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Full text of "Letter from R.T. Robinson, dated 1863-04-14"

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Rowland T. Robinson to Rachel Stevens 

4*'’ mo, 14‘^ 1863 

Dear cousin Rachel 

So long a time has elapsed since any correspondence has passed between us that I 
hardly know where to begin; but may as well start with the immediate cause of writing at this 
time - 

We sent to the Railroad yesterday 3 lbs of Apples marked 'To Stevens. Montpelier' posted to 
Burlington which I hope will arrive safely and, though so late, not be (?). We delayed sending 
them in early winter, having for some time a prospect of sending a lot to Mont and intending to 
put yours in to(o) as to reduce the cost of freight but that chance failed and then the weather 
was so cold that we feared to risk them; so we have put off sending them till the danger from 
that source is past, as we hope. If they are kept in a cool cellar and spread out so as to prevent 
the accumulation of moisture I hope they will not decay before you have time to use them up 
which need not take long. 

The last account we have had of you was a rumour through some of the Friends that 
thou head [had?] been badly hurt or frightened (we did not know which) while on a visit to thy 
Sister; I hope soon to hear from thee and to know the truth of the case and also to get a 
circumstantial history of all your dear family and particularly (because absent and more 
exposed to danger) of the dear soldier boy. I fervently hope and trust that his excellent moral 
character and his knowledge of and obedience to the divine laws of health will enable him to 
escape the doom which swept away so many of the sons, brothers, and husbands of our 
sorrowful country. Tell me all about him and all the others - your prospects, your hopes and 
fears and all that I may know consistent with domestic privacy and decorum on the one hand 
and my affectionate interest in all that concerns you on the other. I heard yesterday through 
Arthur Barton, that the Society was about to excommunicate William for the cause he has felt it 
right to pursue in the war. I do not see how the Society could consistently do otherwise, with 
its discipline and its assumed obligation to execute it, but to my mind and with my present 
views of religious organizations, this case only affords one more to the many evidences of the 
utter wrong and absurdity of all rules of discipline or regulations of a church which impose a 
censure upon anyone for following his own convictions of duty and conscience. No doubt it is a 
trial to thee to hear thy beloved son deprived of what is regarded as the privileges of religious 
membership, yet the brothers and sisters can entertain no hardness towards the church for its 

action and it is a great comfort to you all to_[respect?] that the offense is not one which his 

own conscience condemns. To his own Master he standeth or falleth and may he long live a 
comfort and solace to thee in thy declining years and an added living monument to the superior 
excellence of that rule of life which requires obedience to individual convictions of duty rather 
than the_rules of man. 

Though we all continue to feel deeply our great loss etc we are favored with as good 
_as we can reasonably expect and so far as eating and drinking and sleeping and living on 

the body are concerned we get along quite comfortably. We have a widow of 45 from 
Underhill as principal housekeeper who, though not a Rachel or an Ann in culinary arts yet does 
so well that we have no reason to complain, and we find too, for our comfort, that we can 
become reconciled by custom to many little changes and even privations which would once 
have been felt to be annoyances. My only fear with regard to our housekeeper is, that we may 
at a time when we think not to be deprived of her by some designing interloper, for 1 fancy she 
is not quite impervious to the softer sentiments. 

It is a great comfort to us that dear sister Ann is again domiciled with us, for, though 
from want of experience as well as physical inability she takes no part in the household affairs 
except the pretty constant use of the needle yet her presence in the __ gives it an air of 

respectability of which it would be sadly deficient with only_and for me the company of one 

so similar in sentiments and so long accustomed to all my moods - good and bad - is cause of 
thankfulness. She is well excepting weak and her eyes and desires her love to thee and thine. 

Our last letter from Ann left them all well and announced the good news that the farm 
was advertised for sale, with a view to their return to Vermont. Though they have an excellent, 
beautiful, and in many respects desirable farm and home yet they have never, since they _ 

down_, felt reconciled to it as a permanent abode, and if they succeed in selling, they will 

probably find a place in this region and be nearer to us. This will at least I trust be a mutual 
satisfaction. I believe thy particular friends here are all in the enjoyment of usual health, except 
Elizabeth Haren - Robert's wife, who is thought to be near her end from disease of the heart. 
She suffers greatly. I might fill the page with gossip but hoping to see thee soon, on the 
occasion of the approaching Q[uaker] meeting, I forbear. Come and make us as long a visit as 
thou can afford. 

With much love to thee and all in which the boys cordially unite I am as ever thy 
affectionate cousin. 

Row. T. Robinson