|Courtesy: Ohio Historical Society, Lilly Martin Spencer Collection
Transcribed: University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell
See: Sarah George Bagley
Springfield, Mass March 13
Dear Madam – You will pardon
my long, delay when I tell you that your
arrived in Lowell during my absence from
the City to attend the sick bed of our aged father, who
I am happy to inform you has, recovered. I would
offer an apology for my long silence but be
assured that you have given no offence in writing
but I have always felt a great interest in your
communications. I feel that I am deeply indebted
for your generosity and hope you will let me
hear often from you. My duties have been
very pressing of late, and the business of my
office has almost made me ungrateful to
my correspondents. I left Lowell about three months
since and am in charge of the magnetic
telegraph in this place during the present year.
I have an aged father and mother to support,
to whom my duty is first and greatest.
I regret to say to you, that the “Voice of Industry”
is quite conservative and must be with its
present conductor. The present editor thinks
that a middle ground or half and half in our
opinions is good policy. He thinks that
truth ought to be spoken in such honeyed
words that if it hits any one, it shall
not affect him unfavorably.
He found fault with my communications
and I would not remain on the committee
of publication with him for editor.
He does not want a female department
it would conflict with the opinions of
the mushroom aristocracy that he seeks
to favor, and beside it would not be
I am sick at heart when I look into the
social world and see woman so willingly
made a dupe to the beastly selfishness of
man. A mere donkey for his use and no
right, even to her own person.
I most fervently thank Heaven that
I have never introduced into existence
a being to suffer the privations that I
have endured. For instance –
the man who tended this office before
me had four hundred dollars per year
I three and still the business has been
on the increased all the time.
But I am a woman and it is not worth
so much to a company for me to write
a letter as it would be for a man.
Well, the world is quite satisfied with
the present arrangement, and we can only
protest against such a state of things,
and strive to arouse the minds of others
to their state of servitude and dependence
on the caprice and whims and selfishness
of man. I feel as though my labors
for the public good are nearly ended.
It takes time and that is my only means.
It takes money that I can ill afford.
My father has had two severe fevers the
last year. I am their only dependence
and it has called for every shilling I
could earn more than my absolute
wants. Still I shall toil on with
the little in my power until my
task on earth is ended which will
Pardon me dear Mrs. Martin for writing
so sadly. I feel so, and am only
giving expression to my depressed soul.
To labor year after year and have
only an ungrateful return from those
you are striving to bless, is truly discouragy.
But it is the way of the world, and
to think a thought that has not been
in stereotype for forty years is so ultra
that it can be hardly countenanced
in refined society.
Let us trust on and try to leave a
little seed on earth that shall bear
fruit when we shall pass away.
I hope to see Father Owen this spring
I am anxious to have some kind word
of encouragement from him.
Do write some kind word to me
on the reception of this, it will be
I will not neglect to answer you
so long again. I had no time
today but sit up an hour later
to say to you, that you are kindly
my best wishes
and let me hear from you often.
Dir Springfield, Mass