Robinson, Ebenezer and Sarah 1846 01 30
 
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UNIVERSITY MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

DONATED COPY

WRITTEN BY REV. EBENEZER WEEKS ROBINSON1
AND
SARAH BACON ADAMS ROBINSON2

                                           Freetown, Ms.3 Jan. 30, 1846

Dear Sister,

           Perhaps you have been disappointed in our not wri- 
ting to you since Sarah has been here-but we have been busy when she 
has written, so that we have not asked a place in her letters, nor has she made the 
offer, & so she has written what she pleases, without our knowledge, & from her tell- 
you of our affairs, there has been less need of our speaking for ourselves. The 
week after she arrived we had our Institute for Teachers a favorable privilege for her 
but as we had no $2 bounty to offer as in the other Institutes in the State it was a new 
thing of which the most were afraid, we had not the numbers present to succeed 
according to our expectation. During that week & the week after, Sister Sarah had a very lame neck, so 
as almost to be laid by; & the next week we attended to painting & cleaning house, so as to move the week following back to the house where you found us. On Thur. of the week we moved we all went to Franklin, and by that time Sarah had made but little progress in her studies for which we were sor- 
ry, yet in the circumstances it seed almost unavoidable. She was ab- 
sent at Franklin & Boylston five weeks. I spent only one day & two nights 
at F & then went on a parish hunting tour into Conn. thence through Ms. 
into Vt. & as far North as Middlebury & returned the day after Sarah did. 
I did not continue longer, though in the region of several vacancies, because 
of being disappointed in two places & because Sister Sarah begged me to re- 
turn immediately. During the last three weeks she was here alone with the chil- 
dren & had about as hard a time of it as any poor woman ever had. Of this I was 
entirely ignorant till the day before I started home – the letter sent me ar- 
riving one day too late so that I did not get it for ten days - & thinking they 
would all return together, I felt very safe concerning them. Having been so 
long out of any productive employment, I felt as if I must take the time 
when I could leave the family provided for. We were disappointed concern- 

  1Ebenezer Weeks Robinson b: 1 May 1812, Granville, NY; occupation: 
     minister; married 1838: Sarah Bacon Adams.
  2Sarah Bacon Adams b: 27 Jun 1809, Franklin, MA d: 19 Feb 1902, 
     Washington, DC; parents: James Adams and Lucy Fairbanks; married 
     1838: Ebenezer Weeks Robinson.
  3Freetown, Massachusetts.
 
 
ing the place, which seemed to be an opening for us, when we wrote the last 
of Aug., though since Nov. I have had a place to preach still nearer. On ac- 
count of moving so late, & leaving things but partly arranged & one winter fexins 
not done, it was hard staying three weeks alone & the more work needed to be done af-
terward. We have been greatly aided & made much more comfortable than otherwise
would have been possible by what Sarah ha done. She has seemed the most 
of the time to have her mind more upon work than upon study & has not stud-
ied any of the time so much as we should have preferred to have her do ex-
cept occasionally when we have needed more assistance we have -----
her less in her studies than we should because some of the time she did not ap-
pear able to study very hard- & for four weeks past she has been lame by
having a sore on the top of her foot made by scalding, raising a small blis-
ter; but now she is better than we have ever seen her before. She has seem-
ed to be increasing in her interest in her studies till within a few days; & has
appeared till quite lately to be contented – but now for want of seeing com-
pany enough perhaps she is rather uneasy - & she is made the more so since
receiving your last letter. The last two letters neither of us have seen & we
know of what they contain only a little that she had mentioned, inciden-
tally or occasionally. When we understood that she was to come to stay
till spring or summer, probably till you come. & hen she seemed to be ma-
king good progress in her studies – having gone through Watts on the Mind
& now reviewing, pursuing Grammar & progressing in Natural Philosophy
you may judge of our surprise when she began this week to talk of
leaving us in a week or two when James comes to work in the factory & return home-
when we had no idea that she was thinking of it. she
has not consulted us as to what is best for her to do; & we supposed she
was contented as she is not desiring any change though we can not al-
ways promote her improvement as we would wish.

 Now if we are to be consulted, & are to have any thing to say about
it, one judgment will be as follows:

 Her time is worth more now for study, than it can be in the factory. Time
must be occupied for study & it makes no difference whether she can earn 1, 2 or
3 dollars a week – it is ordinarily worth the same for study as for work; but
now it is worth more for study because she has got into a train of study
which requires a month or two, just as it takes time to get used to any
other business. Every change therefore is at a sacrifice. And it will be
more than a common sacrifice to her now, as she is now better able to study
& a month to come will improve will be about equal to two months
past.

 It will be a real disadvantage to her to leave off studying before the
first of May - & much better not till June. She needs at least so much time
for study to be paid for the preparation she has been making to study to advantage.
If we had supposed she intended to stay only till the first of Feb., we should not have
 
 
been willing for her to be gone five weeks, unless study was to be made altogether
an incidental secondary thing. But Sis had not seen Sister Lucy since she
saw you, & of course desired to go to Franklin when she was there; & it seemed
best for Sarah to go home with her, because she wished to go to B. some time, & Sis-
ter L. needed her help get home, & immediately after. Thus so much time 
has been taken up aside from study that if it was worth while for her to come
here to make study a business, it is needful for her to stay till June, unless she
would be a loser by the bargain. Writing & composition & other studies we wish
to have her attend to, & we had no idea of being cheated out of them for want
of time. We have taken it for granted that she is familiar with arithmetic & geography
& after reviewing Watts, we wish her to pay attention to history, algebra & botany.

 She is deficient in some of her studies, & her desire to have her bring them up
as fast as possible. At the Institute, it was evident that she was not so familiar
with different branches as some others, with whom she ought to be equal. Her most
apparent deficiency in reciting to me, is in Grammar, & in that she needs a good
deal of practice. She is often puzzled by very slight difficulties in that. What she
needs can not be of some benefit to her, without at least 3 or 4 months longer to do it in.

 The pursuit of her studies is at present the most important thing she can
do. It is the proper time – she is at a suitable age to do it – she will before long think
she can not afford the time, if she has the Lowell fever & she is in danger of thinking that her
studies must be dispatched, like the weaving, when her time is really more valuable for stu-
dy now, than for any thing else. It will be at a great loss of time, to have her studies sus-
pended at present or very soon.

 She had better take time for study now, than two or three years hence. She can learn
probably now, to as good advantage, as hereafter. And by delaying she will either be cheat-
ed out of that extent of privilege that she needs or she will be in danger of having
her mind on her engagements in such a state as to make it more difficult than at
present. There is really nothing in the way of her pursuing her studies till June if
you only add your advice to ours. She can have as many hours to study here as
she would wish to employ at school & with quite as good if not better opportuni-
ties for asking questions about any difficulties that may occur.

 It seems to us quite a short sighted policy for her to stop studying now when
the pains already taken to give her the advantage she now enjoys of getting under 
weigh; to which I have before referred, & the excuse of coming; & her need of more advantages
for study all considered.

 What we should mark out as the course for her is for her own mental improvement
and as justice to her would be the following. Let her continue here & we will help her
along all we can till the middle of May then the first of June let her have a school
for three months & in Oct. let her go to South Hadley for one year; & with nothing short
of this should I be satisfied if she was the daughter of my sister, & I had any voice in ad-
vising with you to her studies. I should not grudge $150 taken from her portion to have
 
 
her enjoy so much advantage-though the expense will probably not be more than 80 or
90; board & tuition being only $60 per year. She needs to teach in order to fix her studies in
mind & to gain the faculty of communications what she does know which may be in part
the real difference of her appearance from others-except in what she has committed to memory.
I should value this course as better for her then all she can earn in two years. It will be better 
for her taking her whole life into the account for her to teach next summer (the most advanced
school you will be likely to find in Winthrop) to give her practice in arithmetic, grammar etc.) there
a girls to keep house while you are visiting in Mass. Her going to school five years will not give
her the practice she needs, that she would have by teaching.

 I might say much more had I the time, I would take time, if I could think it necessary,-
but it seems that on a review of the case, you will think it best for her to study longer. She is going to become fickle minded, if she is easily discouraged by not having learned all she
might in other circumstances, while having now only been really a month well going in
her studies…We shall also be left in a bad fix, if she now leaves us because we expected her to stay longer. I thought this is a secondary thing, it is of some consequences.

 We had rather give her a weekly compensation for what she may do more her expenses for
we must have somebody, for I am gone from Sat. till Mon. sometimes longer- though we have
frequently been obliged today stay alone by the hardest when we thought we must have
help, because unable to get it. If you judge however, that it is best for her to go to 
Lowell, & take the responsibility, we have nothing more to say.

                                            Yours aff.’ E.W. Robinson
                                             Freetown Feb. 10th 1846
 
 
My dear Sister: 

           We intended to finish and send this 
more than a week ago-But Mr. Robinson must spend 2 or 3
days in Carver every week and last week I had more than
usual to do by way of preparing to leave as little as possible to
do while I was to be absent a few days. I did not till quite re-
cently suppose Sarah had any idea of going home for months
to come. I supposed she would remain with us unless she
chose to visit her friends some more, until you returned
home after your visit to Massachusetts. I did not suppose
she thought of going to work at Lowel again and I do not
think you appreciate her state of health in consenting that
she should go. I do think her health much improved, but I
do not think it should long remain what it is now. I can give
reasons but it would take more room than I can spare now.
I do not think she is able to work hard or constantly at any one emp-
loyment. In addition to these considerations, we are very unwil-
ling she should relinquish her studies at present. She not only
needs to finish what she has begun but also to take up others
and finish them, not only for the information she may ac-
quire but for mental discipline and cultivation. If, however
Sarah cannot be contented with us so as to pursue her studies profitib-
ly we would not detain her, tho we must of course feel some or
very much disappointed. If you are still dissatisfied will you not write
us and tell us wherein then we can govern ourselves accordingly. My hus-
band says he would rather pay half her board & tuition for a year at S.H. 
rather than that she should not go tho he is not particular to have her go
there if she can have equal advantages that she might, but it would take longer anywhere

                                              else. Your aff. Sister. S.B.A.R.

(Written up the left side of letter:)

My love to all. I want to see you and say a great deal more about this & many other things.
In haste I can study 6 hours per day if she please ordinarily or more.
 
 

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