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W0743 TO MRS. CATHARINE LERNED AND DAUGHTERS from Edward Lerned and from Margarette and Dr. Calvin McQuesten
Jan 5 1835
To: Mrs. Catharine Lerned and daughters, Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]

My dear sisters,

At the request of sister Margarette I now commence a letter to you, & I am glad of the opportunity, as I have much to say. We wrote to you by Joseph, who was going to Windsor [Mon?] Nov. 26th. I am now boarding at Mrs. Spencers.

[I] Have committed two-hundred pages & read through the treatise on the bones of the skeleton & have commenced on the muscles. Has been good sleighing ever since Nov. 20th but is gone now. We wrote to you by C. Minot on Dec 8th. Have purchased me a new spencer 4.50 per Yard. Green. Double breasted, broad lappells [sic] & small buttons. I have a narrow cot bed at the office & slept there a short time but having an invite from Mr. Shaw to sleep with him at his store accepted. L. [Louisa?] will recollect Mr. S. he lent her some books while here he is a pious young man.

You may imagine my time spent in the way I now describe for the present. Sunday attend three meetings & Sunday school at noon. Pursue my professional studies the rest of the week. Attend singing school Monday & Wednesday eves & prayer meetings the remaining four eves. Thanksgiving was Thursday 10th Dec. People do not think much of it here. Attended meeting in the forenoon at the Presbyterian & in the afternoon at the Baptist. In the eve attended a party at Dr. Hunters the Presbyterian ministers. There were eleven in all, had a pleasant time nuts & rasins [sic] for desert [sic]. M. [Margarette?] received a letter from C. [Catharine] Dec 21st who we find is at Charlestown Mass. I suppose she has written you all the news she has us. She mentioned L.'s safe arrival at H. of which we were glad to hear as we had not heard a word.

Now as I have written all the common place [sic] news I will begin on another subject a subject of which my heart is full. I hope & trust I have found the Saviour. O how happy I feel to think the son of God should be so kind & condescending as to notice me poor worm of the dust & unworthy of the least favour. But God is gracious & merciful & will accept of those who come to him with a sincere desire for the pardon of their sins, for Christ died that we might live. O my dear sisters I wish you would think of this subject, it is an important one, one on which the welfare of your souls is depending. There are precious praises in the bible to those who will give their hearts to God. You imagine it to be a hard thing to turn to the saviour but it is not, it is easy. Only love God & keep his commands that are in the Bible & you will have your reward not only in this world but in the world to come. You will have that peace of conscience of which nothing can rob you. Oh how can you scorn that Saviour who has been so kind to you who has even died that you might be saved. He has been knocking at the door of your hearts but you will not let him in. Oh I beseech you in the name of my divine master to repent & give up yourself your all to God. Put your trust in him & he will defend you he will be your shield & buckler he has promised it and his word never fails. O look to him he is your only hope your only refuge. How can you remain in sin when your every moment liable to be cut off & then it will be to [sic] late. You may then cry Lord Lord but he will say, I never knew you depart from me ye workers of iniquity. I hope soon to hear from you & to hear that one if not all of you my dear sisters have given your hearts to God. O I find him precious to my soul & may you too. It is my most ardent desire & prayer to God that you may be converted to him. There are in the bible many promises to the young if they repent. Then do my sisters give up your hearts. You may think me to [sic] young to advise you but it is not so. What I have written you comes from the heart of your ever dear brother.

Edward A.H. Lerned.


Now a few words to my Ever dear Mother,

I know you will rejoice with me to think I have found peace in religion as I hope I have. O how my conscience upbraids me for the many hours, weeks nay, I may even say months of pain & trouble I have caused you. I used to despise your kind counsells [sic] & advise [sic], & used to disobey you. Oh! it seems strange to me how I could treat one of the best of Mothers so. I thank God that I left Boston, for so long as I had continued there I should have remained as wicked as ever & it seems to me that God raised all those doubts & suspicions against me (though he knows I was not guilty of doing any thing wrong at the time) that I might be sent here & saved for the Lord chasteneth whom he loveth. O my dear Mother you cannot conceive my feelings at this time. Sometimes I am happy to think I shall go to heaven & to think I shall be the means of doing good on this earth. Then again I am unhappy to think how unkind I have been to you & how many anxious moments I have caused you. O how hard my heart was especially when there were meetings, Sunday schools &c. &c. I have been in many revivals & would never open the door of my heart to let the Saviour in.

I am glad C. [Catharine?] has left on many accounts. I think it is for the best as she was corrupting the morals & hearts of my dear young sisters with her false doctrines. Three now can pray for them. Do have morning & evening prayers & reading the bible & if we pray to God with right motives & desireing [sic] those things we ask for, he will grant our prayers for he is an all searching God & has promised to grant the prayers of his children who love fear & obey him.

O Mother I want to hear you say Forgive, verbally, or on paper, for all my misdeeds & unhappy moments I have caused you. Then, O not till then, will that great load be removed from my heart. Write me soon for I want to hear all the news & about C.'s departure & L.'s arrival. Give best love to Mai & Loui & to Daniel & Mary & all the little ones. Tell Sarah Platt that Uncle Eddie sends his love to her & to little Martha Jane in particular.

I hope with assistance to acquire a thorough knowledge of my profession by the time I am twenty one, with the interest on my money without infringing on the principal & with earning as much as possible in school [keeping?] & in other ways. Do have the Thousand sent if there is as much, if not as much as there is. We can get from 7 to 20 percent interest. If you have an opportunity you may send what I wrote for in the other letter, also Dr. Holyokes portraits1 & any other things I left or you may wish to send presents &c. &c.

Now my dear Mother you have quite a small family only four. Do not take any more boarders you lose by it. I advise you to sell & buy a smaller situation in the village but do not leave H. as you have always lived there & your credit is good & you have friends & relatives there & there is no place like home. Do not sell unless all advise it & then do not leave the village. Have you made out to get the well fixed. I wish you would get the house shingled & the kitchen partitioned off & a cook stove. Get well provided with wood this winter for next summer & winter. Sell the barn if you can & have the place where it stands & the other barn ploughed & planted. Have the garden ploughed nice & early & let out to the halves [sic]. Keep the Front & end yards clear. Give love to all & receive this from your ever dear & only Son

Edward A.H. Lerned

W0745 The next section is from Dr. Calvin McQuesten to his mother-in-law Mrs. Catharine Lerned:]

Dear Mother,

We have just received yours & sister's letter and we have all wept yet our tears were mingled with emotions of joy. We are happy to learn that Sis. Mary feels so much submission to the will of God. It is our Prayer that the void death has made in her heart may be more than filled with the felt presence of God. Does the [tender?] fibers yet bleed, there is balm in Gilead and a Physician there. I will remember C. Leach. Her appearance made a strange impression on my mind. May her sudden death make a deeper and more hallowed impression. We have a great lesson to learn from these solemn calls of a holy and wise Providence.

As it respects Ed. you will see what he has written. I am not without hope he has experienced a saving change of heart but I have many fears. I dare not express an opinion. We do not always judge as the heart-searching and reign-trying God does. We feel our inability to do by him as we ought but we know there is one that is able to give wisdom to him that lacketh. In regard to E.'s money, if you and your children please so to do, say to Mr. Dustin that Ed. & Hannah will choose my Brother Samuel for their guardian (or any other person that you choose), and if you should do so I would enter into an arrangement with him for all of E.'s money & the most of Hannah's. I think Mr. Dustin is unreasonable and that he cares no more for Ed.'s interest than he does for the Hotentots [sic]. If Mr. Dustin does not send me the $1,000 forthwith I wish the Maj. to consult Judge Chase and write me what is necessary to be done in order to get a new guardian appointed for E. and I want to know immediately so that I may write to Br. Samuel.2 I think the last proposition that Dustin made was an insult after what I have offered to do and now that money comes out of Dustin's hands if Ed. & I are big enough to make it come. If he pleases to make us what trouble he can he may do it. Ed. would much prefer that I should have the money at simple interest than Dustin and it will well pay me to go there and get it. But I do not wish to do so, would prefer having it done without any trouble but I think it will be done.

[Dr.] Calvin McQuesten

W0746 [The last part of the letter is written by Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten:]

To Mrs. Catharine S.
Lerned Hopkinton, N.H.

My dear Mother. I told E. some time since that if he would write you I would pay postage. L.'s. letter came in due time, it deeply affected E. Yr advice to him but he had already given up his heart (we think) to his Maker God. It was the second week of Dec. that his sins became a burden. We had made him a subject of prayer & the attendants of Prayer Meet. bore him in the arms of faith to Christ--as he appeared thoughtful & attentive & always to meetings & it was not in vain. No! God has been near us, even come under our roof--tho' most unworthy. Sunday was Comm. it was a solemn day to E. He did not go forward--as he had not sufficiently examined himself. We fear, yet we rejoice. Sometime I feel as if I could hardly wait for you to hear the happy news. Oh the preciousness of that Saviour whom we have so lightly esteemed. E. is much engaged & a sensible change seems wrought in him.

Husband requests an answer immediately. In answer to L. the coat he has sent for several times, but all forgot to get it. Hus. would not have taken any thing for medicine or brandy if you had offered hundred times. We thank you for visit. [?] know the reason was unpleasant. Mrs. J. [?] went with her hus. move on [?] a farm 5 mls. north in April. [She?] is delighted with the idea. Have passed two days there since [?] [?].3

Husband says he did not mention C.'s. [?] but is willing to take it--her being so near 21 was the reason--but it lacks some yrs. yet & he would take all if they were old enough. Get Samuel to be their guardian & transfer the money to him. He looks out for their interest ethically & as long as Mr. D. has shown so little feeling to a fatherless child. E. will have all the interest hus. gets. How unfeeling to pick from the fatherless to put in a little more into the pocket. Hus. wishes me to correct what I have written by saying he would much prefer Mr. D. to do as he has requested without making any change in guardianship--but if he refuses, he is willing to go into any measures in taking charge of money you think best.

Wish we could have done as much again for Louisa [?] husband love to them & babe--hope they will come out here.

I wish you would send me a pair of [thin?] White [?] in the [?] [?] the Mai or send the cloth for them such as the soldiers weare [sic] in the Light infantry in H. Mother you must act yr. own [pleasure?] [?] [?] sending the articles E. sends for--he is a child and it comes from a child. yrs in haste. We can probably get the most of his things as cheap as you can get at H.

[Written across pages:]

Dr. [?] C. has not returned. Henry's wife is a pious good sensible affec. woman, looks more like C. [Ho?] than anyone else tho' a Grecian nose quite long. She is pretty, not handsome, tho' interesting--fair & red cheeks--wears earrings & chain. Wing & wife have left the place. Bennet & wife go this month to Mobile--tell Louisa this.

Miss Chapel Missionary is as [?] boarding at Mr. Pettingill's. I would write more if I had paper. Some things in his letter might have been altered for the better--but it seemed to come from his heart, especially about C. She is a good girl has written me a long letter. Do write soon for hus. wants you to. [?] is very [?]. Yesterday was [?]. My new yrs. present from husband was H [?] memoirs. E.'s a [silk] [?] from [?].

Mrs. [? tt's] babe had a bilious turn & was in a fit 18 hours before it died. (How lonely dear Mother it must seem to you. The children must be kind to you & one another. E. feels much for you.)

Tuesday Morn. I intended to have written a page but find it filled. Husband has written his mind I see. Old Mr. Noyes is dead--died yesterday. We are all well & I wish you all a happy new yr.

M. [Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten]4

1 This may be a reference to Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829), OR to his father Edward Holyoke, President of Harvard (1737-1769). Edward Augustus Holyoke (August 1, 1728 to March 31, 1829) was an educator and physician. A son of the Reverend Edward Holyoke, a former President of Harvard, Edward Augustus graduated from that college in 1746. He opened a medical practice in 1748 and practiced for 73 more years, until retiring in 1821. He died in 1829 at the age of 100, surpassing the average life expectancy of the time by fifty years.

Holyoke was also a founder of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of which he was president from 1814 to 1820. He was also a founder and president of the Massachusetts Medical Society from 1782 to 1784 and 1786 to 1788. The length of his service to the medical practice and his pioneering work in the advancement of smallpox vaccinations have been acknowledged.

Holyoke owned a book A Concent of Scripture written by Hugh Broughton (1549-1612), and published in 1588, which purports to trace his ancestry back to Noah. There is also a map showing the dispersal of the children of Noah. This copy was owned by Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829), son of Edward Holyoke, President of Harvard 1737-1769. He writes on the fly-leaf that he thinks this book belonged to his great-grandfather, Edward Holyoke, who migrated to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1636/37. The copy has blank pages inserted near the beginning and has been annotated with handwritten notes. Broughton was attacked publically by scholars at both Cambridge and Oxford, he began weekly lectures in London in his own defense. He left England soon afterwards and traveled continental Europe for most of the rest of his life, disputing with Roman Catholics, Jews, and Protestants who did not share his views. He expected to be appointed by King James in 1604 to the committee he assembled to translate the Bible, but he was not; when their work was done, he bitterly attacked it.

2 Dr. Calvin McQuesten had agreed to take charge of Edward's education. Later Edward, and his guardian Mr. Dustin, were involved in two lawsuits against Dr. Calvin. See W-MCP4-6.233 for more information on Edward and the lawsuits.

3 Parts of this letter, especially at the end, are heavily overwritten. Every scrap and corner of every page is filled with the tiniest script.

4 This letter in the Calendar has four parts which are transcribed here as one. The four parts are W0743, W0744, W0745, W0746.

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