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Mercy Otis Warren

Selected Letters

Mercy Otis Warren Edited by Jeffrey H. Richards and Sharon M. Harris

Publication Year: 2009

This volume gathers more than one hundred letters-most of them previously unpublished-written by Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814). Warren, whose works include a three-volume history of the American Revolution as well as plays and poems, was a major literary figure of her era and one of the most important American women writers of the eighteenth century. Her correspondents included Martha and George Washington, Abigail and John Adams, and Catharine Macaulay.

Until now, Warren's letters have been published sporadically, in small numbers, and mainly to help complete the collected correspondence of some of the famous men to whom she wrote. This volume addresses that imbalance by focusing on Warren's letters to her family members and other women. As they flesh out our view of Warren and correct some misconceptions about her, the letters offer a wealth of insights into eighteenth-century American culture, including social customs, women's concerns, political and economic conditions, medical issues, and attitudes on child rearing.

Letters Warren sent to other women who had lost family members (Warren herself lost three children) reveal her sympathies; letters to a favorite son, Winslow, show her sharing her ambitions with a child who resisted her advice. What readers of other Warren letters may have only sensed about her is now revealed more fully: she was a woman of considerable intellect, religious faith, compassion, literary intelligence, and acute sensitivity to the historical moment of even everyday events in the new American republic.

Published by: University of Georgia Press


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pp. C-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

The editors wish to thank the following individuals and institutions for assistance and permissions to use manuscript material. At Old Dominion University, we are grateful to the College of Arts and Letters and Dean Chandra De Silva; the Department of English and its former chair Joyce Neff; and the Old Dominion University...

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pp. xi-xxx

When the committed American Revolutionary, pathbreaking author, and resolute Republican Mercy Otis Warren penned a letter, she rarely wrote just a note. Instead, she seemed to imagine history looking over her shoulder, urging her to speak both to her...

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Editorial Note

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pp. xxxi-xxxviii

The transcribed letters in this volume come largely from the Mercy Warren Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. Other letters come from other collections at MHS or from other archives; in every case, we note the provenance of the letter. Some...


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1. To James Otis Jr., [c. September 10, 1769]

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pp. 3-5

Although mow had been writing letters before this date, she only preserved drafts and originals from 1769 forward. To some extent, her conscious writing career begins with the event referred to in the following letter. On September...

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2. To James Warren, April 22, 1772

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pp. 5-7

MOW had married James Warren (1726–1808) of Plymouth, a Harvard graduate, in 1754; by 1772, they had produced fi ve sons and had become a prominent family in town. JW often...

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3. To James Warren Jr., [September? 1772]

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pp. 7-8

[Although jw had graduated from Harvard (as his father had before him), only one of his and mow’s fi ve sons had that distinction: the oldest, James...

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4. To Hannah Fayerwether Tolman Winthrop, February 1773

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pp. 8-12

[One of mow’s closest correspondents during the 1770s, Hannah Winthrop (1726–90) of Cambridge, was, like mow, an intellectual with a companionate marriage. She was married to a close...

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5. To Hannah Fayerwether Tolman Winthrop, April 1773

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pp. 12-14

How often have my worthy friends been called to exhibit the most painful part of the drama of life. But as they have hitherto acquitted themselves to the general approbation of the spectators on this little theatre of action I have no doubt they will obtain that...

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6. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay, June 9, 1773

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pp. 14-17

Catharine Macaulay (1731–91), a well-known Whig historian in Britain, had been corresponding with American political fi gures for several years, including John Adams and James Otis Jr. Because JO2 had by this time...

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7. To James Warren Jr., [c. July] 1773

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pp. 17-19

At the same time that I feel a truly sympathetic sorrow for the affl icted parents who are now mourning the sudden death of one of your young companions, my heart overfl ows with gratitude to the great preserver of man, that he hath thus...

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8. To Sarah Walter Hesilrige, [c. December 1773 or March 1774]

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pp. 20-22

Possibly through her brother Joseph’s marriage to Maria Walter, MOW became acquainted with Maria’s sister, Lady Sarah Hesilrige (spelled variously), the wife of Sir Arthur Hesilrige. Born in 1736, Sarah Walter was the...

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9. To Hannah Fayerwether Tolman Winthrop, January 31, 1774

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pp. 23-26

Not any abatement of affection for my worthy friend has occasioned a silence longer than usual. After a long and painful application to public business the partner both of the cares and the joys of my life appears to be in such declining health as...

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10. To Hannah Fayerwether Tolman Winthrop, 1774

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pp. 27-29

When I took up my pen I determined to leave the fi eld of politicks to those whose proper business it is to speculate and to act at this important crisis; but the occurrences that have lately taken place are so alarming and the subject so interwoven with...

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11. To Hannah Quincy Lincoln, June 12, 1774

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pp. 29-31

The recent widow of Dr. Bela Lincoln, Hannah Lincoln had known MOW for many years. Hannah Lincoln’s brother-in-law, Benjamin Lincoln, lived in Hingham, Plymouth County, and later served as a general...

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12. To Hannah Fayerwether Tolman Winthrop, August 1774

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pp. 31-33

On June 30, 1774, the Boston Port Act took effect, closing Boston harbor to commercial shipping and imposing martial law on the city, the “thraldom” referred...

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13. To Hannah Quincy Lincoln, September 3, 1774

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pp. 33-37

As Mrs. Lincoln’s last agreeable letter did not come to hand till sometime after it was wrote, that detention must serve as an apology for her not receiving a more immediate reply. But why did you damp my pleasure in the perusal by a threat that it is the...

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14. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay, December 29, 1774

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pp. 37-40

Your kind Notice of my last Emboldens me again to Interrupt your more important pursuits by offering my Warmest acknowledgments for the Expressions of personal Regard contained in your agreable Favour of Sept. 11th as well as for your Generous...

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15. To Abigail Smith Adams, December 29, 1774

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pp. 41-43

The Warren and the Adams families had fast developed into close friends in the early stages of anti-administration activity. By late 1774, epistolary contact between MOW and John and Abigail Adams was frequent, with occasional...

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16. To John Adams, January 30, 1775

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pp. 43-46

Having embarked on a career as a satirist with the publication of her fi rst political play, The Adulateur, in 1772, MOW concluded it with her third and last such play...

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17. To Sarah Brown Bowen, April 1775

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pp. 47-49

During the early years of the Revolution, the Warrens were friendly with Jabez and Sarah Brown Bowen, each from prominent merchant families in Rhode Island, hers being the one to give Brown University its name....

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18. To Harriet Shirley Temple, June 2, 1775

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pp. 49-51

Among MOW’s Tory (or suspected Tory) correspondents was Harriet Shirley Temple (1724–1802), daughter of the colonial Massachusetts governor...

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19. To James Warren, June 15, 1775

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pp. 52-53

With the highest pleasure I Received the several Letters of my Dearest friend & now having Returnd to my own Habitation I have begun to answer them. I Returnd...

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20. To Ellen Hobart Lothrop, [July?] 1775

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pp. 53-56

MOW’s near neighbor in Plymouth, Ellen Hobart Lothrop (d. 1780), was the daughter of Reverend Noah Hobart and the wife of Nathaniel Lothrop (1737–1828), a Harvard...

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21. To Harriet Shirley Temple, July 30, 1775

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pp. 56-58

The confusion of the times leaves me uncertain to what place to direct an answer to your last agreeable letter: but wherever this fi nds you, may it be in some happy part of this variable world....

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22. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay, August 24, 1775

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pp. 58-61

At A time when all Europe is Interested in the Fate of America you will forgive me Dear Madam if I lay Asside the Ceremony usually observed where there is no Attachment that Arises...

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23. To John Thomas, January 10, 1776

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pp. 61-62

John Thomas (1724–76) of Massachusetts served as an offi cer under George Washington in the siege of Boston and captured Roxbury from the British on March...

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24. To James Warren, January [20], 1776

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pp. 62-64

While the fi rst hostile actions of the Revolution took place in Massachusetts, an expeditionary force, under the direction of General Richard Montgomery, made its way to Canada with the hope of seizing Quebec and thereby...

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25. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, January 20, 1776

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pp. 64-66

Whilst all America weeps the loss of the brave Montgomery, his amiable Lady will permit a stranger of her own sex, to mingle the sympathetic Sigh and to pour the tear of condolence, into her wounded bosom....

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26. To James Warren, February 11, 1776

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pp. 67-68

Although the condition of this letter leaves many words uncertain, it provides a rare glimpse into the Warren household and an idea of how...

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27. To John Adams, March [10], 1776

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pp. 69-72

In early 1776, with the crisis of independence looming, mow engaged in a compelling exchange over the nature of a future American government and society...

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28. To Dorothy Quincy Hancock, [c. April] 1776

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pp. 72-74

The correspondent below, Dorothy Quincy Hancock (1747–1830), was the daughter of Edmund Quincy and thus cousin to mow’s acquaintances Hannah Quincy Lincoln and Josiah Quincy Jr. Dolly, as she was nicknamed, married...

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29. To James Warren Jr., June 1776

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pp. 74-77

In his last year at Harvard, jw2 appears to have suffered some form of depression or nervous collapse; aa reported to her husband in a portion of a letter dated May 27 that young James had been “carried home” and “disorderd in...

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30. To James Warren, [September] 15, [1776]

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pp. 77-79

In early 1776, with the patriot headquarters at Watertown, Massachusetts, James Warren served as Paymaster General for the Continental Army. After the patriots put Boston under siege, the British departed in March....

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31. To James Warren, November 24, 1776

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pp. 79-80

With a smallpox epidemic threatening Plymouth, MOW had her sons inoculated. This letter provides an interesting glimpse into the convalescence of her children....

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32. To James Warren, December 26, [1776]

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pp. 81-84

By December 1776, things looked bleak for American patriots. Routed from New York City and Long Island by an overwhelming British force, the Continental Army under George Washington retreated from New York altogether...

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33. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay, February 1, 177[7]

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pp. 84-86

An opportunity presenting by a Gentleman in whose honour I can confi de, to convey solely to your hand, I again take up the pen. I have no doubt you are still glad to hear from...

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34. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay, February 15, 1777, part 1

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pp. 86-92

I wrote you, my dear madam, fi fteen days since by an American Gentleman bound to England; but as the circumstances of the times render every conveyance uncertain except what are cloathed with Royal authority, I again resume the pen. The very critical situation...

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35. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay, February 15, 1777, part 2

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pp. 92

I have mentioned in a preceding letter that Sir William Howe had returned to New York, and that the year had opened with better prospects to the Colonies....

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36. To James Warren, [June 14, 1777]

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pp. 96-97

[Although the war was still in its early stages, MOW began to sour on the town where she lived. Despite her fervent belief in republican government and virtue, she observed in Plymouth instead what she thought was an unwarranted...

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37. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, November 25, 1777

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pp. 97-99

The depredations made in the State of New York and the confusion into which that City has been thrown the Summer past, with the uncertain residence of its distressed inhabitants must be my apology for postponing to acknowledge the receipt of your very...

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38. To James Warren, [December 30, 1777]

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pp. 99-100

This Extream Cold season Gives me great Concern for you who can so Illy brave the severity of Winter more Especially from your own fi re side where it is the study of Every one to Make you happy. Oh these painful abscences. Ten Thousand anxieties...

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39. To James Warren, March 10, 1778

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pp. 100-101

My dearest friend I am not out of spirits. Your Harry[?] says I am not—& there is nothing he observes more or more ardently wishes than to support the spirits of his mamah. I hope this fi llial principle in him will ever coincide with the virtuous dispotition...

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40. To James Warren, June 2, 1778

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pp. 101-104

Although jw had taken an active role in Massachusetts politics since his early days as sheriff, by 1778 he found himself at odds with a number of other, more naturally political people, including John Hancock. This letter refl ects not only...

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41. To John Adams, December 16, 1778

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pp. 104-107

I cannot but think I must have been a sufferer by the many captures of American navigation, for as I take you to be a gentleman of the strictest veracity, I must suppose that the watery damsels who attend the ouzy beard of the grey-headed Neptune are much...

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42. To Abigail Smith Adams, March 14, 1779

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pp. 107-109

If anything could awake the sleeping muses, or call back the wandring Deity, the Imagery of this delightful Morn, when the hand of nature has decorated everything with spangles of peculiar brilliancy, while the rising sun displays a calm, majestic brightness...

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43. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, March 18, 1779

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pp. 109-112

Though I am persuaded Mrs. Montgomery rendered herself amiable in the sunshine of prosperity and in the brightest smiles of pleasure by her engaging affability endeared herself to her connexions, yet is not that character heightened by adversity, when from its mournful...

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44. To Hannah Fayerwether Tolman Winthrop, May 24, 1779

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pp. 113-115

What a poor creature and, to take up my pen with a view of giving consolation to my affl icted friend, when I have so little fortitude, that I cannot suppress the rising tear, when the Partner of my cares has just left me with the hope of returning in a few...

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45. To John Adams, July 29, 1779

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pp. 115-117

Your vigilant and invariable friend Mr Warren, has just written you a long letter which makes it unnecessary for me to take up my pen;—nor should I do it at this time; but in compliance with his wish, whose partiality leads him to think it is in my power...

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46. To Winslow Warren, December 4, 1779

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pp. 117-119

In 1779, MOW’s son Winslow was living in Boston, gaining, it seems, a reputation for pleasure seeking while ostensibly trying to establish himself in the trade business during wartime. Always her favorite son...

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47. To Winslow Warren, December 1779

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pp. 120-123

I perceive by your last you are enraptured with Lord Chesterfi eld1— nor do I wonder at it. I should have no opinion of your taste if you was not charmed with the correct style, the elegant diction, the harmony of language, the thousand beauties...

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48. To James Warren, [January 1780?]

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pp. 123-124

I know not whether I have been most thankful for the Repeated protection you have Experienced through the Dangers & Fatigues of Inclement seasons or solicitously concerned Least you may have suffered by the severity of this Day. And could I be assured you are...

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49. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, January 5, 1780

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pp. 124-127

It was with real heartfelt pleasure, I received yours of the sixteenth November. I have thought the interval long since I had the satisfaction of hearing from one whose correspondence I prize, whose taste I admire, and whose person I love, however fanciful...

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50. To James Warren, March 12, 1780

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pp. 128-129

I know not how it is but in your abscence the sun seldom shines Either literally or Metaphorically but I no more touch on that string. Heaven minds the bounds of our Habitation as well as the Duration of our Lives, & a few more Revolutions of the Celestial...

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51. To Winslow Warren, March 25, 1780

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pp. 129-132

As a variety of circumstances have long postponed the pleasing expectation of seeing a son who possesses every tender avenue of my soul and least some accident should prevent me once more folding him in my arms before he embarks to visit the...

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52. To John Adams, May 8, 1780

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pp. 133-135

I now put a letter of introduction into the hand of a son who agreeable to your polite and friendly invitation waits on you on his fi rst arrival at Paris. I believe I may venture to say he is a youth, who, will by no part of his conduct, disgrace the recommendations...

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53. To John Sloss Hobart, June 9, 1780

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pp. 135-138

Another death brought forward from MOW another letter to a bereaved family member of the deceased. This time, the deceased was mow’s neighbor and long-time friend Ellen Hobart Lothrop, and the recipient her brother, John Sloss Hobart...

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54. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, June 178[0]

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pp. 138-140

I received your last agreeable favour in the darkened apartment of a most amiable friend,2 languishing under a cruel and painful disorder. A period was soon after put to the life of a lady in whom was encountered[?] the affability and sweetness of good...

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55. To Winslow Warren, August 20, 1780

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pp. 140-141

As if ww’s social escapades and his trip to Europe were not cause enough for his mother’s concern, he added to her distress when his Holland-bound ship, the Pallas, was captured off Newfoundland by the British admiral and governor...

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56. To Winslow Warren, November 7, 1780

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pp. 142-144

Another version of this letter is in the Letterbook, dated November 20. In the present version, the rc, many words have been struck through for later change; the editors have restored as much as possible the original...

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57. To Catherine Livingston, [November 23, 1780]

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pp. 144-146

A Direct Conveyance gives me the pleasing opportunity of inquiring after the Welfare of my Friends at the Mannor & thanking you for a very agreeable Letter which lies unanswered. I was Entertained by the account of your Late Journey. The Narative style is...

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58. To Winslow Warren, December 16, 1780

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pp. 146-149

By a vessel captured & brought to Boston, I understand from one Capt. Carr that you Embarked for Europe about the 28th of Sept. But none of your letters since the...

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59. To Winslow Warren, January 18, 1781

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pp. 150-152

If I have not been Remarkably unfortunate in the Conveyance you must have found so many letters to your direction on your arrival in Holland as might make it appear almost unnecessary again to take up my pen. But while you my son are absent...

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60. To Winslow Warren, September 28, 1781

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pp. 153-155

In 1781 the Warrens purchased the former home of their political enemy Thomas Hutchinson in Milton and moved in. The house was much closer to Boston and had a beautiful view and acreage that JW could farm. Eventually, however, the...

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61. To Winslow Warren, March 24, 1782

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pp. 155-157

After staying in Holland for several months in spring and summer of 1781, WW traveled to Paris in July where he met with JA and dined with Benjamin Franklin. Still at least nominally intending to set up in trade, WW sought loans...

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62. To Catherine Livingston, July 5, 1782

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pp. 157-158

It is now many months since I had the pleasure of one line from a young lady I both love and esteem;—nor do I wonder at her silence, constious[?] I have no claims upon her pen;—at the same time, I can exculpate myself from any designed neglect. Civility...

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63. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, October 1782

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pp. 159-161

Janet Montgomery appears to have come to Massachusetts and seen MOW in the spring of 1782, or late winter, when the weather was bad, and stayed only a short time with mow. Although she expresses a desire to...

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64. To Winslow Warren, November 24, 1782

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pp. 161-164

The Argo is not yet arrived. By the Alexander we had one short scrip from my son (Dated Paris). Has pleasure or Bussiness led you there? This inquiry rises not from the Curiosity of a Woman. It is prompted by the tender, prudent solicitude of an affectionate...

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65. To John Adams, December 18, 1782

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pp. 164-166

All America are sighing for peace, but the hope is checked, though not extinguished, by the relief of Gibraltar.1 Yet some of the Nobility of France think that Teritry in very good hands, & most Americans are willing it should remain where it is, requiring...

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66. To John Adams, [May?] 1783

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pp. 167-168

Did the Minister at the Hague recieve a letter under the signature of Marcia1 before he left that country and repaired to France? If the cold phlegmatic Dutchman, more honest than polite—has received and thus delayed a return, I hope the influence...

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67. To Winslow Warren, May 4, 1783

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pp. 168-170

Expectation is almost worn down & hope ready to give place to fears of the most alarming Nature. Six long months & not a line from a son whose fillial attention used to watch all opportunities of communication....

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68. To Winslow Warren, May 19, 1783

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pp. 170-171

And is my son—my dear Winslow, again on the same continent with myself? Words cannot express the joy—the gratitude—the tenderness that pervaded my bosom when the tidings reached my ears....

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69. To Elizabeth Otis Brown, June 15, 1783

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pp. 171-174

On May 23, 1783, mow’s brother, James Otis Jr., was killed by lightning, providing an incandescent end to a fiery figure of the early Revolution. For years, JO2 had been...

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70. To Abigail Smith Adams, April 24, 1784

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pp. 174-180

At the time of the first portion of this letter, April 1784, AA was in Braintree; Nabby Adams had recently visited the Warrens at Milton; and JA was still in Europe. However, in June, AA and her...

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71. To Sarah Sever, May 2, 1784

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pp. 180-182

Sarah Sever (d. 1787), known affectionately as Sally, was mow’s niece and the daughter of William Sever, a classmate of JW’s at Harvard, and JW’s sister, Sarah...

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72. To Winslow Warren, August 16, 1784

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pp. 182-183

The Friend may look anxiously out and the Mother may chide the Winds, but the philosopher must call in the aid of patience, & the chieftian wait till the combination of circumstance compleats his Wishes or the Destination of providence sees fit to deny...

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73. To Winslow Warren, August 22, 1784

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pp. 184-186

You may easily suppose we were all exceedingly gratifi ed by the perusal of yours of June 5th & 7th to your brother Harry. They came to hand yesterday. But your Father received none, & as he is not mentioned in Harrys we have no doubt his Letters may have miscarried....

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74. To Winslow Warren, August 28, 1784

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pp. 186-189

I forward you a large packet by the Jacob and Antony, Capt. Wybrands commander.1 If you receive it you will fi nd a Manuscript which I have since reperused & fi nd several Negligencies. A more critical eye will doubtless discover many...

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75. To Winslow Warren, November 11, 1784

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pp. 189-193

Your enclosures both by Adams[?] & Hill are safely delivered to all as directed. But when I take up my pen to reply to those to myself, I have so many things to say & so many passions...

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76. To Winslow Warren, January 4, 1785

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pp. 193-198

It is now some time since I wrote my dear Winslow, not through inattention or any abatement of the strongest affection that ever warmed the parental bosom, but few opportunities have presented which mistify me...

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77. To Martha Ball Custis Washington, April 1785

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pp. 198-200

A common social practice in the eighteenth century was carrying letters of introduction to distant places. WW took them with him to Europe, and others, well known and not, often carried such letters as a form of cultural currency. In...

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78. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, April 1785

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pp. 200-201

This will be handed [to?] my friend Mrs Montgomery by a lady who need not wish for recommendatory letters to those whose taste and education qualify them for the conversation of the learned and...

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79. To John Adams, September 1785

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pp. 201-204

The account of your sons arrival in America you will have from himself;— the pleasure his friends recieve from his return you will not doubt, and though you had not requested my attention to him—be assured that in every instance where my advice may be either...

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80. To James Warren Jr., [January] 178[6]

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pp. 204-206

In 1784 mow’s middle son Charles was debilitated by tuberculosis. After a failed visit to Haiti in that year to recuperate, he took the risk of sailing to Cadiz, Spain, in 1785 to meet his brother Winslow in Portugal. Meanwhile, WW, having...

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81. To Elbridge Gerry, February 19, 1786

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pp. 206-208

My son1 who lately returned unexpectedly from Europe (where he stayed a little too long for his own Interest, [??] therto like thousands before him, by the most delusory of all Dependencies, the Expectation of court Favour) will deliver my friend Mr. Gerry my most sincere Congratulations...

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82. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay Graham, [September?] 1786

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pp. 208-209

It is long, very long, my dear madam since the social intercourse that has given me so much pleasure has been suspended; but not from any neglect or a want of regard on either side. I speak from the feelings of my own heart; and I think I can answer for...

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83. To John Adams, December 1786

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pp. 210-212

In 1786, a band of disaffected farmers and others in western Massachusetts joined a rebellion led by Daniel Shays in opposition to eastern state interests and the heavy tax burden they felt they unfairly shouldered. Thinking themselves as acting in the spirit of the Revolution, the participants...

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84. To Dorothy Quincy Hancock, [February?] 17[87]

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pp. 213-215

Despite the sharp differences between JW and John Hancock, and despite mow’s own scorching characterization of him in a previous letter as an “idol of Straw,” she nevertheless reaches out to Hancock’s wife in her grief over...

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85. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay Graham, December 18, 1787

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pp. 215-218

Following the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, the Warrens found themselves on the defensive and joined other Antifederalists in opposing ratifi cation. To that end, mow composed a lengthy essay...

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86. To John Adams, May 8, 1789

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pp. 218-220

Presuming on the confidential and unremitting friendship that has long subsided between us,—grounded on the close connexion commenced with Mr Warren in the early part of your life,—I again address you, without waiting an answer to my last. According...

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87. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay Graham, July 1789

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pp. 221-223

As I cannot excuse myself, I will not attempt an apology for thus long neglecting an answer to your favour of the twenty ninth October, one thousand seven hundred eighty eight. I feel mortifi ed at my own delay as it has doubtless prevented me the pleasure of hearing...

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88. To James Warren, March 29, 1790

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pp. 223-225

On March 24, JW departed Massachusetts for New York, the seat of the new federal government, in order to secure compensation he felt he was owed for his several years as a member of the Navy Board for the Eastern Department. It...

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89. To George Washington, May 18, 1790

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pp. 225-226

[In May 1790, mow’s first book of belles lettres, Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous, appeared from the press of Isaiah Thomas in Boston. The volume includes many, but not all, of the poems she wrote for friends and family or that...

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90. To Winslow Warren, April 25, 1791

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pp. 226-227

In yours received yesterday you give not the smallest intimation when I may expect to see you, nor what are the arrangments for the summer, but I hope your next will contain many particulars which I wish to know. You have promissed two or three hours from...

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91. To Winslow Warren, May 22, 1791

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pp. 228-230

We have not a word from you since the 15th instant. Robbins is just arrived by whom I hoped to heave heard, though perhaps had you have written you could not have given much consolation to one “whom the Lord hath called as a woman forsaken & grieved...

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92. To Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay Graham, May 31, 1791

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pp. 230-233

Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France had first appeared in Britain in 1789, with other editions in 1790. By 1791, Burke’s critique of the French Revolution was circulating in the United States and finding...

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93. To James Warren Jr., [December] 28, 1791

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pp. 233-234

In July 1791 WW set out with his regiment for a march through New England and Pennsylvania into western Ohio under General Arthur St. Clair on a mission from Washington’s government to punish the Indians there for their...

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94. To Janet Livingston Montgomery, April 1792

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pp. 234-236

While in an agony of soul I this day weep the loss of an amiable accomplished son, whose fi llial piety was enhanced by the many amiable qualities that adorned the sensible judicious friend, I turned my mind to your loss, to your affl iction, and to your...

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95. To Henry Warren, February 10, 1793

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pp. 236-237

My son Henry can never suppose that the delay of a letter in his absence can arise from any inattention in his mother to the smallest circumstance that can contribute even to his momentary felicity. Her affection is always awake to the happiness of her children...

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96. To Elizabeth Otis Brown, April 28, 1793

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pp. 238-239

Though my dear niece has never acknowledged a letter wrote a few days after her departure from Boston, I again take up the pen and make one more effort to cultivate that social & friendly intercourse...

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97. To Sarah Gray Cary, June 24, 1793

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pp. 239-240

In her last two decades, MOW rekindled and held fast to a relationship with Sarah Gray Cary (1753–1824), a woman several years younger but connected to MOW via family relations (her cousin was the wife of mow’s brother...

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98. To Robert Treat Paine, [October 1794?]

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pp. 240-242

Robert Treat Paine, a local literary figure in Boston, had launched a new magazine, the Federal Orrery, on October 20, 1794. Apparently, he must have written to MOW on October 11 to ask her to submit something to the journal. In...

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99. To James Warren Jr., May 14, 1796

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pp. 242-245

I hope my dear son will not suffer himself to be hurt either in his feelings or any other way by the violence of party which rages with so much virulence not only in your town but in almost every other place. They have got their treaty with dear England...

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100. To Sarah Gray Cary, June 8, 1799

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pp. 245

I again resume the pen to speak to my dear friend once more on this side the grave. I have stood on its marge: indeed at my time of life every one stands there, yet how hard...

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101. To Sarah Gray Cary, August 18, 1799

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pp. 246-248

Yesterday my dear friend I received yours dated July 13th. This like all I receive from Mrs Cary is replete with that tender interest that marks the mind of true friendship. Yes the feble glimmering of the lamp of life must be nearly extinguished when we arrive at...

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102. To Sarah Gray Cary, August 23, 1800

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pp. 248-249

It is long since I have taken up my pen to offer any of my thoughts to my Mrs Cary. Why should I—why should I call her a moment from the pleasing occupation of rearing and instructing a young family and endeavouring to make them useful when she must...

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103. To Sarah Gray Cary, February 7, 1802

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pp. 250-251

This day counts up twelve months since I have been able to read a page, or take up my pen.1 You who can contemplate the wisdom and goodness of divine dispensation, who have health and vigour both of body and mind, cannot be indisposed to write and haste...

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104. To a Very Young Lady, [Early 1800s?]

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pp. 251-253

This is one of several letters to unidentifi ed young women that MOW wrote later in life. At some point, she realized that with three sons dead and the other two situated in life, her...

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105. To Margaret Cary, January 1, 1814

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pp. 253-256

MOW’s correspondence in the decade before her death has a few bursts, including a series of letters (now in the Houghton Library at Harvard) on the details of publishing her History (conducted mostly through her son James and a friend, James...

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106. To Mary Gray Otis, May 24, 1814

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pp. 256-257

The following is one of the last known letters from MOW. Although physically weakened, she never seems to have lost either her mental faculties or her spirit, even after this letter. Mary Otis, MOW’s sister-in-law, has...


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pp. 259-266


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pp. 267-279

E-ISBN-13: 9780820336732
E-ISBN-10: 0820336734
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820326801
Print-ISBN-10: 0820326801

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2009

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Subject Headings

  • Spain -- Colonies -- Administration -- History -- 18th century.
  • Florida -- History -- Spanish colony, 1784-1821.
  • West Florida -- Ethnic relations.
  • Allegiance -- West Florida -- History.
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- West Florida.
  • British Americans -- West Florida -- Ethnic identity.
  • British Americans -- West Florida -- History.
  • West Florida -- History.
  • Baton Rouge (La.) -- History.
  • Spain -- Colonies -- Administration -- History -- 19th century.
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