Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Dea. [Deacon] Elijah Grant
Lat. 8° S. Lon. 41° S. July 1, 1839
13 weeks to day since we left Salem.
My very dear sister, Martha,
Tomorrow we expect to see Zanzebar, & the next day to land there. Two weeks ago yesterday we saw Cape Corrientes, the first land we had made on our voyage, & last Sat. we were again favored with a similar sight of Mozambique. Mozambique is a small island. We could distinguish trees, the flag staff, & could see what appeared to us buildings. Capt. [Ward] with his glass, could distinguish churches, houses, &c, & said things looked perfectly natural. He has often traded there. Mozambique is the capital of the Portuguese settlements on this coast. It was very pleasant again to see the abodes of men, though sad to think of their degraded state. The Portuguese are generally very destitute of moral principle, & are a curse to the natives. They still carry on the slave trade on this coast probably more extensively than in any other part of Africa -- It can only be done by smuggling, as it is a violation of treaty -- I feel less anxious to communicate many things in this sheet, than if I were not penning things that interest us as they occur to send home from Bombay, & besides Mr. B. [William Burgess] has engaged to write his friends through the Recorder [Missionary Recorder?], & has directed a copy of each Rec. which contains any thing from him to be sent to father. The same will be sent to Phelps, Elizabeth & Joel. Our water is still good, & we spend our time much as when I wrote last. I have written to Joel, Aunt, Mrs. J. P. Cowles, & to old acquaintances in Forsyth [Georgia] & intend to write several more letters before we reach Bombay, about the middle of Aug. We, (the missionary company) held a little meeting in the cabin, this evening for our monthly concert. -- As we are now almost eight hours east of you, prayer will be ascending in the U.S. till we rise in the morn, It is a consolation to feel that Christians pray for us, & the cause -- the more prayer, <the> more success -- Dear sister, pray for us -- pray for yourself -- pray much -- do not let little things ruffle you. If you have in time past, do not be discouraged. Whatever things occur to try our feelings & temper, tend to form our character & God is trying us by them. If we yield to impatience, & are peevish once, we let down a barrier, & are more easily led to do the same thing another time. So of any bad habit, & so of good habits. Martha, feel the importance of this, for you to have right dispositions & feelings is vastly more important than knowledge of books -- You may acquire perfect control of yourself, but not without effort, continuous effort. You will sometimes fail if you try, but when tempted, let some little prayer come up to a present God, such as "Lord, help me now" -- I feel this subject to be more important than I can express -- as it respects your own happiness, as it respects the happiness of our family as it respects your influence in the world in whatever station you may move -- Now, Martha, is the time too, -- now while you are young & at home -- Do it while young, that the habit of self control may be formed, do it while at home, for there more will occur to try you, & if you can there maintain right feeling & action the foundation will be well laid. The happiness & character of the family at home will be much affected by you -- very much.
Would you have Marcus pleasant, kind & amiable Be so yourself. Would you help Daniel & have him aid you. Let him understand that you aim at doing right, You will by so doing be a blessing to father & mother -- It is a principle of phrenology that the activity of any feeling has a tendency to excite the same feeling in those around us, either good or bad -- Martha, you may tear off this half of the sheet -- keep it for yourself, if you please. I have thought of many things since I left home that I wished I had said to you. -- It was hard for me to leave you, I never felt such a tender love for you -- but my time was so short, & I had so many to see, & so much to do that I forgot many things. But one thing try to improve at home, try to make home happy. Do not feel that you cannot improve unless you are in school, or away at school -- I think home is a good place to improve by reading -- improve by conversing with father & mother -- It will give them pleasure to see you desirous to learn from them, & they will be happy to instruct you. Feel that you can thus learn much. I think you did improve the last year I was away. I know you will have much work to do -- I fear too much to take care of our great house. I hope all will try to help you to keep it neat. Do not injure yourself by lifting -- feel always that you have no right to injure your health -- Health is inexpressibly precious. the Lord bless & guide my dear sister.
I send this letter to Salem [Massachusetts] by ship Augustus Capt Willet. He expects to sail Aug 1. I shall send again when we reach Bombay.
[written across front] My dear Martha, Watts on the Mind would be an excellent book for mother & you to read together. I wish you would read a few pages together in it & talk about it together every day. You remember how sister A. [Abigail?] used to read to mother. You may even be the means of making mother more heavenly. If Aunt G Grant comes to our house treat her for my sake, as well as your own, with tenderness & affection. You will love & prize her always the more you know her. I feel M. [Martha] that you must write me -- write sisterly. Tell me what are your joys & trials, your wants. I hope you will not have so much house work to do but that you can sew a good deal. I did not sew enough the first 18 years of my life. Your aff. [affectionate] sister, M. [Mary Grant] Burgess
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Miss Martha Grant
New Haven [Connecticut], Dec. 21 1840
I am so far reovered that I now begin a letter to you although I am yet weak, & as you see can write but poorly. I do not know when I shall finish this, for I suppose I shall be unable to write long at a time. The wounds on my back are almost healed & I suffer no pain except that arising from weakness. I suppose you know but little about my situation for you have heard no particulars. I do not know what Mr. Gilbert wrote but suppose it was but little, but in fact there is not much worth writing. You can think how a person with two huge wounds in the places where mine are, having such an immediate connection with the shoulder & head, must be situated. My arms indeed I have been able to move to considerable degree, but till within a day or two I have not suffered myself to move my shoulders, or to lie on my side. I can hold up my head without very much difficulty but the muscles in the back of the neck are much weakened. You will perhaps wonder how I lay in such a condition I will tell you, I lay flat on my back, & that too for about a week. I indeed lay so from the time of the operation, which was Wed. P.M. at 2 o'clock instead of eleven A.M. as was expected, until Sat about noon without rising, when on the Dr. coming they raised me up on the side of the bed, but I immediately became so faint that they laid me down again. The next day the Dr. dressed it when I got along with it very well
Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Yesterday after writing the above Mr. Hill's son brought me a letter from the P.O. [Post Office] which I soon foun<n>d to be from you. I was exceedingly glad of it. You write that you have some sleighing, but there is none here except what fell last night & this morning & that is not enough to make sleighing. There was a little <sp> snow here when I came here but it had all disappeared except the drifts. Last night there fell <a th> two or three inches of snow. In answer to mother's inquiries I reply that now I sit up most of the day time, wear all my usual clothing except a coat can use my arms considerably, help myself to food, have a good appetite & sleep very well & am very comfortable but shall be confined to my room yet a few days. I have <been> hoped to be able to attend church at Christmas either at the Catholic or one of the Episcopal churches, but fear I shall not yet as the Catholic church is but a few rods from the Hospital it is possible I shall attend there at that time Perhaps you would like a brief description of the Hospital &c. It is situated a little out of the thickly peopled part of the city on a slight rise of ground, in a pleasant situation, with a large and beautiful yard in front. It is a very large building & presents a beautiful appearance. It is very high, higher than you might suppose by knowing it to be three or four stories, for the rooms are 12 or 14 feet high The center part is three stories besides rooms still higher lighted in the top of which is the room for operations. The wings are also three stories. The room which I occupy is in the second story, is about the size of our east room. The furniture consists of two single beds, a stand, wash stand, three or four chairs &c. Coal is used for warming the room There are at present but two patients beside myself in the Hospital. There was one left yesterday but another was brought, the captain of a vessel, who yesterday morning brok[e] his leg the other is <one> a lady who has been here some years. Dr. Henigh has to day dressed my back, says I have got along very well indeed, all healed but a very small spot & that almost to the surface. You have I <sp> suppose been informed that there were three or four distinct tumors removed, though perhaps you do not know that the same are extended across to both sides, passing between two of the projectures of the spine. The operation was double or more that of last year, & extremely painful, the fever was but little more than at that time. About 50 persons were present to witness the operation that is including the surgeons. The whole medical class was present, Mr. Gilbert & Mr. Bull, of whom you have heard me speak & Mr. Hill steward of the Hospital. The operating room is constructed for the purpose of accommodating medical students & others with seats, made in a semicircle those farther back higher than those in front so that all may see, & in the center is a place with a low railing for the surgeons & patient. Mr. Bull could not endure the sight but left the room imme- on the commencement of the operation. I find Mr. Bull & his wife the same kind people as formerly; last Wednesday they came to my room & made a short stay & brought me some little notions which did me much good Mr. Gilbert has called a number of times & generally staid over night with me. I have not been alone all night yet but shall to-night
I mean to send this to-morrow but as letters either way must rest one day on the way I presume you will not get it till sat. I <dd> do not know as you can read it the pen is poor & I have no knife & I have to write just as fast as I can for it makes my back ache to bend down to write
It is two weeks to-morrow since the operation. Do not know when I shall come probably in a week or two. Yours aff. [affectionately] John
You must write again. I want to know all about things.
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Original not in file, from typed transcript]
AN ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF MRS. BURGESS, FROM A LETTER WRITTEN BY HER HUSBAND. SENT FROM MILLBROOK, CT. TO MISS MARTHA GRANT IN SOUTH HADLEY, MASS. OCT. 31, 1842.
July 3, 1842
My dear friends; -- I have this morning returned home, after an absence of 15 days and oh! what a return! The voice of my dear Mary [Grant Burgess] does not greet me, for it is hushed in the silent tomb; -- & I shall never hear it again in this world. I shall never see that sweet face again this side of the grave. At my last return home, but one week before I left on my late journey, -- with what affection did she welcome me! I shall never forget the tones of her voice as she met me at the head of the stairs; -- "Is it you, Mr. Burgess? Has my dear husband come?" Our dear Mary died on the 24th of June, of the cholera. She was taken unwell about 8 o'clock in the morning & at about 5 OC. P.M. of the same day, her spirit left this world of pains & trials for a world where these are never known. I was not here, to go with her to the dark valley; -- but she had friends, who did all for her I would have done. Her Savior too, was near her & supported her. -- When the intelligence of her departure reached me I was at Jalna, about 100 miles from this place. I was then ill myself, under the care of a physician; -- so ill that to hasten my return would endanger my own life. As soon as I became able I set out on my return, in the safest and most expeditious way; & reached home about 4 1/2 OC. in the morning. Oh, my desolate home! Oh, my poor orphan boy! but God is with me, and supports me. Since the first anguish of feeling was over I have been tranquil, cheerful, and happy. In all that lonely way, returning, my peace of mind was perfect. God was my rock; never was I more full of hope and courage with regard to myself, or the mission. God has done it; He knows best how to carry on his own work.
Who shall dictate to him the means he shall employ? How easy for Him, to make an impression, by her death, which many years of faithful labor would not have done. We already feel that the influence is mighty. It appears an important link in that chain of causes, and influences, necessary to accomplish the work for which she came.
July 6th This afternoon, I went with my little son Edwin, to visit the grave of her who was so dear. A strange mixture of feelings arose on thinking that that beloved form was only a few feet distance from where I stood, and I could not see it. I can never see it again. Edwin has been quite sick. I have great reason to fear that he will never be well. Should he live he may be a great source of happiness to me. We often conversed about the happiness the dear boy would afford the survivor, should one of us be taken away. Should the Lord remove him, also, the stroke would be very distressing: -- but not equal to the one just suffered in the loss of his mother. My only prayer is, prepare me for Thy Holy will, and enable me to fulfill my course with honor to my Savior. Must dear E. [Edwin] go to? The Lord's will be done. If the Lord supports me, I can bear up under it; -- if not, I can endure nothing, do nothing. I regard the experience of the last week as of almost infinite value. Can I doubt that this stroke, which I now feel so keenly, will in the end, prove for my good. For some months past my beloved wife, & I, have often and freely conversed, on the subject of death. The importance of having our house set in order has been particularly impressed upon my own mind; & she has had the same feeling. This was especially the case just before I left home the last time. A gloom seemed to rest upon us. Edwin was quite sick: I was about to leave home on an arduous journey: the season was not the best for traveling; owing to the rains: yet there seemed no good reason for my remaining at home, excepting, fears, undefined fears. So after laboring hard, to have my accounts in as good a state as possible; -- & providing as well as we could against all emergencies, -- I got off on horseback for Jalna, on the 18th of June. I had the two-fold object in view of visiting Jalna, where we have missionary operations, & of preaching, & distributing books in the villages on the way. I reached Jalna on the 23rd. In the afternoon of the 25th I received the following letter from Mr. Abbott, written June 24th 1842.
"Dear Brother: -- Our dear sister [Mary Grant] Burgess was attacked this morning with cholera, & we are all at your house, waiting with great anxiety, the result; & doing everything that can be done. An hour or two will decide the case. She says her Savior is near to her; still she feels very much for you & Edwin. We still hope for her recovery, -- but you will trust in God, & prepare to hear that she has gone to her rest."
You may imagine the effect which such intelligence, so sudden, so unexpected, had upon me. After an hour or two of great mental suffering my mind became calm, & unusually cheerful. The mail did not come in the next day, which was the Sabbath. On monday morning I received the following from Mr. Ballantine June 25th 1842.
Dear Brother Burgess: -- Mr. Abbott's note of yesterday, informing you of Mrs. B's [Mary Grant Burgess] illness, & doubtless prepared you to hear the worst. We looked in vain, for a change for the better. She revived a little, but soon sunk under the power of the disease; & about 5 OC. breathed her last. We have this morning, followed her remains to the silent tomb. It is a day of intense grief to us all, -- for she who was the life of our little circle, has been suddenly removed from us. For you our hearts bleed, for we know what she was to you. But we hope God will sustain you. Indeed there is great cause of gratitude in view of the circumstances of her death. Her mind was clear, & unclouded, to the last. It scarcely wandered for a moment. Her hope was firm. Mrs. Ballantine asked her if she had any fear of death! She said -- "No -- not the least" She also remarked -- "How easy it is to die; no pain --" At one time she turned to Dr. Atkinson & said -- "How important is it to be prepared for death" I remarked to her, I suppose you feel safe and happy? She replied, -- "Yes" -- & added -- "I have done but little -- but for Christ's sake God will accept me" These expressions will show you the state of her mind. Miss [Cynthia] Farrar and Mrs. Ballantine had considerable conversation with her just before her death. The stroke was very sudden to us. In the morning we met her out on the road as she took her usual drive with Edwin, & we promised to go and take tea with her in the evening. She remarked that Miss [Cynthia] Farrar was more feeble that Edwin had had a fevor night, & did not appear to be so well, but she said nothing about herself. We afterwards learned that she went to visit her schools before returning home; but finding herself unable to do anything in consequence of sickness & pain she rode home & took medicine -------
the funeral was attended this morning. Several of our English friends, and crowds of natives, were present. Many were deeply affected. All seemed to feel a deep sympathy with us, & especially for you. The funeral services were very impressive. Mr. Jackson officiated and he has been very kind in giving us much assistance thus God has broken in upon our little circle & who could have been better prepared than Mrs. Burgess? Oh how we loved her! who can make her place good? But she is in heaven & happy in the enjoyment of God. All connected with us went to your house, yesterday, to see her, before her death. May it lead them to think of that salvation which she desired to teach them. I know you will almost dread to come home. The thought of seeing your house desolate will be painful. May you be enabled to endure this, through him who is the source of all consolation. Little E. [Edwin] is with us. he appears to be gaining. He is happy in the company of our children. Poor boy! he does not understand his loss. Mrs. B. said several times, "my dear husband." "But God will take care of him & my little boy". Yours in deep affliction --
I leave you to imagine my feelings on the reception of the above letter. Oh, what would I not have given to have been there present. But God orders all things right & I bless Him that I can submit without a murmur.
July 8th -- Dear E. [Edwin] is worse, today; & I have but little hope of his recovery. I bless the Lord that I am able to say "thy holy will be done" ----- as I looked, today upon the dear one, my anguish has been great. When he fell sick at first I thought, if he should die, Mary would be left, but Mary was taken. Then thought I, dear Edwin is left. What a source of happiness he will be! Now it seems he must go too. Well -- so be it -- if I am bereaved -- I am bereaved. My only prayer is -- O Lord sustain me, and keep me from sinning against thee, & enable me to do all thou hast for me to do. What God intends to do with me I know not. One thing appears certain; if He does not support me I shall sink under my trials. I am willing to suffer all my heavenly father sees fit to lay upon me; only may he sustain me. O my poor frail nature! Lord -- have mercy.
July 9th E. [Edwin] is much better to day & I have more hope of his recovery. I have been thinking how Abraham must have felt when his son was restored to him.
July 10th Today I have been filled with joy, by hearing that one of our most promising teachers has expressed a resolution to become a christian. What glorious news! Another Bramin came in this morning as he was about to start for a distant village. His mind has been extremely tender since Mrs. B's death. He often used to call and converse with us in the subject of the Christian religion; and has sometimes manifested concern respecting his salvation. I have never, before, seen him apparently, so much wrought upon, by the spirit. We have strong hope that he will come out on the side of Christ. May he have the influence of the spirit.
July 12th E. [Edwin] seems to be growing weaker & weaker. The Dr. has but little hope of him. What have I to do but pray. O, Lord prepare me & the child for thy holy pleasure respecting us. I have often given him to the Lord; or rather, confessed with my whole heart, that I regard him as the Lords, & not mine: & I would not now, retract these conversions. There is something painful in the thought that you it must be two or three months before you and other friends will hear that Mary [Grant Burgess] has gone to her rest. How I would like to see you all! but that cannot be. I can only communicate in this poor way. It is a relief thus freely to express my feelings.
July 16th Our letters start for Bombay today; the steamers leave that place on the 19th I have never seen the time when all the powers of my soul were in such a state of activity. I have never performed anything like such an amount of mental labor in the same length of time. We are just making out our semiannual report & our quarterly meeting of the mission is at hand. Much labor has fallen upon me; much care respecting E.; writing to friends in America; all within thirteen days after returning to my desolate home. This is favorable; much better than if I was left to brood over my loss. Even when everything around me reminds me of my bereavement I can turn my mind with pleasure, & efficiency, to those things which concern my labors; can dwell, with the light on the goodness of God, the sureness of his promises, the thousand encouragements we have to prosecute our labors. -- -- My dear wife has left me, it is true; but she has only gone to heaven a little before me, -- & is beyond the reach of sin & pain. How I love to sing -- "Ah lovely appearance of death" -- & that line, -- "No longer a sinner like me". How much meaning it contains! O -- that my mind could always retain that heavenly savor -- weanedness from the world, -- which has pervaded it since Mary's death. It is a painful thought that I must remain & mingle in the scenes of temptation; that I must with such a depraved heart endure the trials of living. Oh how sweet would be the summons to follow my beloved wife! But then my poor boy! The mission, -- the poor brethren! I would if God wills still live & toil & suffer. I wish to be like a helpless child in the arms of my heavenly father. I am as nothing. With out divine support what would have become of me! That support has been granted. But I have not even the poor merit of having prayed for what I have received. I have prayed, & often too, for support, in this trying hour. But I never had an idea of anything at all adequate to what is the reality. Still there is nothing rapturous; only a perfect assurance that God will do all things right. God is a rock, God seems to have given me sober views which look into eternity; which look at things comparatively in all their connections; -- which enable me to see the inconstency of judging of all, where I can see only a part. Spiritual things seem clothed with a reality which they never wore before.
Dear friends farewell; we shall soon meet with that loved one who has gone before us. Perhaps you & she have met already.
Yours truly as ever,
EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER WRITTEN BY MRS. CYNTHIA FARRAR WHOSE HOME WAS IN THE FAMILY OF MR. BURGESS. THE STATEMENTS IN BRACKETS ARE TAKEN FROM OTHER LETTERS.
"You doubtless have heard of my long confinement at the Makabulishwur Hills, in consequence of feeble health. When I arrived here, June 3rd I thought Mrs. [Mary Grant] Burgess did not look so strong as when I left. She looked service-worn. As soon as I felt sufficiently rested from the fatigue of my journey, we entered into the arrangement that when she visited the two schools which I left in her case, on going to the hills, she would not stop to hear the girls reading lessons, but would send them to me, at the house, until I should be able to go to the school. When Mr. Burgess with two of the native Christian brethren set off on the 18th of June for Jalna, little Edwin was not well; but the Dr. did not think that much ailed him; & he expected that he would soon be better. He however continued feeble. [all a mothers anxieties were awakened by the state of the child; -- & she seemed to quite forget herself in her desire to do constantly for him. She remarked -- "I fear this is Edwin's last sickness." Her rest was much disturbed at night, -- & we've all greatly feared that her own health would suffer. No doubt this fatigue & care made her much more easily the victim of the cholera, then raging here] On wednesday night the 22 both mother & child slept well, -- & in the morning, they seemed refreshed. She appeared well, he much better. We went out together for a drive, -- & on our return, stopped & took breakfast with Mrs. & Mr. Ballantine; -- had a pleasant time, -- arrived home, -- & had a quite pleasant day. The next morning, Friday the 24th, on her return from the drive with Edwin, she looked so pale I inquired the cause. She said she did not rest so well as the night before; -- & was not feeling quite well in the morning, she took a little medicine. I professed her going to her chamber & keeping very quiet; -- that I would see that little Edwin had his breakfast -- & was taken care of; -- & as soon as my rice gruel was ready I would send her some. All this was done. Between 9 & 10 OC. I observed the servant to carry her a cup of tea, which led me to think she was better. After a short reading lesson I dismissed my girls, between 10 & 11 O.C. to go up stairs; but from sickness, occasioned by medicine, I was unable to do so, for a little time. On my second attempt to go to her the servant met me, saying that if I was able to come upstairs, Mrs. [Mary Grant] Burgess wished to see me. I hastened to her, without delay ["from the time of Miss [Cynthia] Farrar's return from the Hills, she had not been able to ascend a flight of stairs."] The moment I saw her a chill went to my heart. Clasping her cold purple hands I exclaimed -- "O my dear sister, how very ill you are"! "Yes," she said, "& -- I do not know but I am dying." I answered it may be so". To one standing by I said, go quickly for Dr. Atkinson. She said, "I have sent for him, twice, --- & I think he will be here soon. I then sent for the brethren & sisters of the mission, -- & for the European nurse, at the hospital Until they arrived, the two native girls Mrs. [Mary Grant] Burgess & I had living with us, assisted me, in doing what we could to arrest the deadly chill that seemed fast pervading the whole system. There was not the least action from the stomach, but an apparent cessation of action throughout the whole system. ["Mortification seems to have taken place, in the extremities, soon after she was taken. This shows the nature of the disease."] I asked her if she could cheerfully acquiese in the disposition, should God now in the sudden manner, call her to leave the world? She raised her eyes upward, -- paused for a moment, -- then said, -- "I think I can. Should this be my last sickness, how quick & easy will be my release from this body, -- & from the world! But -- O -- my poor dear husband! What will he do? -- And -- my poor motherless child! What will become of him? But God will be gracious, He will be merciful, I know He will. I can leave them in His hands; I can trust Him. He will do all things well." We spoke of the conversations & promises of the gospel; -- repeated texts of scripture; -- &, alluding to our work among the heathen, she expressed no regret for the sacrifices, she had made; -- but rejoiced that she had been accounted worthy to manifest her attachment to the cause of Christ. She was so composed, -- so cheerful, -- so rational, -- so natural were the tones of her voice, -- & the expression of her countenance, -- that there was no occasion for a tear. Oh how precious the recollection! I love to ponder on the mournful -- sweet -- scene of her last hours, -- her last days Yes -- on the varied scenes of all the days I ever knew her, o, how dear she was to me, -- to us all! & deservedly so. May the savor of her life so far as it savored of Christ, be as holy ointment to chastened souls, Nature weeps, but does not murmur. She frequently spoke of her family with tenderest emotions. She suffered but little after I saw her, except from a painful kind of restlessness which seemed to pervade the whole frame. My feebleness compelled me to retire as soon as those I sent for had arrived. They continued. with her until the last, -- using every means that wisdom or experience could devise, for arresting the process of the dreadful disease. When I was told that there remained no longer any hope of her recovery, I went again, to her bedside. She appeared perfectly rational & composed. As I took her hand I said to her, you now feel that you will soon be with your blessed savior; -- She replied -- "yes, -- & I feel that he is near, -- & precious." I then asked her if she had anything to say to me? She said "yes -- I have much that I wish to say to you but I have not strength." --
Between 4 & 5 OC. P.M. the door of the upper sanctuary opened to her. -- Jesus called, -- she cheerfully answered -- "I come to Thee." She entered in -- & is safe. From that peaceful pensive moment I shall see her no more, until the glorious resurrection of the just. Her remains were interred early the next morning; & at 5 OC. P.M. we had a prayer meeting here at the lonely dwelling; & a most excellent address from Mr. Ballantine from John 11. Here too, nature wept, -- but not without hope. Like her may we be ready; Like her, happy in prospect of our great change. -- Pray for us.
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER FROM MRS. BALLANTINE
Mrs. [Mary Grant] Burgess said to Mrs. Abbott, -- "Well, this is cholera: it is different from what I thought it was. I have not much pain." Mr. Abbott said to her, "What a comfort it is to one, in your situation, to be able to trust in the savior"! "Yes" -- said she; -- "I have lived very far from Him; -- but if I go, I think He will receive me. He appears near to me & I think I can trust in Him. What will become of poor Mr. Burgess"! An hour after this He said to her, -- "what a blessing, that we can cast all our care upon God, leave every want with Him."! -- she replied, -- "Yes, -- it is indeed; yes, -- all our cares; -- yes, -- yes." This we suppose she said in reference to Mr. Burgess, & her little boy [Edwin]. Upon opening her eyes, after they had been some time closed, she fixed them upon me & said, -- "Dear sister, do sit down". The Dr. now brought her some soda, & asked, "Do you think you can take this"? "Yes said She "if you think it best." This was her uniform reply to him, whenever he offered her medicine. About 3 O.C. she went to sleep, & appeared to sleep quietly for some time. When she awoke she said to me, -- "I am better," "You have been praying for me have you not"? "I think I Shall recover". The Dr. then brought her some more soda. She looking upon him & said, "I believe I have been wandering; & that made me think I was better than I really am". Then taking the drink she said, -- "How I want you all to take care of yourselves. I then said to her "You feel that you are almost home, do you not"? "Yes" said She. I then asked, "have you any fear of death"? She paused a little & said in an expressive tone, "No." I asked what shall I say to Mr. Burgess for you? She quickly said -- "My poor husband," -- "my dear husband; -- but he is a man of God, -- & he will be comforted. Then after a few moments of deep thought, she lifted her eyes to heaven, & exclaimed, Oh, -- to God be all the glory, -- all the glory, -- all the glory. A little after this she looked up to me and said, -- you will be kind to Edwin I feel that you will. She now began to sink rapidly: & when I supposed her almost gone, I said to her, -- "Miss Burgess do you know me"? She looked up with a peculiarly sweet expression of countenance, & said in a firm tone, "It is dear sister Ballantine". From that time She could no more be roused; & she sank away as quietly as a little infant to its slumbers. -------- She had her reason so perfectly, -- was so free from pain, -- & above all, so full of peace, that we must all feel that she was "let down, to the grave, most gently". I trust it has done us all good. Our native brethren & sisters have seen a Christian die; & we have all of us gained new, & clearer views of death, as it is to the child of God. --------- Mrs. [Mary Grant] Burgess was with us only a short time; but we do not measure her usefulness by years. We feel that few have done more for this people than she. Her prayers for them were many, fervent , & heartfelt; She had four schools to which she devoted a good deal of her time, energy & thoughts. These schools were in the city; -- & visiting them from week to week she became extensively known to the girls mothers & to many women in the neighborhood. Often would they collect around her in little companies, and she would tell them of Christ, & of his salvation. Since her death these women speak of her in the most interesting manner. "A more cheerful happy person", say "They we never knew." She had many calls from the natives, -- & no one was ever suffered to go away from her without some word of instruction. Often would she say to me, -- "Now speak a word to this person, -- or to that," -- when we might. It was evident from the first that Mrs. Burgess meant to spend, & be spent for this people. She labored with all her heart & all her strength. ----------- the native brethren & sisters loved her ardently: -- & they now mourn & weep. As for ourselves we feel stricken & afflicted. She always came among us with so smiling peaceful a countenance as to impart life and joy to us all ------------ we try to inquire why it has been necessary for God to afflict us so deeply? The harvest here is great, & the laborers are few. We hope we may now say, Lord is it enough; -- stay now & thine hand; -- & spare us to labor on; -- &, o, accept our labors. ----------- The death of Mrs. [Mary Grant] Burgess will be a shock to you & to all her friends. May an abundant measure of grace be vouchsafed you, -- & support you all. I know you must all have ardently loved her, -- for she was worthy of your warmest love. She loved her parents, brothers, & sisters, ardently. She often spoke of them with great interest.
EXTRACT FROM ANOTHER LETTER OF MR. BURGESS. JULY 16
Little Edwin is better today. He appears to be gaining & we have strong hopes of his recovery.
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Miss Martha Grant
Mt. Holyoke Fem. Sem. [Mount. Holyoke Female Seminary]
New Haven [Connecticut], Oct. 24, 1842
I recieved your letter last Friday which though it came late as I thought was very gladly recieved. I thought you would let me know how you succeeded in your examination, &c as soon as you had completed them. I had however resolved to write to you soon even though I did not hear from you, when I recieved your letter. And as there is no longer occasion for blaming you for not having written I only express the hope you will be punctual in future. And here I wish to enjoin it upon you that you write to me often & it is better to have started periods at which to write, & never for any ordinary reason neglect to write at those times. If however you adopt this plan you need not feel that you not write till the fixed time arrives, in case any thing more than ordinary occurs. But I judge from experience that a fixed time in such matters is very desirable. And as the same periods will be adapted by me I propose that you write me as often as once in three weeks at the farthest I also will do the same. I wish to know all about you & the circumstances in which you are placed.
You gave me no account of your situation in any respect, perhaps because you are hardly yet established in your new home; but remember I want to know all about your situation. -- I am gratified with your prospect of enjoyment there as also that you have gained an easy admittance. I doubt not you will enjoy it very much if you are faithful to yourself & companions. I do sincerely hope that you have an agreeable & amiable roommate, & that you will do your part toward promoting her happiness. In your next tell me about her. You must bear in mind that while you are there together your happiness in a great degree depends on each other. You will, you may be assured, have some trials & perplexities. I am so far acquainted with the manner of life you are now purusing as to know that you will meet with much to perplex you in your studies. (that is, if they are as difficult as I believe them to be). But yet even these difficulties if overcome by diligence may be made a source of pleasure. Yet as I do not mean to assume very extensively the character of an adviser I leave these things to your own judgment.
I have not hear from home since I left which is indeed wonderful under the present circumstances. I had however recieved the melancally intelligence of our sister's death through <an> Mr Hoyt's people who saw the notice of it in the New York Observer. Two weeks ago this evening as I happened to call there they imparted the information, which was indeed a heavy stroke To think that she is no longer living upon this earth is truly a meloncholy though & that she died in a heathen land far from home & the kindness of friends. How bitterly I grieve when I think of her kindness to me & how little I have heeded the voice of entreaty & the words of warning with which she pressed me to leave the destructive ways of sin & do my duty to my God. When I think of these, I do confess to you, dearest sister, how earnestly she longed & prayed for my conversion, I am overwhelmed with the enormity of my guilt & in gratitude & while the bitter tears flow fast I think I do feel a strong desire even now late as it is to heed that warning voice, & that this affliction which God has seen fit to bring upon us may be blest to me. Will not you dear sister entreat God for me that the prayers of our dear departed sister may yet be answered for me & that this which seems an affliction may be in reality a great blessing to us all. I feel that I can say that my earnest desire is to be what she with you & my other christian friends so earnestly desired. I find here among my classmates friends who sympathize with me & who also warn me to heed the voice which calls me in this dispensation. Your earnest appeal too was not wholly with out effect on my heart & through the many influences bearing upon I do hope that I shall brought to a different course of life. I do not feel as though our sister's departure. & release from labors & trials was cause for very deep sorrow except for the sake of the cause to which she had devoted herself & of her husband left alone in the land of darkness but I mourn my ungrateful neglect of her advice & counsel much more than that, although it is sad to think that she is no more. -- No particulars concerning our sister's death have yet been recieved, I suppose, & as you will probably hear as soon as any one will you not communicate the same to me at the earliest opportunity --
I rejoice that you though among strangers are among those who sympathize with you that you are among those who knew her & who themselves mourn the fate that took her away in the midst of usefulness. I have no time or room to write more now & must draw to a close I wish you wd write again soon & would propose that you permit me to expect a letter by the last of next week if not sooner.
Your affectionate brother
[written across second page] You must excuse the numerous mistakes for I have not time to correct them, will try to do better next time. Excuse these blots also. &c.
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Miss Martha Grant
South Hadley [Massachusetts] May 18 '44
To the great joy of us all, Tuesday eve has come and we can have a little rest from study. You cannot imagine what a sleepy set we have been since vacation, owing partly to the warm weather I suppose. Is it not curious that the heat should return with our returning here? I have felt a little as you anticipated since last Friday, though on the great whole as Miss [Mary] Lyon tells us about, I am quite happy. Cynthia Bowen has not returned yet, and as she is soon expected, and Miss Moore says "she would be clear killed up" if she should give another room mate, I am living an unsettled life as usual. A part of my things are in 39, and one draw full in 44, where I stay with Jane & Hattie Miles if I am a mind, and have permission to sleep with L. Pomeroy with whom I stay considerable. I love her very much.
There is to be general change of room mates tomorrow C. Huntington & L. Pomeroy are to room together. Augusta Wheeler & Hattie Miles in 44. & Susy Tollman & J. Miles are going to the <second> 3'd story. Tomorow I am going to stay in 47. with J. Chapman. I shall love to be so near Nancy F. She is delighted with her visit to Colebrook [Connecticut]. Says she did not see you half enough. Some of the most interesting items of her visit she will allow me to tell you when I go home. Julia & her brother G. came with her to Springfield [Massachusetts]. She arrived here a little while before we did Oh Martha you cannot think how much I wish you here to night. I feel like sitting down and pouring into your ears many many things that 'twould be foolish to tell any one here. I want to have you know what a happy, delightful ride & visit we had coming here. I think I never before enjoyed one as much. And a great many other things there are which would interest both of us, that must remain till I see you. I am writing in 44 Nancy just came in and asked me to write with her, to you. Told her I had begun first, and she might have part of this sheet. I suppose you are lying alone in your chamber at this hour, perchance a thought of your absent friend steals over you. She would dearly love to sit by your side to night & minister to your wants. good night Abigail --
[written across side of first page] Wednesday 10 o'clock. June 12. I have finished my extra work spent half an our in the reading room, & combed, washed and dressed for the day, and am now determined to finish this letter, which has been begun as you see by the date more than two weeks. You can easily divine the reason, knowing as you do what a busy people we are. They have told us a great deal about having leasure for reading, sewing &c this summer, but where it is, I know not. I was never more hurried Euclid, Smellie, Grammar, Botanical terms, with composition, walking, domestic duties, & the innumerable etceteras here take all the time, for the want of which I do not sing! Did you know those B. [botanical] terms were arranged by Miss Moore & printer for the special use of the Sem [Mount. Holyoke Female Seminary]? And did you ever study any thing so hateful. They are the most hateful. They are the most uninteresting of all things, without exception -- & I have a good mind never to take one up again -- Cynthia B. came back last Friday, & we are staying in 39. now. next week we are going in 3d story, no. 50 next to Nancy's room. Esther Cook is going to spend the summer in New Haven [Connecticut] with an aunt. I shall rejoice if we ever get settled. There has been a general change in the dining hall, arrangements some tables moved &c. all the the N. division on one side & the S. on the other I sit at Miss Lucy's table No. 7. Miss Bridge, between Miss [Mary] Lyon & Whitman -- Miss Moore as usual I am on the tablecloth circle -- iron four every morning soon after breakfast, & lead on the ironing circle Sat. one hour I like it much better than working in the D. Hall.
Miss Moore has just sent word that we are not to continue our Smellie, we have so much to do
South Hadley [Massachusetts], June 5, 1844
There is a sort of strange feeling in taking one's pen for the first time to address a friend, however dear, but it shall not prevent my fulfilling the promise I made you. If what I can write will make one long hour seems shorter I shall think myself most happy. This is the eve of a long, pleasant recreation day; made doubly so by the enjoyment of a social visit in town. A party this afternoon went over to "Pearl city," they numbered 45 including their gallant, "President Hawk" They seemed to enjoy themselves much. Indeed, we have the prospect of a very pleasant summer; the young ladies seem more than usually contented, for the summer term, You know by experience how long it seems. The last two weeks have passed more rapidly than my most anxious moments would have wished. Especially after an equal time of vacation spent so agreeably. That was a pleasant visit; and I shall love to remember it. My stay at your house was not so long as my wishes would have said; but I thought you must be so fatigued with company that my longer stay would weary you. And how are you to-night? I will hope "better." Yes really so. I often wish I might run in and sit with you a while -- but instead can only think of you, but that is some pleasure as I know how you look. You must sometimes have lonely hours I think; but hope they are few and far between. And no doubt in such hours you love to cast "all your care on Him who careth for you" knowing that "these light afflictions which are but for a moment work out for us a far more exceeding & eternal weight of glory." I hope you are able to enjoy riding this fine weather, we find walking very pleasant these days, if it comes at the right time. Abby is now in No. 55. with J. Miles, 'till Susan's return, We hope she will soon be neighbor to us. I left her not long since busily engaged in writing to her New Haven [Connecticut] correspondent from whom she received a letter a day or two since. Sarah wishes to be remembered to you in love, Please accept much also for yourself and your dear mother, (tell her I shall not forget her.) from your friend and sister Nancy A. Toole.
Professor Hitchcock is to finish his course of lectures of Anatomy, Physiology in a few days, I wish your mother might be here to hear the conclusion
N [Nancy A. Toole] --
[written across side of the page in another hand] I am going to fill up all the vacant places in this. Do not you have very cool weather? we do. Yesterday a great many of the girls had fires in their rooms. The front yard is very beautiful all in bloom. I wish you could see it. The roses & pinks are particularly handsome The back grounds <too> are not to be surpassed by any thing -- On the whole I think this is almost the pleasantest spot on earth; and I rejoice that Providence directed me here. If I could only learn all I want to by, coming I should feel better satisfied Have to day finished my private examination in Gen. [Genesis] History, marked 3. I guess. We are all dreading Algebra. Miss Lucy is to examine us, I do not expect to get 3. in that. The bell rings for missionary meeting so I must go.
After missionary meeting we have had a recent letter from Miss H. read, giving an account of the interesting state of her school. There are a few cases of hopeful conversion She writes in the same happy state. Although trials must be hers, joy such as the world knows not of fills her heart. She writes that she had long watched over & prayed with a woman who was anxious for her soul, & when she began to hope she was a christian she almost felt like Simeon of old. "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace" she adds, "I would not now go if it is the will of my Father that I may yet do much more for him here." Our missionary meetings are among the precious things of this Sem. [Mount. Holyoke Female Seminary] I hope & trust many may go from here to various parts of the world to do good like Miss H.
Holyoke Sem. [Mount. Holyoke Female Seminary]
June 11, 1844
My Dear Martha,
Abby has very kindly given me a place in her letter in which I may write you a few lines, and I very gladly accept of the opportunity of doing so, for I love to write to those I call my friends And now if you would like to take a peep at me in my new home, I will just introduce you to No 55 in the third story, where Suzy & I are both seated writing. It is recreation evening, and as you may guess we are glad enough to lay by our studies, and get a little rest, if the work of a recreation day can be called rest. C Bowen & Anna both returned the same day, so that Abby nor I were either of us unprovided for as to a roommate, But I must stop no longer to tell you of our affairs for I wish to inquire after your health and happiness I should think you would be rather lonesome sometimes, though it seems to me it must be a good sort of lonesomeness. Would that I might give you a call tonight, and look upon you with my own eyes, and perchance minister to your wants. But I cannot to night -- for the retiring bell has rung & I must bid you Good bye. Give my best love to your mother, and in bestowing it upon her, forget not to reserve a large share for yourself. -- From your ever affectionate friend. -- Jane M Miles.
My Dear Martha Wednesday Morn.
I too may have a place on Abby's sheet, and though I would love dearly to write you a whole letter, I trust a little piece of one will be better than none at all. I must tell you what a long vacation I have had. I returned last Friday, having been at home four weeks. But was I satisfied, and ready to come back? no gladly would I have staid longer still I was not sorry to return. On Wednesday last my only brother was married that was the reason my vacation was so long. A very pleasant wedding we had (if any wedding may be called pleasant) instead of losing a sister as I have before I have gained one, and I trust a valuable one. I have to study some to make up lost time. We are all Botanising much this summer We have just commenced upon private examinations; you will remember how very delightful those are. Next week we go to the mountain if the weather permits and to day a strawberry excursion is intended. I should love to look in upon you this morn -- and give you one kiss. I trust you are better much. Give much love to your dear Mother. Affectionately Susy Tolman
[written across side of third page] I have written in great haste but I know you can overlook it all knowing in what haste we Holyoke girls live. My love to Julia Stillman
[written across side of third page in another hand] Don't believe you can read it all.
Do let us hear from you some way, if no one else can, Olivia can write for you
my love to her, Abby
[written across side of fourth page]
I do not suppose you will be able to read all this long letter at one time, but I know you will love to read it as you have strength so to do. How are you now, do you sit up any? and can you eat any thing, and is that distress in your chest & bowels removed? and are you happy, and a great great many other thing I want to know about you. Is your mother still well. I feared she would feel almost worn out after Joel & John were gone & all was quiet Give a great deal of love to her, tell her she is not forgotten here, the girls often refer to her, & wish they could see her again. I frequently go down to see Abby Allen and look into the sick rooms. It seems almost as if you would be on the bed & your mother sit by the window. Miss Ferguson has occupied your room for two weeks. She is now some better -- Miss Green, is sick of a slow fever, no others this term have been down. Dr. Belden visits the Sem.[Mount. Holyoke Female Seminary] daily. He looks almost well. I have not heard a word about Dr. Hawkson <since> this term. Is not the thought of many things last winter pleasant to you? It is to me. I love to think of the time when you was here with me, and though the thought of your sickness is painful, yet the kind hand that sustained you & spared your life, is ever to be praised. How much have we all to be thankful for. it seems as if I realize it more & more every day. Oh that we might regard all our blessings as we ought. I have no more time now. Na[...] has come to sew with me an hour -- your aff. Abigail
Wednesday eve. The retiring bell has rung & I am sitting in bed Cynthia in a horizontal position holding the lamp. One way you will say to avoid being tardy Now my dear Martha will you be able to answer that I want to hear from you very much, Joel wrote me you was comfortable when he left, & that he should hear from you before <you> he wrote again. I do hope you are better. If you can write a few words a day without hurting you, do. if not I would not have you, but I do want to hear directly from you. I have not written half I want to tell you, but some one has been talking to me most of the time, which you know is not very conducive to good writing, & Cynthia is now telling me a story. Miss Moore, Mary Brown, Cynthia and a great may others send their love to you -- we all want to see you. Perhaps you would like to know that you are not forgotten in our social prayer meetings, or private devotions. It is a comfort to feel that we are remembered by our friends, at the throne of grace. Abby.
Thurs morn. It is very pleasant this morn. for a wonder I am up at four o'clock, the first bell -- Do you ride these pleasant days? 30 of the girls went after strawberries yesterday, but did not get many You can hardly imagine how glad I shall be when the 1st of August comes. If you see our people give my love to them tell them I am well & happy. Delia Warren came yesterday. she has nearly recovered from the effects of her fall. Miss Lyon gave us a long lecture Tuesday upon "the principle of promptness," the immediate cause of which was the tardiness of the young ladies in returning -- 52 were absent the first night from Sections. They have been coming along every since -- Abby Allen was expecting to fill this part of the sheet, but as she did not come to do it, I thought it had not better be delayed. Miss Moore & Beed, Abby Allen Miss Founer & Adams send a great deal of love as also does your aff. cousin Abigail Cowles.
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Lockport Ill. [Illinois] Aug. 15, 1846.
We to day received the letter written by yourself Mother, John, and cousin Margaret. The news was on the whole quite as agreeable as we could expect though in many particulars far different from what we <hoped> should desire if it were in our power to choose John's fever and Ague is I doubt not much worse than it would be in a fever and ague country, where physicians and almost every individual by virtue of the principle "practice makes perfect", would be able without hesitation to apply appropriate remedies. It is the testimony of every one in this region that a transplanted ague is much worse than one that is a native. By the kindness of God we have as yet been preserved from any thing of the kind whether native or foreign (excepting the billious attack I had in the spring) but now is the season for such things and many around us are more or less affected with them. There have been no severe cases as yet but no one can say how long it wd [would] be before there will be.
But I will leave these items for the present, that I may say a few words upon a topic of which you make inquiry viz the views we should take of an over rulling Providence. I can say but few things concerning it and my views you can gather from them
In the first place I would say that the Bible differs from all other books in that in it God is every where acknowledged as the chief agent every where acting. It is he who raises up and casts down. At his pleasure who brings princes to nothing while he places the poor on high. Indeed there is no one thing which characterizes the Bible more than this. Read books of laws as elsewhere found, read history, and you find no such thing, or at best only to a limited extent. And that Bible also testifies most strongly against such as forget this truth. (Deut. [Deuteronomy] 8: 10-20) God warns directly those who would be inclined to say <that the> "My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth" and that not merely because it was not true but because such an assertion denied the truth "It is the Lord thy God that giveth the power to get wealth." He warns all these saying "I testify against you that ye shall surly perish."
But let any who can for a moment doubt this read the 107th Psalm where the agency of the Lord is so beautifully described. There it is the Lord who delivered Israel, who rescued the captives, sets free the prisoners, and saved distressed mariners. It was no accidental combination of circumstances, nor yet the wisdom or might of those concerned for these would have been useless unless the Lord had interposed. And how solem as well as instructive is the last verse that Psalm "Whose is wise and will observe these things even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord." This intimating that while the truth was obvious it might easily be lost sight of by the careless & unredeemed . If men will not be wise, if they will not consider these things, then <must> may they fail to see the truth with wh. [which] the Bible is so full.
But while this is true I still think God never interposes at the present day by any means wh [which] counteract or interrupt natural laws. If he did so, if he saved the mariner when tossed by a tempest by sending an angel to bear him up, would it any longer require wisdom or consideration to see the loving kindness of the Lord? No. It would all be as plain as the sun in the heavens. Every thing that is done is so done as not to countervail natural laws, and hence it is some forget the hand that wields those laws as instruments.
Do you ask how this can be done? I answer just recall any events of your life which in your view are important and consider the train of causes that led to them. In every instance it is probable there were many point upon which the whole result depended and concerning which you were in doubt how to act. By the weight of a feather you could be turned one way or another. Now God who sees the end from the beginning might at that moment have interposed and presented in some way the thought that decided the whole matter. All such crises he can render the wisdom of the most profound as worthless as the folly of a child and they shall never know it unless they are "wise and consider." In this way alone (and it is but one of a thousand) our fortunes our lives our happiness lie wholly at his disposal.
Let me relate an instance. A man and his wife now residing in this place were a few years ago at Buffalo designing to come here. They started for the Boat and on their way there the gentleman stepped into a store to purchase some trifling article, and there he met a friend with whom though in great fear that he should miss the boat and in great haste to reach home, he conversed a short time and then hurried to the wharf, when to he was just 1/4 of a minute too late. They were much grieved and disappointed. But hark the result. That boat was the ill fated Erie, that trip she never finished and but one or two of her hundreds of passengers ever set foot on land again.
Now no philosopher I care not how learned can say or bring the least argument to prove that this event was not controlled by God. In a thousand insensible ways he could distain that or any other man. In a thousand such ways he actually does control us while we know it not.
One thing more. It is impossible for any man to pray to God who denies such a doctrine. For what does he pray? Not for the thing for which he asks for he believes God has nothing to do with it. The Bible then teaches such a doctrine, there is nothing within the whole circle of truth that is more rational, and why should we doubt it. I might write much more but cannot, now, If you continue to have difficulties write me again.
Your aff. brother