have been expecting a letter from Elizabeth, & was in hopes I should hear before I completed this sheet, but Miss Lyon has heard from Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] five or six times, & through her I have learned some things respecting her school, & Granville. One of their company wrote a fine description of G [Granville] & its inhabitants which was read at table. One of the teachers here, Miss Foot from Lee, Mass. [Massachusetts] has spent considerable time in Granville she says, E. [Elizabeth] has a very good boarding place. <Since> Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] left there, has since been at Chillicathe, Cincinnati & was about a week since at Yellow Springs not far from Xenia, towards the W. part of Ohio. She will leave for Detroit about this time, I suppose. Her health has not been usually good for a week past, but she was better when she last wrote.
Have you studied Arithmetic much? How far? I hope you will on an average get an hour a day. If you should ever come here or attend Miss L. [Mary Lyon] domestic labor school, you would proceed much faster for having a thorough kowledge of arith. [arithmetic] Do not say, you have so much to do, you cannot get any time. Your age & strength both require some rest from bodily fatigue, & by mingling mental & physical strength, you may relax, & increase the value of both. Have you kept an account of the time I hope you have, if not, will you begin now & let me know every time I hear from home. How is you health? Your bending forward proves your stomach to be weak, & I fear much for your health. Miss L [Mary Lyon] has given her pupils one maxim, & their attention to it no doubt has increased our happiness much the last month. Maxim. "Gain entire self control with regard to bodily sufferings & bodily appetites." Dear sister, I would like you to confine your times to taking food during the day to a certain number, say three, or five if you require luncheon, & quite probably you do, & then not taste any thing during the other parts of the day. Never taste any thing after supper. Write me how you succeed. Your sister, Mary
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Mrs. Elizabeth Grant
[Letter written on a printed broadside that begins: To the Friends and Patrons of Ipswich Female Seminary ... Ipswich, (Mass.) September 8, 1834.]
Ipswich, Sept. 18. 1834.
My dear Mother,
I thank you for your letter, & wish you to write as often as possible. The preceding pages will show you that the time for efficie[nt] action on the behalf of the proposed Sem. [Mount Holyoke Female Seminary] has come. I do think there will be some difficulty in collecting the $1000. as soon as desirable. Will not the maternal association rejoice to lend a helping hand. If mother, you can do any thing for this object, it is the cause of God & virtue. And from this fountain many streams will flow forth fertilizing the men[ta]l powers, & enriching moral feelings. Not on[ly i]n New Eng. but the example will be imitated by the West & South. <If> Whether we may live to see this, or not we shall never regret we made vigorous efforts. I never have been more interested in the success of any project, for I do think it intimately connected with the prosperity of the church. If the educated will show they desire such an institution, by very soon raising sufficient to support an agent it is to be hoped the school will be opened one year from next spring. $.10 now may do more than 20. or 30 when the agent presents the subject. Hand this circular to Mrs. O. Stillman would she not contribute $10. also. Dea. [Deacon] Stillman's wife & daughters. I do hope Colebrook [Connecticut] ladies will avail themselves of this opportunity to do something to raise our country, & benefit the ch. [church] I trust they will not merely coldly approve, but be willing to sacrifice some thing to aid this noble, & very important enterprize. For further particulars I refer you to cousin Maria [Maria Pettibone]. I am expecting the stage every moment to call for her. I remain here during vacation, study Ecclesiastical Hist [History] some, & sew some. Pray my dear mother, that such young ladies may come here next winter as may be profited, remember the teachers, & me particularly. Love to you all.
Mary [Mary Grant Burgess].
[written across side] May every sister in the ch. [church] to whom this subject is presented understand & do her duty.
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Originals not in file. Copied from transcription.]
Ipswich [Massachusetts], Nov. 21, 1834.
My dear Parents [Elijah Grant and Elizabeth Grant],
It seems a long time since I have enjoyed the pleasure of writing you. For several weeks I have been hoping I should have time this week. Since the commencement of this term, we have been closely occupied with school engagements, & I do not expect much time to correspond with friends this winter. My health is very good. Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] has by economizing her strength been able to accomplish much thus far. She spends each forenoon in school [Ipswich Female Seminary], & sometimes the afternoon. The number of scholars is limited to about 110 boarders, aside from the young ladies from this town. I have care of the oldest section composed of about 30 young ladies. The young ladies are studious, & I believe universally desirous to improve, & do right. Half of my section have been teachers, & most of them expect hereafter to teach. All, excepting six, are professors of religion. Composition, arithmetic, <&> drawing & physiology have yet been the principal studies. For our Sab. [Sabbath] lessons we study the book of Gen. [Genesis] commencing with creation. Next Sab. [Sabbath] we take from Gen. [Genesis] 6 to the 9 inclusive. Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] lectures three mornings a week from this part of Scripture. We find it truly of interest. — I received a letter from Elizabeth three weeks since. She was then recovering after a course of fever. She had been sick six weeks. Her letter was written Oct. 21 & 22. She was then expecting to open her school Oct. 29. Miss Bridges was taken sick two weeks before her, <& was> but had nearly regained her strength when she wrote. E. [Elizabeth] has an important, wide field for labor, & I hope will be faithful. She says she wants some apples & apple pies, tho' [though] the fruit is entirely cut off there this year. It is scarce here. Are <they> apples abundant with you? You will like to know respecting the domestic labor Seminary. The bell is now ringing for nine o'clock. I have been calling upon about a dozen of the factory girls since half past seven. There is a large cotton factory in town which employs 50 or 60 girls. Miss Lyon & some others in town concluded it would be well to present a circular to them, & give them an opportunity to give towards raising the $1000 if they chose. They never have their work in the evening till half past seven. They afford evidence that an institution of this kind is demanded. One said she did not think it her duty to give an institution which she could not attend, another did not think it necessary that the common people should <not> know more than reading arithmetic & spelling, some said, they thought the object desirable but had nothing at present to give, they were glad to give to the support of the gospel, but they found other benevolent objects which they were more interested in than this. At these feelings, I do not wonder. I told them I only gave them the privilege. One exception to what I have described will mention. She heard a few remarks with interest which beamed forth in every feature of her face. She then with a delighted air, went and brought a dollar. Had I not collected a cent, I should have been glad I presented the subject to them, but it afforded me real pleasure to witness the benevolence & interest of that young lady. $900 of the required sum <has been> is raised. The location is not yet fixed. I believe. Many are interested. Miss Lyon & Miss Caldwell are spending the winter at Amherst. Did the ladies in your region feel disposed to do any thing. — I hope they will send on some sum even if should be small. — The young ladies are now learning, during this recess, the names of the principal constellations. Our bell for retiring will soon ring & I must finish tomorrow. I imagine father has retired, & I hardly know about mother whether she is resting after the busy toils of the day, as days before thanksgiving are busy days, or still at work or reading by the kitchen fire. I hope not sick or any of the family. Good night to you all.
Affectionately your daughter, Mary. [Mary Grant Burgess]
Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] sends love to you all. She is a mother to me.
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Ipswich [Massachusetts] Nov. 23. 1834
Dear sister Abigail,
I received your note by Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister], & was glad you were going to Windsor. I hope you will endeavor to gain improvement from all your intercourse with society, & also to impart something valuable whenever it is proper. Make it an object to converse properly, it will prepare you for greater usefulness. Avoid ungrammatical expressions, & incorrect pronunciations, also very strong exclamations, as dreadful, &c. The maxim "whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well" you may bring to mind many times a day. Next time you write, let me know if you have tried to improve on these ... also how you have succeeded. And tell me how you spend your time, indeed, it interest me to know all about my dear brothers & sisters. What definite things do you wish to eradicate, & what to gain to be prepared to promote the greatest amounts of good. Dear A. [Abigail] this life is short at the longest, you cannot do ... for God & the world to work with your might while it ... longed to you. You say you do not enjoy that communicated with your Father in heaven you ought. Do not dear ... longer dishonor God by living without comfort in ... Come to him as you did at first, determined not to be satisfied till you are anew converted, till you do behold the light of his countenance. The example of James B. Taylor contained in his memoir from the 65th page & onward affords encouragement. Have not your closest duties been neglected or formally performed. Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] meets the young ladies who hope they are pious an hour every Sab. [Sabbath] for instruction & prayer. You probably understand it is a regulation in this Sem [Ipswich Female Seminary] that each one may have half an hour morning & evening uninterrupted & alone. The manner of spending this time is a subject which Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] has taken up at our last two meetings. Before prayer we should think definitely what we want, & of the readiness & <fullness> of God to give, & then throu' [through] Christ come with high expectations to him who wills the sanctification of his children & during these stated seasons of communion with God, we must not neglect his word which he has magnified & will magnify above his other works for the conversions & sanctification of men. Dwell on those passages you do understand, till you feel <its> their truth deeply, feast on the truth of God, & seek particularly to improve all the means of grace you enjoy. Are your Sabbaths profitable? Write me soon. I should like you & Daniel & John to fill me a sheet. Let Daniel consider what I have written to him. Do you sit any more erect than last spring? I should like you D. [Daniel], John, Martha & Marcus to cultivate pleasant, interested countenances. Give my love to them, I try to give them all to God, & pray that they may be active in his service in whatever field God may see fit to place them.
Letter 7 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Ipswich, Dec. 18, 1834
I wish to write a few things to my brother and sisters at home when I can get a few moments. Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] remonished ? to day in school that duties never clashed, that all duty could be done. And I thought I would be industrious, and complete a letter to get to you before next new year. I will write a few words first to brothers John and Marcus & sister Martha. I suppose they are now attending school. I hope they daily improve their minds, hearts, and manners. — Dear brother John, you are more than 12 [? paper torn] yrs. old, you have heard the Bible read every day since your remembrance, and have been to the Sab. [Sabbath] school a long time, but when Pres. [President] Edwards had studied the bible more than any one book for many yrs. [years] at the age of 53 he thought he knew in comparison of what was contained in this precious book, but as a drop to the ocean, and how much do you know. Have you ever read the whole Bible? do you try to receive its meaning as it is read in the family? and do you try to practice it as you know it. Do you feel that your Creator has a right to require you to do what ever he pleases. His requirements are tended to promote the greatest happiness, are suited to promote your happiness and mine, and in no way but in obedience to these holy and just commands then it be secured. Are you studying geog. [geography] this term. I think your knowledge of the planet we inhabit may be sufficient for you to devote your attention to some other branches of Arithmetic, I believe you are fond. I think you would find it so, and only regret that I did not avail myself more of the privilege. When you study or read about any place, get as vivid a conception as possible of it, so clear that you will seem to see it.
[written along left edge] Cousin Maria Pettibone's Geometry is here. I did not know it till after cousin M. Cowles returned home. The first opportunity I will send it. My love to all my cousins & inquiring friends.
[written on verso] Ipswich, Jan. 14, 1835
Dear sister Martha,
You see by the preceding page I commenced my letter about a month since, and then I hoped I should finish it in time to wish you all a happy new year. I have been reading over what I wrote to J. [John] and thought some of taking a new sheet, but feared if I did, I should not get it done for a month longer. And Martha, what will make this a happy year to you. Me thinks your answer, doing right. Doing right is promoting the greatest good, or the greatest happiness. This is the aim or standard of our Creator, and he wishes us to make this our aim. When you wake in the morning while you are on your bed, and then when you are dressing, inquire of yourself, what must I do today in order to do right? What should be the tone of my voice? What the expression of my countenance? Then ask the assistance of Christ to help you to do what your conscience tells you is right. Then as you lie down at night, and have one day less to live, inquire, have I done right. If you have the whole or even part of a day [...] forget to give thanks, if you have failed of thinking, speaking and acting right at home, or at school, then sincerely seek forgiveness and be not satisfied till you obtain it.
From your affectionate sister,
Mary Grant [Mary Grant Burgess]
My dear Marcus,
Last vacation I visited the museum at Salem. This is the finest collection of curiosities in New Eng. [New England] I there saw a large root of a banian tree, where do they grow? Can you learn five things about this species of tree? Also the head of a New Zealander embalmed, said to be natural. When the boys are sliding down hill here, what season is it in New Zealand? Why will you learn four things about those islands, or the inhabitants? I saw an electric eel. How does this eel differ from the common kind. A great number of Chinese figures representing the dress of the different classes, their employments and religious services. Who are called mandarins? What do you know of Mr. Gutzloss? — Some stamped pieces of metal found in Pompeii. Learn a few things about this place. I should be happy to know next time I receive a letter from home if you have ascertain about these things. — The weather has been very cold here this winter. After one storm, which was accompanied with a light wind for two days each surge of the ocean as it washed the shore, could be distinctly heard here. The distance of three miles. I hope, brother Marcus, you will try to be useful in every way you can be cultivate neat habits. Keep your skin and clothes as clean as you can. Now, seek to Jesus for forgiveness and a new heart. Your parents have given you to God, and they wish to have you labor to do good, and I give you to Christ and pray to him to make you a blessing to the world. From your friend, Mary.