History | Freeman Family Letters from 1829--1852
In that same letter, Pliny Sr.’s brother Samuel enclosed a note mentioning his own sons as they assisted their cousin—and paused for an observation of the world outside his window:
You would be pleased to see the process of moving him from one bed to another. You would see Lyndon [age 27] placed at his shoulder, Henry [age 14] at his lame leg, Charles [age 20] at his well leg, and Laurens [age 12] at the back side of the bed to keep it from sliding … He has got so much better that they all have some sport in doing it … While I am writing a charming shower has commenced. All nature is dressed in fresh robes of green.
In July 1830, despite the comfort and assistance of his extended family, Pliny Jr. was desperately missing home:
You informed me that Silas was at home the time that you wrote. I wonder why he does not write. It has been ten months since he has written to me. Please to tell him (for me) I think that he has neglected a brother’s duty for not writing. I think that communications ought to be kept up between brothers and sisters only 600 and 50 miles distant. Lyndon says, “Tell Silas that I will give him a York sixpence if he will sit down and write one hour and send it to me.”
And in November, Pliny Jr. counted his blessings but was nevertheless filled with longing:
Tender and affectionate Mother … What kind friends I have. What I should have done had it not been for friends, I should have been a begging my way to my native land. And now I have a good home, am happy and perfectly contented. I will do my best in whatever land I may be in to get friends, such friends that will not leave me when trouble and sickness overtakes me. If you think of me you must think how much there has been done for me here.
Sister Augusta… I am much pleased to see a few lines in Fathers letter from you, should like to see them oftener. I shall expect to receive a letter in a short time from you and the rest of my sisters.
In a letter written the following July, Pliny Jr. spoke again of his loneliness—and celebrated a joyful family occasion far from home:
I have anticipated a great deal of pleasure in thinking I should see my parents, brothers, and sisters this fall, but now I think probably it will be two years before I shall return to Sturbridge … All that I want to make this place suit me is to have my parents, brothers, and sisters to live nearby so I can once in a few days make them a few hours visit … I will congratulate with you all in Silas’ marriage and with pleasure will receive Maria as a sister. With the greatest pleasure and honour and respect her the same … May it prove to double their joys and divide their sorrows … Give my love to Silas and his wife when you see them or write to them. I should be exceeding glad to have either or both of them write to me. If I could think of anything that would induce him to write to [me] if it was in my power I would bestow it … You see it is time for me to come to a close. Shall visit again as soon as time and opportunity will occur. Write often, write when you think best … My love and best wishes to all—parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins.
In a letter written in May 1835, Pliny Jr., then settled in Cleveland, chided his family for neglecting to write:
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