Jane Briggs Smith to Friend Fuller Fiske, May 5, 1867



Sumter S. C.
May 5, 1867

Dear Fuller,

My head aches tonight, and I do not feel like reading, or anything else. Since I have your assurance that you like the letters I write at such times, I will improve the opportunity by beginning one, and answer a question you asked long ago, how do I like a tearless woman. No, I am not going to answer it either, but only apprize you of a fact, you may be interested to know. I am not at all demonstrative, rarely shed tears, and am almost as impassible and phlegmatic as Gen. Grant. It is the result of nature & education both. Naturally I am sensitive, but with that I have a kind of pride that scorns to let it be known. Therefore I schooled myself in very early life to counsel my--

Interruption just then, and now it is Saturday and this not done. I wonder what it as I was going to say. Nothing very important I presume.

Every day is full of excitement just now. Events crowd upon us, and drive all abstract thoughts out. I wonder what is to be the end of this fuss, and if I shall be here to see it. The whites seem desperately intent upon trying whether government is in earnest in its determination to protect the freedmen. Last Friday at Lynchburg--twentyfive miles from here--a chivalric Southron deliberately shot a colored minister named Lynas M'Cloud, who had won the hatred of the Southrons generally by his boldness in telling the freedmen of their rights. The ball entered his head just below the shoulder blade, but did not kill him. While the fiend was loading to finish his work another man took the gun away from him. The white minister & teacher, Mr. Tamblyn, was visiting Sumter at the time. on hearing of the case he hurried back to Lynchburg by the very next train. On alighting from the cars (it was after dark) he received a blow from some unknown hand with a railroad iron. It was intended probably to kill him at once, and would have done so had it hit his temple, but it hit his cheek instead, and though it made him ill, will not, he thinks, result in any serious injury. There is evidently a determination to take his life, and as the colored people there are a cowardly set, and there are no military, his position is not a very safe one. He wrote the particulars to us & I sent his letter to Ge. Sickles. I am sure the affair will be attended to , as the Genl,. has shown great energy in treating cases of this kind. I think the Southrons will learn that they can no longer shoot & stab people just to amuse themselves.

I am glad you are not going to let yourself be hurried into matrimony, for the sake of having permanent help. But truly, in a worldly point of view, my dear Fuller, you have made about as poor a choice as you very well could.

Perhaps Charlotte is with you now. I wish you would all dine with me,--you should have green peas & strawberries.

"What kind of politician" am I? I don't know, but I think I shall come out a regular wire-puller. If you ever want to run for Congress or anything you will find me invaluable--worth much more for that than for house-keeping. Vote! Why my vote would be less than nothing compared to the number of votes I can control now!

Give my love to your mother: i hope as the warm weather comes she will be better.

Truly yours

Janie B. Smith
(Box 89)

F. F. Fisk Esq
Mast Yard, N.H.

 

American Antiquarian 
Society logo

An American Antiquarian Society Online Exhibition
Curated by Lucia Z. Knoles, Professor of English, Assumption College

All primary sources in this exhibit are in the collections of the American Antiquarian Society.
This site and all contents © 2006 American Antiquarian Society