Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[from Mary Grant Burgess]
Ahmednuggur [India] Oct 23, 1840
My dear parents,
I sent you a few sheets of journal from Zanzibar. ------ Forest and field are not superior upon that island to those of America yet very unlike them. Here the trees were the cocoa, the clove, the orange, the nut-meg, the mango, the plantian & custard apple, the vegetables, yam, sweet potatoes, pineapple and other tropical plants --------
We had a rough rapid voyage of two weeks to Muscat, The monsoon driving us forward at the rate of 200 or 225 miles a day. Muscat harbor is surrounded by bold precipitous rocks. --------
July 24) we spent at Capt. Calfauns. Capt. C. [Calfauns] is a good Mussulman, understands considerable English & would be called a gentleman in any society. We saw his wife & little son five years old. The females would run, if one of our men came near or if for any reason any remained they would veil their faces. -------- July 26th in the morning we called at the palace. Two long flights of homley wooden stairs led to the harem. Here we found the kings (Sultans) wife, mother, sisters & two grown daughters. They received us very cordially, taking our right hand in both theirs and shaking it gently. We were seated among this company of females & would have prized it much to have been able to talk Arabic. We had learned a few words, by these, & by signs we received and communicated a number of ideas. They wore a profusion of very costly ornaments & their dress was rather becoming. We were then invited into a large room most expensively furnished where was a table loaded with fruits, sweetmeats, bread and puddings. -- After our meal we again engaged in conversation in our way -- Seid Mohammed (one of the Sultans sons took Mrs. Frenchian & intimated that he would accompany us -------- July 28, Sabbath. Anchored in Chubar --- The next morning Capt. went on shore. In the afternoon came back to the vessel having purchased some thousand pounds of wool. Last year he purchased wool for eight cents a pound & sold it for 35 cts. [cents]min Salem -------- Left Chubar July 30 & Aug 1 landed, anchored in the bay near Cape Guadel, about three miles from town ---- Aug 3 we all went on shore ---- Soil appeared barren, we stopped near a Banyan temple & dwelling. Banyan are a religious sect, who consider the cow as their chief god. They are Hindoos. Here we saw the mummery of heathenism. One man was sitting & chanting something while another sat by & dipped salt water from a copper vessel with a little shell & poured it upon little sticks of wood. ----- Coarse red figures & pictures were numerous upon the interior walls of these buildings ------ The inhabitants are Beloochees ---- They have the Koran, very few can read it. ---- They wore a profusion of ornaments in their noses, ears, & upon their wrists The women of the town almost all assembled at the governors house to see us I suppose they never saw a white female before ----- beginning to feel that we should suffocate with so many breaths we were glad to be invited to another room to partake of refreshments. Plates of mangoes, fresh dates & holwah were arranged on a round mat on the ground which constituted the floor of the room. As there were no chairs we sat down upon the mat & partook of the repast. Water & sour milk were brought for us. ------ It is but three years since they learned that wool was valuable. Capt. W. [Ward] bought thousands of pounds for about 10 cents a pound ---- The English have already, or are about to have these people under the government, which we cannot but hope will expediate the introduction of the religion of Jesus. After dinner August 5 weighed anchor & set sail direct for Bombay, distance about 700 miles. --------
Aug 10 Sailed into Bombay harbor - land began to appear in the afternoon. Found it difficult to realize that we were in the vicinity of our labors, joys & sorrows. That evening we were welcomed to Bombay by our missionary brothers and sisters. I think I have written you about our two months stay in Bombay, & also of our journey to Nuggur our spending a mount in Mr. Ballantines family & then becoming settled in our own hired house Nov. 22, 1839. Our time was principally spent in getting the language for some months. In Feb. just before the commencement of the hot season Mr. Ballantine & Mr. Burgess decided to take a tour to Jalna ---7---- The distance to Jalna about 120 miles. We stopped at Arungabad over the Sabbath. visited the wonderful caves of Ellova & remained in Jalna with Mr. & Mrs. Munger four or five days. -------------- March 11, 1840 My house appears very pleasant to me though the weather is oppressively warm.
March 15. Sab. [Sabbath] eve. The last great day of the taboot a mussalman festival annually observed in honor of Hassan & Houlsein, two brothers who fell in battle in the defense or propagation of Mohammadanism ---------21------------ March 21 -- Having had no rain since we came to the Duccan last Oct it was truly pleasant to be revisited by refreshing showers on the 18th. & 19th. -- The thermometer for several days before the rain, had stood at 100º 101º 97º in the warmer parts of the day. Rain is not expected to fall again 'until June. -- I feel that we must value this highly. --- Today is the last day of the Holee or Shimgah festival. It is a foolish degrading feast, as some among them acknowledge. ---------------------
Yesterday I made my first call at the house of a native. Caste & its appendages, is perhaps the greatest barrier in the way of our benefiting the people. If we enter their houses they must wash themselves & their clothes & perform some other ceremonies for purification. It makes them so much trouble & besides since the excitement attendant on the conversion of two brahmens, people are afraid of disgrace of our being seen in their houses, therefore we think it not advisable at present to call on them without invitation. The <M> man at whose residence we called, has the charge of the house & garden where we dwell ------12------ His house was large mostly built of stone. His apartments were all on the second story, the lower part being for buffaloes & cattle. His floors were of earth and stone & according to their ideas of nicety, were nicely washed or rather whitewashed with water mingled with cow dung. This practice, though revolting at first, is really a great comfort & a wash of cleanliness among the Hindoos ---- I remarked that I would like to see his wife & that I would <like> see her in her room if more agreeable to her. He said that as no gentleman except Mr. B. [Burgess] was present he would call her otherwise he would not. ----- His little wife came into the room as timidly and bashfully as anyone could. I asked her some questions but could hardly get her to answer one, she was so frightened. --- She is now 11 years of age & has been married one year. She was about the size <of> that Martha was at that age & was richly clad. Her nose & ear ornaments were of pearl & I presume cost many scores of rupees. ----7--- O that the way may be opened that missionaries may labor successfully for the poor degraded females of this country. It will be, though I do not live to see it. This is one of the many cases where the husband is of suitable age to be the father of his wife. -------15--------
March 2<7>5. We already keep <the> our houses shut to prevent the entrance of hot air after about eight o'clock in the morning. We are thus toreably comfortable.
March 27. A fine air & clear sky. The dust is laid. This morning I witnessed the native practice of threshing. I suppose it like the old Jewish custom
----49--- March 29, 1840. Sab. eve. Thermometer 97º Today for the first time Mr. Burgess addressed an audience in Murathee. He took his text from Mark 15,15 & talked 33 minutes. It was <a> very pleasant indeed to me to have him appear to be so well understood.. -----20---- April 2. Ther. 101º- This morning I took Miss Farrar to ride with me in our chaise. ---- We aim to be out before the sun. Three or four little stones painted red were lying near the threshing <floor> ground such as I described a few days since. Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] asked one of the workmen if they were god, to which he <answered> replied in the affirmative. She then asked him which were the greater himself or those stones. He said, they were. ------------ April 3. The first day of the Hindoo year -- a feast day -- they compute their months by the moon
May 16, 1840 My dear parents, I cannot tell you how much we were rejoiced today by letters from America, particularl<l>y in my hearing from you & our family & family friends 13 1/2 months had flown & I had heard nothing from you ---- Today I received one written by mother & Joel Aug. 23, 1839 & a long valuable one from Joel dated Nov. 4, 1839.------------1.8
May 19. Last evening our missionary company met at our house to talk about the news from America. It was a pleasant time. -----14----- The vessel which brought our last letters (the Brinda) was laden with ice By advertisement in a Bombay paper, I perceive they are selling it from early six o'clock every morn at the rate of about seven cents a pound. I have since learned that the ice which cost 15.00 in America re[a]lized $10.000 at once in Bombay. We manage to keep our drinking water good & sufficient cool for me, this hot weather. It is filtered through charcoal & sand & then we keep it in an e[a]rthen jar which is so porous that the water evaporates through it, instead of heating what is within.
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Mr. Elijah Grant
Canton [Ohio] 1st Nov 1840
I have been thinking for some time that I ought to write you once more, though no particular good or ill fortune has befallen me to give any special interest to my letter. We have all enjoyed uninterrupted good health since mother left us, though I ought to qualify this a little, and say that my own health has not been perfectly good for about two months past. I suppose my complaint to be dyspepsia, brought on by too close confinement to the duties of the office while Mr. Griswold was making stump speeches for the Whigs. I am better now, and have never been so bad as to give up business even for a day.
Our little girl, Elizabeth [Mary Elizabeth Burton Shurtleff], is the very picture of health. For activity either of body or mind I have seldom seen her equal at her years. She will outrun all her play-mates with the utmost ease, although some of them are twice as old. She knows all her letters, large and small, though she has not fully learned to distinguish between the small 'b' and 'd'. We think too, that she behaves remarkably well.
Daniel returned here from Penfield about a week since, and is one of the applicants for a common-school in this town of Canton [Ohio]. The town (borough) constitutes a single district, and the practice is to have four different schools in it during the winter. The Board of Directors of the District (corresponding to your District Committee, but consisting of three instead of one) meet to-morrow evening to determine whom they will employ.
Mr. & Mrs. Whiting and Mr. & Mrs. Griswold are all well — indeed, I know of no person in the place who is sick, except Mr. Harley's little boy, whom mother may remember. He has had a bowel complaint for two months or more, and now is believed to be afflicted with worms — the two together make the poor fellow quite sick, perhaps dangerously so.
Daniel found a letter here when he last came from sister Mary [Mary Grant Burgess]: the letter arrived about a week before his return. It bore date June 10, 1840, at which time she and Mr. Burgess were well. We have not heard from Mr. Burton or any of his family since mother's visit there. — Col. W. Griswold has made a tour into Indiana and Michigan this fall, I scarcely know with what object — he returned about two weeks since and I have not seen him since his return, but understand that he and his family are well. Daniel staid at Mr. Frederic Brown's a week ago last night; they were then as well as usual.
We receive occasionally a newspaper from home, though I think less frequently than formerly. It is quite likely that some of them miscarry. For a considerable time past I have sent to Colebrook [Connecticut] the Ohio Repository published at this place — I think I have sent every number. I directed them to John until lately — the two or three last I have directed to father, not knowing but John might be at New Haven [Connecticut]. I presume it makes no difference to whom they are directed.
The elections for this State [Ohio] are now over for this year, and such a tremendous political struggle I presume was never witnessed before in this country or elsewhere. The excitement has been intense and absorbing — the vote polled immense — and the victory of the Whigs decisive. I say decisive however without knowing anything of consequence about the Presidential Election which took place Oct 30 — no doubt however is entertained by either party as to the result. The Whig majority at the election of Oct 13 was about 16,500; though you will hear it from 18,000 to 20,000. At the late election the Whigs, in this and four adjacent counties (all we have heard from) have gained 960. If they gain in the whole state at the same rat[i]o, Harrison's majority will fall but little short of 30,000. We do not look however with any confidence for more than 25,000. The Whigs are rejoicing at the brightness of their prospects, and the Locos are apparently frightened. I am glad the elections are over; indeed I think both parties rejoice that they are now able to enjoy a season of political repose.
Susan wishes to be remembered, and little Libby sends love to Grandpa, Grandma and her Uncles and Aunts in Colebrook & Clifton [Connecticut]
Yours as ever E.P. Grant [Elizabeth Phelps Grant]
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Dea. [Deacon] Elijah Grant
Deacon Elijah Grant Hartford May 18 1842
I mean to write a letter to you and I hope for the assistance of the Divine Spirit while I do it. May you when you read my letter be enabled to do it in the exercise of a Gospel temper and spirit should you so this the letter will do you no injury & may have a better effect than I have any reason to expect (i.e.) of myself You know how you have long felt towards me and what those feelings have prompted you to do from time to time I now ask you Dea. [Deacon] Grant to enquire for, and search out as is your manifest duty and privilege to do, the cause of your having the feelings towards me leading you on step by step year after year acting against me Have I ever done you evil? Have I ever injured any one of your family in any manner or form? Has any member of any christian church ever witnessed against me? Am I the man that has caused by my wicked acts and life so much trouble loss and disappointment to a large community I ask in sober truth if you believe all this against me if you come to the conclusion you do believe it I ask of you then of what use facts disclosed to you (if by me) will avail or what possible encouragement I have to move another inch or to try to convince you of your mistakes If in your account against me, you shall on investigation find me charged with 40. 50. or 75.000 dollars of A. Sage &Co. money, and you find the dates to be in 1836 & 1837. to make the amount correct you won't want to alter the dates, but the monies thus charged you will before your account will be right have to put down to the debit of some one or more men whose name is not any part of it Sage, but Hawley Now Sir comes the tug Do you feel to cherish kindness and charity towards those that have been robbed and pity towards those who are the robbers you will now have a chance for the exercise of both I tell you the truth, I lie not when I say Deacon Hawley has been advised unwisely, men advising him in 1836 & in 1837 wanted money very much they took this course to get it some of the fist movers in the matter were unfriendly to me and long have been, and not as friendly to Dea. [Deacon] Hawley as he then took them to be and as he has by experience since found to be true Now who were those that wanted money and persuaded Dea. [Deacon] Hawley to hand over I say it was men human beings with deathless souls men that hated me without a cause men combined together and agreeing to break down Sage by keeping all his money in their hands and throwing all the debts against A. Sage &Co. in his way to pay They have succeeded and they have done it with money made south by A. Sage &Co. too, and I know who the men are. and you Sir are well acquainted with the men and some of them are visible members of a christian church. Men that you would be slow to believe base enough to swindle I confess it makes me feel pitiable towards them I hope I have no envious unchristian feelings towards any fellow creature Your business and my business Sir is to seek after the truth. all I ask is to have you know the facts respecting A. Sage &Co. Southern business the whole you nor I cant know in this world It was a deep laid plott cunningly planned: the fruit of it awful and Dear Sir I do rejoice and thank and praise and bless my God that tho [though] I am and every one of my family with me left poor and with miserable health I have not the goadings of guilt
[added in another hand] that all must have that have been accessary to the robbery
My desire is that you may know enough of the truth of the whole matter in time, to take a fair view of what you have been doing
Your friend & well wisher
N.B. What do you suppose was the matter of Capt. G. H. Barr or what do you suppose in other words killed him. Was it any disease of the body Barr was an honest man of himself and was it because of this or was it from - - - ask Genl. Phelps Martin or Tharon Rockwell J.C. Hayt Dr. C. or Edward C. or Dea [Deacon] Hawley
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Mr. Elijah Grant
July 23, 1842
My dear Brother,
On or about the 20th of June, I received half a sheet from Mrs. Burgess, dated Ahmednuggur [India] March 20, 1842. The information which she gave me concerning postage she wished me to communicate to you, & I will transcribe the whole which she wrote on this subject.
"The steam communication is indeed a boon to this country. Very many parents have children in England, now they can write & hear from them regularly once a month. All letters in this country pay postage according to their weight. We can send a half sheet like the one I now write upon to Bombay or to Mahabulishwar for one anna, that is, about three cents. We see, <that> by the papers, that letters of less than half an ounce weight go from England to America for single postage — for one shilling. — & single postage from here to England by Falmouth is 1s 6d. 2 1/2 sheets like what I now write upon will go or come for single postage. #
[written across first page] # Mary wrote upon paper like that English letter paper which I last spring gave to Martha.
2 1/2 such sheets weigh less than <an> 1/2 an ounce. But be sure & write upon the outside "By way of Falmouth," as by the Manscilles route the postage is more than double. The lowest postage by way of Falmouth from India to England is 1s 6d for under half an ounce weight. For an ounce the postage is doubled & so adding single postage for every half ounce up to six ounces, the largest weight they will take. A rupee & a quartes is just half an ounce avoirdupois. I suppose a half dollar would be a little less than 1/2 an ounce. Now I have been very particular on this subject, as you may not find it easy to ascertain. It was a long time before we could ascertain correctly."
In another part of the letter, Mrs Burgess says, "O what a meeting of the Board the last was. We received the N. Y. Ob. about two weeks since containing the amount. The kingdom of Christ will come, tho times may be hard. That letter made us inquire what we could do to diminish our expenses"
"Mr. Burgess sends a folio sheet, (it will go for single postage) for the N.Y. Ob. N.o.7.2.+9. on Idolatry in India. It was a subject which he wished to look into himself, & as he receives the paper for writing some for it, he wrote them. He says there will be some, not a large class, who will value the information. To many they will be dry. India & India matters, as connected with our labors require a good deal of study. We are as busy in various ways as we can be, & generally good natured & happy." "I go to my schools now a little after sunrise, & get home for breakfast about eight. I have comfort from them." "I believe some of the little girls will be saved through the truth I am enabled to communicate to them. Five of Mrs. Ballantine's larger girls wish to unite with the chh. [church] which means a great deal." "I love our missionary associates tenderly. Mrs Ballantine & Mrs. Abbott are both valuable characters."
I have transcribed from Mary's letter all that I thought you would particularly value. — On the tenth of June, Mr. B. [Burgess] & I went to Salem <in the 1 o'clock (P.M.) car> to see Mr. & Mrs. Munger, who had then just arrived in our country.
To Mrs. Munger it seemed almost incredible that we should leave home at one o'clock, spend about four hours in Salem, & reach home the same afternoon at 7 o'clock. Distance of Salem from Newport 24 miles. — Mr. Munger was in good health, & expected to labor under the direction of the Am. [American] Board while he remains in this country. — Mrs Munger's health was in some degree improved by the voyage. It was her earnest desire, that she might have her health improved, & be permitted to return. — They seemed to have highly enjoyed the society of Mr. & Mrs. Burgess on their journey from Ahmedmugger to Bombay. Jalna, where they have been stationed, is about 300 miles from Bombay.
Mr. & Mrs. M. [Munger?] could form no plans for themselves before seeing the Ex. Com. [Executive Committee] of the A.B.C.F.M. [American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions] — It was good to converse with them. — They hoped to see you & your family. — I have heard nothing concerning them, since I saw them. — During their stay of three months at Tanirahs, they forwarded the letters which they had for our country. — We recieved ours while I was in Con. [Connecticut]
For several weeks after my return home from Con. [Connecticut] our eldest daughter, Francis, was very much out of health with a cough &c. The latter part of May our son James & Richard had a short run of scarlet fever. He soon recovered, & Francis's health is much improved. Mr. Banister & Sarah have had good health. — Mr. B. [Banister] & I returned last Thursday, July 14, from Bangor, having been absent three weeks. — Next Monday we go to Amherst & to be there until after commencement on Thursday. We shall stop at Mr. Boltwood's very near the college [Mount. Holyoke Female Seminary] buildings & shall be most highly gratified to have you meet us there.
[written across last page] Should you come, we might finish our visit with you on Friday. Do come if you can.
Much love from Mr B [Banister] & myself to your family,
[Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Newbury port. Sat. morn. July 23. 1842.
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Across address:] From Father Grant to Mother when with Martha at So. Hadley Mar.'44
April 13 Paid 10
[Addressed to:] Mrs. Elizabeth Grant
Millbrook [Connecticut] April 13th 1844
Dear wife Yours of the 11th was duly received and it is with much anxiety and with embarrassed feelings that I contemplate the removal of our daughter in her low feeble state And I write to request you to take measures to get her into a carriage to ascertain whether she can bear to be removed. before we attempt to bring her home For if she should faint in riding half a mile I do not see that she can be brought home I want her and you at home very much but we cannot accomplish impossibilities Therefore I wish as above stated to have measures taken to make trial and if at all successful let the trial be repeated I <should> should now think it not expedient to come for her till week after next and then if you think best to try the experiment to come for her. I wish you to ascertain the amount of the bills of expense made up against us and inform me if you can the amount of them I think I may as well enclose a twenty dollar bill for you to use as you think best in defraying expenses that have accrued perhaps it might be as well to hand it over to Dr Thomason but act your discretion in regard to it I wish you to keep me well informed in regard to Martha If she should attempt to ride out I wish to know how she bears it and how she is compared with the time I last saw her If you should think it best should we attempt to bring Martha home to have assistance you may write to Joel whenever he may be wanted and he will undoubtedly be ready to lend his aid May the trials which we are called to bear be sanctified to us and bring us to feel our dependence on God whose we profess to be and whom we profess to serve is the prayer of your affectionate husband Elijah Grant
My best respects to Miss Lyon [Mary Grant] and all friends