This letter was written by Charlotte Briggs (1823-1877), the daughter of Daniel Briggs (1777-1852) and Sophia Downer (1783-1851).
The recipient of the letter was Charlotte’s cousin, Harriet J. Briggs (1827-1850), the daughter of Noah Briggs (1787-1847) and Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Gallup (1791-1888). Her sister Clarissa (1817-1896), mentioned in the letter, was married to Robert Kennedy (1805-1885) and lived in Plainfield, Connecticut.
It does not appear that either of these cousins ever married and both had relatively short lives. Harriet died in LaSalle, Illinois where she seems to have lived with her older brother Bernard. Charlotte remained in the coastal Connecticut area.
[Addressed to Miss Harriet J Briggs, Central Village, Plainfield, Connecticut]
March 10th, 1848
I received your letter bearing dated March 6 [on] the 7th and was happy to hear from you. Father saw a man from Plainfield cince I came home and he said the George was better and walked out and we were not prepared to receive such intelligence as your letter contained – although if I had not heard that he was better, I should have expected it. I hope Dr. Barber is correct in his views of his diseas and can help him. It is the most sad site I ever witnesed is to see a young man wasting away by diseas and nothing to look forwad to but death. Ma[y] he who guides with unering wisdom grant that it may[y] be otherwise in George’s case. I hope you will never think of paying me for knitting your purs[e] again. If it is made so that it pleases you, that is all I wish. And as for money to buy a few lemons with, if George had not have forgotin it, I should not have taken it. So think that I could not send a sick Cousin a few lemons it is not Charlotte. I deam it a priviledge to do my friends such favour as I can. I cannot do much, but what I can affords me much pleasure.
I presume that the lemons mad[e] George head ache for last spring when I had a cough, the Dr. prescribed lemmon juice and sugar but it gave me sick pain in my head. I had to leave it off entirely. Wm has not got well of his cough yet. For two weeks after he got home, he coughed almost the whole time & did not know what to do and tried almost every thing. But now he is better and I am takeing my turn at it. For the last ten days, my cough has ben very hard and is now. I have had to stop several times since I commenced writing this to attend to turns of it, but it is no more than I expected this month. The influenza is very prevalent with us at the present time. Father has it so he has not ben attending to any business for several days. Mother and [my sister] Huldah are in usual health.
I do hope George will get better. If it is the Lord’s will, I know that health will again be given him. Ma[y] we all have grace given us to feel that God’s ways are not our ways, that his thoughts are not our thoughts, and that he has chosen your path in the deep waters of affection. And that now you cannot trace the path to the end but you can place confidence in him that is your leader; that he does all things well, and that you can say that tho he slay me, yet will I trust in him – for we know that those that put their trust in him shall never be confounded. Ye Lord reigns – let the earth rejoice. Tho clouds and darkness are around about him, yet ma[y] you be enabled to sa[y] with the Psalmist, “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness” and it does seem that you might add also “for the Lord will save the afflicted people.”
I wish when you wright again you would wright wheather George has any apetite or not. Perhaps I could send him something that would not be entirely unacceptable to his taste. If he has, you know that sometimes that something that is away from home and sent unexpectedly will temt the apetite if it is not as good as is prepared at home or that is known about & before hand.
I am writing in my shop. It has rained almost constantly for two days and I have quite a still time. It keeps the ladies at home. If I was at home, I know that all of our family would write in sending love with me to you and all your dear friends.
William [Jacobs] told me the night after I received your letter that I must send his love to you all. He has had much to say about Central Village. His visit has afforded him something to think of while he has been a little prisner and I hope will, for I shall not venture to let him go out in this month attall. He calls Ralfe Icabod Shaw when he speaks of him and says that he should like to be up there and go to milking with him.
Tell Clarissa that I often think of her and her family and hope that she keeps up good spirits. William thinks that she had a larger washing than she thought for that day that we came away. I was sorry not to see Clarissa and yourself and bid you goodby. I must stop writing. I could fill up t[w]o sheets yet, for my pen – when it gets to going – is something like my tung — never knows when to stop. One thing is true, my letters will call into exercise patience. I wish I could have a peek in upon you all. Please say to George, if he is not to ill, that I hope he will keep up his resolution and that this illness was not sent upon him for naught. And that he ma[y[ be an apt scholar in learning all good lessons. Do answer as soon as possible.
Your affectionate Cousin, — Charlotte Briggs
I have not time to send this – have customers, and everything else. Please excuse.