Mrs. Lewis Tappan to Sarah or Lucy Chase, New York, February 13, 1864



New York Feb. 13/64

My dear Miss Chase,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of three letters from you, dated Jan. 24th, Feb. 1st and 3d.

I was very glad to hear from our sacks of clothing, and I read your letter to our ladies. It is a great encouragement to them to hear that the garments they prepared reached their destination and were what was needed.

You give a list of articles which are most needed, but you do not mention dresses. I suppose dresses were left out by accident, as they must be among the first wants. "We have made up a great many dresses for women, in the shape of skirts and sacques.

You and your sister are engaged in a noble work. You are laying the foundations of many generations. May you be Divinely guided. There is something grand in this effort of the North to lift up the freedmen. It seems to me that God never laid so great a work upon one generation as he has on this. How often the words of Cope come to me,

""We are living, we are dwelling
In a grand and awful time
In an age on ages telling
To be living is sublime!"

I mentioned to Mr Beecher what you said about his lecturing in Norfolk. He smiled and said it would be some time before he should get there, but he hoped, before he died, to speak in every one of the slave states.

In your letter of Feb. 1st you present a new field for benevolent action, and one certainly of great importance. These white children should be cared for and instructed, as well as the blacks. Would it be practicable to gather these children into the colored schools, or would the prejudices of the parents make it impossible? I know of no way in which this wicked prejudice could so well overcome as by having the children of blacks and whites go to school together. This is the practice in Boston. Separate schools for the colored children were abolished many years ago, and the plan has worked well. Would it not be well for all our teachers at the South to invite the white children around them to come into their schools? If the parents dislike the idea at first, they may on second thought conclude that they had better submit to it, than to have their children grow up without education.

I talked with Mr Beecher about doing something for the white children, and he said we must take care of the black children first. There is however a large class at the North, who do not feel inclined to do anything for the colored people; they are the right ones to take up the poor whites. I hope they may be moved to do it. Those merchants, who sent such a liberal present, the other day, to the poor whites in Savannah, might easily do this work, if they could be roused up to feel its importance.

With my best wishes and prayers for your health and prosperity in the good work to which you are called, I remain

Yours truly

MRS LEWIS TAPPAN

 

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