LOWELL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ALFRED GILMAN COLLECTION
WRITTEN BY SANDERS J. BRADBURY
TO ALFRED GILMAN
New York, March 20th 1834
“Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought,
Which still recurs, unlooked for and unsought,
My soul to Fancy’s fond suggestion yields,
And roams romantic o’er her airy fields.
Scenes of my youth developed crowd to views,
To which I long have paid a last adieu”.
Friend Gilman, When I read the above lines I was carried in imagin-
ation back to the happy days of youth, but it was but a dream, for
although pleasant it would be once more to revisit the friends of my
younger days, yet, in all probability I shall not again, for many
long years if ever. It is nearly or quite four months since I received
your favor, and I have much to reprove me for not writing you
ere this. I received your letter with pleasure, and read it with
surprise. What! Married? I exclaimed, -well, good by to ye, says I,
you are indeed gone. ‘Twas then, friend Gilman.
vowed that your case should ne’er be my own.”
But, hold,- I had half forgotten that we are all erring and insolute
best, and that it may not be impossible that---but I won’t mention
long life and a happy one be the fate of you, my old friend, is my
sincere wish, and that the partner you have chosen for life may
ever be what, no doubt busy fancy had pictured her to you.
You speak of being the first of our number to burst asunder the
cords of single blessedness – and in all probability I shall be the
last, for the most obscure individual I shall live and die. If, however
fate should ever deign to cast one smile upon my cheerless path, I
may change the seeming contents of my life, but as fate has always
proved upon my existence as though I were not fit to live, I have
but few anticipations as to my future life. And when I found myself
in New York, I thought to myself that I had wandered,
“From all affection,
and from all contempt.”
However, think not that I would curse the land of my birth. No, but
however obscure and unassuming I have endeavored to be, yet I have
not lived without my enemies, and those too who have used unfair means
to crush me forever. Should I ever return to New England, I shall still
remember those who have injured me, and I shall not forget those
I love and respect, and for whom I shall ever cherish a cordial remembrance.
I wrote to friend Cornelius a week or two since, but I have received
No answer, and I have not heard from him since I was at Lowell.
What this insufferable silence on his part can mean I cannot imagine.
May be that he has become offended at me, and has therefore resolved
never to write me again, but if such is the fact, I am utterly at
a loss to know for what it is. I am unconscious of any thing which
has been done on my part to cause this sudden reversions of feelings,
such is the case, and I can think of nothing that should detain
him from writing to me if he thought me worthy his notice. Give
my sincere respects to him, and request of him that he would favor
me with an explanation.
Prescott you say has gone to Boston.—I have never written to him or
he to me, and I believe he does not so much use the quill as the
rest of us, but is more of a reader of others’ ideas. Success to him.
My cousin George arrived in the city a few days since and
informed me that you had sold out the “Album” to Meder & Brown,
and that the Mercury was in the hands of Knowlton & Huntress. This
is quite a change in affairs. All for the best no doubt. We have had
a dull winter in New York, and some poor Journeymen Printers
hard times. In fact, I believe that nearly one hundred have enlisted
in the army or navy since last fall. Pell & Brothers, who
ployed from 40 to 70 yrs. Have failed and now employ none. Conner
Cooke, who employ generally from 75 to 125 have now about 28,
many others have entirely stopped in business, and all is owing to
removal of the Deposits as politicians tell us. –We have had high
times in New York, but as spring begins to open, business begins to
assume its worst activity. The steamboats are now busily shiping
on the North River as well as on the Gort, and people from all parts
of the country are flocking into the city by thousands. New York, friend
G. come’s with it a different appearance from what the moral and
Sober little town of Lowell does. You may well imagine that for just
Contrast this city with a population of from 220, to 240,000 with
your town of 12 or 13,000 and ones imagination soon figures the (contrast)
I wanted , friend G. give you a description, in miniature of this godly
to do that I should have commenced at the beginning of my letter, for
have not room now to do it, and must therefore defer it until
a more convenient opportunity. Give my best respects to all friends,
and write me as soon as convenient/not following my example as to slowness./
Direct as before, and give me all the intelligence you can possible
Into one sheet. As for me I find,
“My pen is at the bottom of the page
Which being finished, here my letter ends;
Tis’ to be wished it had been sooner done,
But letters somehow lengthen when begun.”
As Byron says. However I have written all I can think of for
am rather dull for ideas today, being about half sick, so you must
me, with promise that I shall do better next time.
Yours in truth-
Alfred Gilman J.