Vintage stampless folded letter mailed from Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Addressed to Levi Chase, Portsmouth, NH. Letter is dated and written in the Quaker style. Paper has second sheet edge tear where seal broken (usual). Transcription follows:
Dartmouth, 4 mo 18, 1852
My Much Esteemed Friend
I received thy kind and acceptable letter last evening and I may say that it was quite unexpected that thou should take pains to write to me, for I do feel at times unworthy (and particularly so of late) even of the notice of mortals, and much more so of him who condescends to be a husband to the widow and father to the fatherless. But I desire not to be found murmuring or complaining, for unworthy as I am he who afflicts not willingly or grieves the children of men is pleased at times to arise, and as it were, rebuke the troubled elements and speak peace to my afflicted and bereaved mind. After all, I feel as though I have much to be thankful for. I want to tell thee that it has fallen to my lot to pass through another very afflicting dispensation, that of having my youngest son, Moses, go away to California, but after saying and doing all that I found to be my duty, I am endeavoring to submit and leave that and all else to him whose mercies are over all his works. But such was the trial, that I verily thought that if I could be favored with a satisfying evidence that he was prepared, it would have been a comfort to follow him to his grave, but oh, my Dear friend, I now know and realize the difference between bearing my grief and burthens by myself alone, or having a true helpmeet that is capable of taking a full share, and that thou canst not be fully sensible of at present, and may never. This knowledge is only obtained by experience. Thy remark in regard to our poor little company that is the Society to which we are attached, very much accords with my views, that we have need to keep close together and put shoulder to shoulder in order to help and encourage one another, but there is a contrary disposition manifest with too many compared with the whole, to pull apart and each take their own way, which I fear has had a discouraging tendency to those that were looking towards us and hoping and really expecting better things. It arises in my heart to say to thy Beloved wife, look not out at the imperfections of others, but endeavor to abide at home within thyself, keep a single eye to the pointings of truth, often remembering that they were not all Israel that were of Israel, but when thou seeist another lagging behind, trouble not thyself to enquire after his or her duty, but simply attend to the language of the blessed Master, 'what is that to thee, follow thou me'. For be assured that in a little while, all that others may do or leave undone will be nothing to thee or me, except we are found wanting in our duty to them. When I took up my pen, I had not a word prepared to thee or thy wife, but as things have arisen, I have penned them with desires that they may do no hurt; it did not seem so grateful to find that I was sometimes remembered by my friends that I was unwilling that thy letter should go long unanswered. I think it will be rather an interesting time at Philadelphia this week, as it is the time of their Meeting. I have not heard whether our friend John Wilbur has returned or is still there. I do desire his preservation.
My Dear love to friends, as thou hast opportunity, to H. & T. Gould's families in particular. A line from either of you, when you feel like writing, will be very acceptable to your friend,