Adams Papers

From Mary E. Huger to Abigail Smith Adams, 15 May 1799

Clermont 15th of May 1799.

Hond Madam,

Tho a stranger and in that retired situation of life, which makes it a degree of presumption to address myself to you, yet when I reflect that my husband fell in the service of his Country, and that my son Capt. F. Kinloch Huger has hitherto distinguished himself by his good conduct & desire of treading in the foot steps of his excellent Father. I flatter myself that our dear, well beloved, and respectable President will not disapprove of your attention to this application as honourable I trust to you both, as it will at fist view appear singular.

Twenty years of my life having been past in lamenting the loss of the best of Husbands, in attendance on a Mother who for many years had very ill health, & was at one time totally blind, and in educating my Son, with a heart severely wounded in the sweetest affections of which our nature is capable of, and occupied in performing the most serious & sacred duties of life: full of evil would have been the days of the years of my mourning, were not my affections most effectually disingaged from worldly considerations.

During my Sons imprisonment in Germany, I dreamt that the day of Judgment was at hand, that after calming the fears of my Mother and preparing her to meet with fortitude what I though I saw approaching. I recollected my Son, & wished that he was with me, when a Superior Being whispered me, and said do not be uneasy about him.

Tho the whole frame of Nature round him break,

He unconcerned would hear the mighty crash;

And stand secure amidst a falling world.

This, and hearing of his deliverance on his birth day, a day to which I had anxiously looked forward, and fervently prayed that I should, has strenghtened my Faith beyond what any one can imagine, who has not had similar trials, and who has not like me sensibly experienced the power & goodness of God.

These circumstances I mention Hond Madam to shew you how superior I feel myself to this World, its pleasures & delights; but so far from having that apathy, which is often the consequence of a seclusion from the world; my most ardent desires, my fervent prayers are that I may be enabled to promote the temporal and eternal happiness of my fellow Creatures.

It is in their behalf that I now address myself to you. It is in the cause and for the sake of our blessed Redeemer! that unknown, uninvited I appear before you.

With the boldness that such a cause naturally inspires I assure you Hond Madam that tho’ I shall with the most heart felt gratitude and sensibility acknowledge your kindness, yet should the world so far prevail as to make it necessary to discourage my presumption, I could with the greatest tranquility support your neglect.

My Son, and a friend of his a young Clergyman of distinguished abilities that have been highly cultivated, and apparently crowned with the grace of God! have entered into a plan for the promotion of Learning & the education of Youth.

My Son tho in the army can assist with his interest his advice, and attention to the best method of influencing the innicent affections of youth to the pursuit of Piety, Virtue and Knowledge. The Revd Mr Roberts has a living in the neighbourhood, his best endeavours, his own small fortune, the profits of a valuable work that he is now preparing for the press will be all devoted to the establishment of this Seminary.

Having undertaken the education of an amiable sensible child the adopted daughter of Mrs Benjn. Huger I have had some of the young Ladies of the neighbourhood to meet at our House twice a week, and Mr Roberts has assisted me in instructing them. So that our school on which our hearts are so much set, is in some measure begun.

But tho my dear Mother and several other Ladies take a very lively interest in the success of this Institution We by no means intend to interfere with the Gentlemen in the conduct of it. We are of opinion with Lord Lyttelton who says

Womens fairest virtues fly from public sight.

Domestic worth that shuns too strong a light.

That you will patronize this infant Institution, and that you will accept my fervent prayers for your happiness and the health and success of our excellent President, is the earnest request of one who is with every sentiment of Respect, Esteem, and Regard Hond Madam Your Most Obt.

Mary E. Huger

MHi: Adams Papers.

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