W-MCP5-6.354 TO MISS ESTIMATE RUTH ESTHER BALDWIN [MCQUESTEN] from Miss [?] Parkinson
May 20 1844
To: Estimate Ruth Esther Baldwin, Northampton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Milford, New Hampshire, [U.S.A]
My dear Miss Baldwin,
Mr. Warner has informed me that he intends to start for Northampton next Monday & I shall improve the opportunity of sending a letter to you. I will not promise to amuse or entertain you, for I should certainly not be able to fulfil my promises if I did so. But, judging from my own inferences when I have been far from kin folk or acquaintances I think you will be glad of anything in the shape of a letter, from an old friend.
I am reading the Life of Cowper, who has been styled the best of English letters & writers.1 I am very much interested in it; especially in that part, which relates particularly to his religious experience. Surely God was pleased to lead him in a most mysterious way. A lady, Mrs. Unwin with whom he resided for many years previous to his death, remarks respecting him: "A most marvellous story will this dear child of God have to relate, whom, by his Almighty power, he is set at liberty." I think I shall be much more interested in reading Cowper's poems now than I have before, though I have always liked them.
Mrs. Moore & I have also been reading some of the works of Charlotte Elizabeth. Have you ever read her Personal Recollections & if you have not, I think you would be very much interested in reading them, though I must confess, that some things that she related respecting herself appear almost incredible to me. She unquestionably had great power of mind; but I do not think she would make the best wife in the world.2, 3
I suppose sister Clara commenced school today in Hudson. She has had a dull day to commence with. Brother Royal is teaching in the Academy at Hopkinton. He has invited me to assist him next term. But, I do not think it probable that I shall go. I wish very much to know more about your situation at
Northampton. I have not been able to hear one word from you since you went there. Is your task very labourious? Were you obliged to pass an examination? Any thing that you choose to tell me respecting yourself or your school, when you write will be interesting to me.
The Hollis association met at Nashua last week. I asked one of the ministers, who called here, on his return home, whether there were any difficulties brought up between the two societies? "Oh No" said he "the two ministers like each other as well as two puppies."--Miss Houton was married one evening last week. I have learned no particulars respecting her marriage. She told me before I left Nashua, that she did not intend to have any wedding. Miss Hammond has left Mr. Crosby's school & he has got Miss Flanders for his assistant now. Mr. Richard's people are talking some about inviting Mr. Ellis & wife to go to Nashua & establish a school there. At least Mrs. Gillis told me so the other day. Sophia Hunter is attending school at Mr. Crosby's this summer. It is thought that she intends qualifying herself to take Miss Flanders' place.
Thursday morn. May 23. I was obliged to leave writing rather abruptly the other evening, & consequently did not finish my letter & now I have half a mind to [?] [?] [?] tell you something about the ordination at Nashua. Shall I or shall I not? I think I hear you say, yes. Therefore, I will go on. What do you hear about S. Hardley? I should like very much to hear from them. Mrs. Kittridge had two sisters there, when I was there, who went there with the intention of finishing this [?], but they did not return the next year, & Mrs. K. tells one they never will return. She says there are many reasons why she should prefer to have them go somewhere else, though she has been a very zealous advocate of that school, she was a teacher at Ipswich a year & a half, when Miss Grant was there.
What a delightful Spring we have had. I think I never saw vegetation so far ahead as this season of the year. Do you find N.H. to be an Eden to you? I doubt, that you will find much to excuse in this letter as you always will in a letter of mine. Good Morning.
Dr. Kittridge had brought his new wife up here this week. I am very much pleased with her. She is very unhandsome in her looks, but handsome in her appearance. I think she would not have married him if she had not been undesirably
advanced in age. She is 42.
I saw Betsey Abbott at Amherst at the Ordination, but I did not think to tell her that I was writing to you. Do you suppose she is preparing to be married [?] [?] [?].
[Two pages completely illegible] to God also to speak to us concerning his humility [?] has not thoughts, when darkness descends so low. But when God speaks it bellows to us to hear him & believe. [Fourteen lines illegible] Warner is expecting to marry, his brother [four lines illegible] well attended. Now my dear Miss B.[?] [?]
Very affectionately yours,4
[?] [?] Parkinson
1 William Cowper (1731-1800) (pron. "Cooper") English Poet and Solicitor, Father was Reverend John Cowper. Boarding school education, then Middle Temple to study Law. Cowper's name will always be associated with that of John Newton, his friend and pastor. Together they wrote many hymns familiar to us today. Cowper suffered from bouts of acute depression and mania. Newton saved him from suicide several times. In fact, because his nervous system was so delicate, he was unable to hold a job. Therefore he spent his time in literary pursuits, including writing poetry. His poetry was quite influential. Many people who scorned evangelicals as "Methodists" would read Cowper's poems. He addressed many social issues, such as African slavery, as well as spreading the Gospel. One of Cowper's critics says that Newton was a bad influence, causing him to "indulge and inflame his sensibility in the dark ecstasies of Calvinism, while at the same time affronting all that was reasonable and humane in his nature." "Cowper, William." Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings. H. I. Faussett. November 15, 2003. www.puritansermons.com/poetry/cowpindx.htm.
2 Personal Recollections by Charlotte Elizabeth (1850) American Tract Society, New York. ca. 1850, 248p. The book contains fifteen letters. Some of the subjects are: private life, family, religion, politics, books, poetry, music, philosophy, customs, paganism, Nova Scotia, Indians, Cosmopolitanism, Oxford, Irishmen, Socinianism, Metaphysics, Athanasian creed, Idolatry, Faithfulness, Superstition, National character, Confession, Papal fulmination, Sabbath meetings, Boys, Prejudices, The Irish language, St. Giles's, The Irish church, Joy and peace, True wisdom, A dying protest, Literary labors, Antinomianism, Conclusion. "Personal Recollections." November 17, 2003. www.knowledgerush.com.
3 This book is again mentioned with generally the same comments in W-MCP5-6.374. This comment also suggests that the writer of both letters might be the same person. One is signed Sabra and the other [?] [?] Parkinson.
4 Parkinson may be the same person as Sabra, the writer of W-MCP5-6.374. The paper and the style of writing are very similar.