August 1868 letter to Nancy Betts from Pros Crawford

August 1868

To: Nancy Betts

From: Prosper Crawford, Battle Creek, MI

Prosper senses that his Mother’s visit to Henry and Virginia Crawford did not go particularly well. He is sending philosophical advice to her about returing good for evil and having compassion and pity on others’ faults instead of inflaming passions by returning evil for evil. He wrote Eugene about a month ago and would like Ethan to tell Eugene that he is anxious to hear from him. He has also sent Sarah $3.00 that he accidentally carried off while he was visiting her. He ends his letter by saying “Please excuse errors and believe me when I say I love you better than I used to.”

1868-08-00 1868-08-00B

Battle Creek August[1]

Dear Mother

I have just received a letter from you and have been peruseing its contents with much pleasure. Indeed it does me much good to hear from Mother once in a while. You stated you had just returned from your visit and that they were all well except Jenny[2] and sombody els, I could not make out who. Well I am glad to learn that the largest portion are well and sorry that Jenny is sick because there is aneything but pleasure in sickness, this hot weather especialy. I judg from the tenor of your letter that you did not enjoy your visit aney better than you expected to if as well, owing probably to the extreme warm weather and the inharmonies which have prevailed before. Well, I am sorry these should exist between relation aney feelings of hatred or ill-will even where Persons are so closly linked. It seemes to me that each Partie or Parties should strive to do each other good and forbear to introduce aney subject whose tendency may be other than good. Mother you are well aware that we all have our faults and that no Person exists that eschews censure of calumny and without Philosophising why it is so I will state that I find it a good rule to return good for evil and have Compassion and pity on aney fault of my Brother and instead of inflaming his Passions by returning evil for evil, I would appeal to his high nature and intellect and secure his smiles and good wishes at once. It is folly to assert that man by nature is totally depraved for science and my own conscience demonstrates to me the contrary. Phschology Proves that the mind of man is made up of Faculties vs. Organs which taken seperately produce opposite extremes of character in their manifestations. For instance Benevolence desires to do good to others while Combativeness desires to resist and defend even to the injury of its opponent and so of all the Faculties of man now the idea I wish to draw from the above is that there exists a jewel in the heart of every human Being however it may be much bemused and hid from improper treatment. Nevertheless it is there and only needs the milk of human kindness to bring it out. I would like to write a long letter about this but must defer and I do not wish you to infer from the above that I have written it to cause you any hard feelings. Oh no, quite the contrarie. I used to be a very naughty Boy and cause you much trouble but if I do now I do it now unintentionally.

About the Dictionary I would prefer you to write nothing about it as it is my loss and not yours and I have a large one and do not need it. Besides they having taken so much pains to secure it from you it would be useless for you to write because you would not get it and besides you would only set the ball of contention a rolling again. For this last reason if for no other I beg you to desist.

I wrote a letter to Eugene[3] since I have received one from him about a month ago. I wished you would have Ethen[4] inquire of Eugene whether he has received it and to tell Eugene to be sure and write to me. I also sent Sarah[5] three Dollars which I accidentaly carried off while there and wish she would write me a letter and let me know about it and how she flourishes this hot wether. I am quite happy and well and endeavor to brace the storms of adversity and the trials of life with a cheerfull hopefull countenance living each day with a desire to live the next better and by so doing live heaven on earth. I have written this letter just as fast as I could think and write. Pleas excuse errors and believe me when I say I love you better than I used to.

L P Crawford

[1] Although the letter was not dated, it is believed that it occurred in this approximate time frame. Prosper’s Mother was in Chicago earlier in the month and planned on visiting Henry Crawford in South Bend before continuing on to visit Sarah Keith in Michigan. Prosper married in the early 1870s and settled in Wisconsin

[2] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, Henry Clay Crawford’s wife

[3] Eugene Crawford, Pros’ nephew, the son of Edwin and Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[4] Ethan Keith, Pros’ nephew, the son of Sarah & Luke Keith

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Pros’ sister


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: August 1868 letter to Nancy Betts from Prosper Crawford – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s

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