Robinson, Ebenezer 1846 02 20
 
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UNIVERSITY MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

DONATED COPY

WRITTEN BY REV. EBENEZER WEEKS ROBINSON1

 
                                             Freetown, Ms.2 Feb. 20, 1846

            Dear Sister,

           The condition on which you are to receive a letter
from this place during the present month is decreed to be that I must
write the first sheet---& so I submit, although it is not fair play, be-
cause it is not a rule that works both ways. But however, to the task.
In your November fortnights’ visit, I suppose you talked every thing over
that had then transpired, & every matter of interest, with regard to our con-
cerns, on which the mind could wander. So then to inform you of any
-thing about our affairs, or to entertain you for the half hour, in the
perusal of this sheet, I must needs, speak of things of a later date, or
conjure up something else about which to write an epistle. I must
leave the Madam to tell her own plaintive story about her troubles &
privations during the three weeks of her loneliness, in cold & watchings
& suspense & anxieties: but though I was sorry for her, when hearing of
it, I did not suspect she would get herself into any such trouble, still
I was glad for you  - & my wonder is how you can get along alone, with
any degree of comfort, or without wearing upon your constitution, &
hastening on the time when it will bear then abuse no longer. Your
Sister thinks it a pretty hard case for me to be gone two or three days
in a week, with Cousin Sarah here: how then do you live & drag one
foot before another when night draws near? How do you get all washed
from week to week, & how can you get your food into a proper state for eating.
Cant you contract to have some mortal, great or small live in your hab-
itation, that is capable of taking some of those steps & of exerting some of the
needed strength to keep all your household matters in a comfortable shape.

           It is my settled opinion that it will cost too much for you or us to live with
out assistance in the family – it must be costing pretty dear if a broken con-
stitution & an invalids life or premature death be the result. To take
 
  1Ebenezer Weeks Robinson b: 1 May 1812, Granville, NY; 
     occupation: minister; married 1838: Sarah Bacon Adams.
  2Freetown, Massachusetts
 
 
care of present health is of more consequence than to lay up for the fu-
ture. I know we are apt to get along as much within ourselves as we
can, & indeed it is desirable; but a series of extra efforts getting a little
overdone, time after time, is what makes draughts on the strength which can
never be repaired. It is the wisest economy to take proper care & repairs to pre-
serve that which when lost can never be restored – or being somewhat im-
paired there is so much the more importance of taking due care & 
precaution that it become no worse.

         What do you do when you get sunk twenty fathom deep with
such a load on your back that you might as well think of taking
up a millstone on your finger as attempt to rise? Do you give it
up & submit to lie there till the burden vanishes & falls off of it-
self? When you see that you are held down; tied up so that you
can’t get away – troubles & difficulties rise mountain high before you,
burdens that you have not strength to bear – labors that with  the
utmost effort you can not perform, what can you do? How do
you rise above these things or how do you get up when fairly down?
Or don’t you ever get down into the valley so far that you can look up
& discern day light & hardly see the stars? If not, their indeed is
your circumstances you are highly favored. If you do I can’t tell
of any thing better than to con over some select passages from a cer-
tain ancient book that many in like circumstances have found
a great source of relief to them – which together with an interview
with the author of said book, many have by their own blessed expe-
rience found a most effectual panacea for ills & troubles of that kind.
I should not think it strange indeed if you had heard of the same remedy
& tried it. If you have learned its value, don’t fail to try it as often
as you have need.

           There has been an Orphan Asylum Agent here from Boston
two or three days & as they have sometimes excellent girls 10 or 12
years of age for whom they wish to find good places would it not
be well for you to make application for one. They come to the Asy-
lum at B. from all parts of the State- & though the demand is great-
est for girls of the age mentioned, yet you might in a little time be
in a fair way of getting one, unless you can find one nearer. In the
winter the number of children offered to the Asylum is greatest, on ac-
count of the difficulty of obtaining fuel & provisions. Many a poor
widow or a worse than widow having a drunken husband, when she
can keep her children together & provide for them no longer, gives them up
to be adopted into a good family or to reside for a time with such as are
willing to take them. Thus the Asylum affords a temporary home for
the little ones & is an Intelligence Office both for the children & the
families wishing for them – of all ages from a few months to 12
or 15 years there are found or less without one or both parents & in
 
 
want of homes. There is a paper published monthly devoted to this
object, entitled the Orphan’s Advocate & Social Monitor, Boston.

           By not getting my first letter when it arrived at Franklin in Nov. Sa-
rah did not write to me till Tues. the next week & her letter was one day
too late, & the consequences was that I did not get it in ten days after &
thus both she and & myself were kept in suspense. She urged me to return so
hard that together with a disappointment where I had been invited to preach
I concluded to return immediately although I was in the vicinity of several
vacancies & arrived here the next day after Cousin Sarah did. A few
days previous an application had been made from Carver (between Mid-
dleboro & Plymouth) & I went there immediately after I returned & have been
supplying there ever since – with an engagement till April. It is about ten
miles further from Taunton than Freetown is - & seven miles from the Plym-
outh & the same distance from the Middleboro railroad. There are above 100
members in the church – some good people – a tolerably pleasant place – some
talk of a rail was directly through there from Wareham to the Old Colony
minister, Mr. King had considerable property so that the people did not raise
a very large salary for him & it will be more difficult for them to sup-
port another minister more entirely dependent on them. I presume they
will be glad to have us continue there, but the salary & the want of a house
to live in make it a doubtful question about one continuing if they should.
Five or six weeks, however, will be likely to settle the matter in some way
as it now is I have to walk generally 18 miles on Sat. & back on Mon.- twice.
I have rode all the way & back - & a few other times a part of the way. But
this is rather hard work – though I can stand it better in the winter than in the
summer excepting the traveling is not generally quite as good.

           We went (that is we three) leaving the children with Mrs. Tucker at
our house to Carver & to Plymouth, Dec. 22,  Forefather’s day – but not much
worth going for did we see – there being no public address as we expec-
ted – for the speeches were reserved for the dinner table - & the Pilgrim Hall
which contained paintings & relics & curiosities was shut up to be ready for the Ball. 
It was really enough to make good natured folks a little indignant to be thus im-
posed upon. But as we could not help it we have only to take care & not be
caught so again. We walked over the rock – went to the Pilgrim Hall where
in front are the names of the 41 men who came in the Mayflower cast
in iron surrounding an oval iron fence; which encloses a large piece of
the Rock inscribed “1620”; & thence we walked to the rail road Depot where
475 $3: men dined & drank wine & made speeches. Thence we went over
Burying Ground Hill & to a friends house where we had some succotash; & then
turned our faces homeward, where we arrived the next afternoon.

           Cousin Sarah is here, though she has not let you know what became
of her - & James has been here too, & spent 4 or 5 days – about which I will
let her tell you if she pleases. The week that he came (Thur. eve) Sis. went
 
 
on Tues. to Boston, (Feb.3) to get some teeth filled & staid till Sat. eve. Went
Tues. Found her dentist was gone. Wed. – found another Thur.- & he busy –
got her work partly done Fri. & finished Sat. a.m.

           We live here in the old house (136) near the meeting house – keep a
fire in the fire place in the front room, & warm up the stove in the
kitchen in the morning – also wash & bake there - & we live quite inde-
pendent of good & bad in this said village of Assonet. Our good neighbor
Nichols folks hardly seem to know that we live so near them & where we
can see what they are about. Mr. Chamberlain now boards with them
& teaches a school in a little ten foot shoe shop in the village – Elder
Maxwell also teaches by the meeting house.

           It is Sarah’s part also to tell you what she has heard from home. She
thought some of returning to Lowell a while – but we have tried to pu-
suade her to stay here till the middle of May & teach school this sum-
mer, then go to S. Hadley next Oct. for a year.

           Here is your blessed Sister on my right hand before the fire, lean-
(ing) one elbow on my writing chair before a good bearing fire & she finds it
hard fighting to keep her eyelids from shuting up. She has baked to-day
6 loaves brown bread (say about 3 pecks) 4 of white bread, 6 pies, & beans
& a pudding - & she felt pretty pleasant before she let old ------- take 
possession, “because she had such a lot of victuals cooked”. I hope you will
not draw any inferences for it must be apparent that we do not always keep such a lot cooked.

           There is nothing of interest in the state of religion in this region so
far as I know. All around the great concern is what shall we eat?
& what shall we drink? & where withal shall we be clothed? & how much
can we lay up for the future or for children? Fools any live as creatures
of immortality – in a world of probation & bound to the bar of Christ.

           My father was dismissed Jan.1, & mother lives with my brother Samuel’s
wife & baby there too. He in VT. with a prospect of locating. My sheet is full. So good bye
                                             E. W. Robinson

 

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