Letter from Anne Warren Weston to Caroline Weston
Groton August 7th 1837
I designed writing to you several days since, but have waited from day to day first to see the end of one play and then of another. Sarah & Angelina arrived on Wed(nesday) night and we had a most interesting time talking over matters & things, reading letters from the brethren &c. but I will not enlarge, for I wrote all this to Maria, & as Debora will be with you by the time you get this, she can tell you everything I wrote. Thursday, I kindly copied a letter for Angelina & finished off a petticoat for Sarah and had much pleasant conversation with both. I felt some what pleased when the hour for meeting arrived for the "Strife of tongues in Groton had been such, and the hearts of so many seemed failing them for fear, that I longed to have the matter over. The day before the Grimkés came, I went up to see Mrs Rugg, for the purpose of strengthening her. To this end I explained away all St Paul's verses that are "hard to be understood" and charged Mrs R now to hold on to her ground. I told her these were the "perilous times" and now she must stand to her arms. She behaved very boldly and, indeed, I think very well of her courage for probably no one in the female Society dared to take the ground of defending womens' preaching save herself.
Mrs George Farley was too shocked to go. Mr Phelps (the Groton minister) declined being in the pulpit with them or opening the meeting. But as Stanton arrived in the course of Thursday he agreed to open the meeting accordingly off we all started on Thursday evening to the church the Grimké's, Mrs Grey, Henry Stanton & I driven by Sullivan, the Dr's man; the Dr & Mary followed in the chaise. The house was thronged, fuller than it even been at any Abolition meeting known before. They and Stanton walked directly into the pulpit and after a few minutes, Stanton made one of the most excellent & to the purpose prayers that I ever heard. Angelina spoke on the topic that the South never has been ready or willing for Emancipation; that circumstances have never been tending that way at all, and that consequently the Abolitionists
The Grimkés are the pleasantest of people in conversation, the Dr. is perfectly charmed with them both. He has had a pretty faithful exposition touching women’s rights. Mr. Winslow’s sermon has appeared in the Religion Magazine accompanied with another article in which the testimony that insanity is hereditary in the Grimké family is printed from a Southern correspondent. This Angelina has replied(?) to & is going to send her article to Dr(?). Write & tell me all the news. could not have put back what was never forward. She spoke very well indeed, tho' I have heard her when I have been more struck. Sarah, having a very bad cold, did not speak.
Friday morning Miss Capell, Mrs Rugg, Mrs Dix and a young man from Dartmouth College called. I received D's letter while in the midst of this goodly company, but had to wait in a perfect (?)nous till they were gone; I had a feeling as to what was in it. Never was I to hear news of that sort. I was so relieved to learn that there was only one. I was busy part of Friday morning writing notes of invitation as the Dr was determined to do all his duty and give a party. When he gave me his list, I observed that he had asked mostly the people that visited at the house generally and many good Abolitionists were left out. I remonstrated against this and the Dr readily agreed to marking the party genuinely de(?) Accordingly, together with the Fullers, Frothinghams, Dixs', Robinsons, Banscrofts(?) &. were asked those who had hitherto appeared of (?) note, and in the whole, this (?)dined a party of 30 or 40. Miss Grey fell to work & made custard & blancmange and the evening came, & so did the folks. Almost all came that were asked, so that half the room was composed of down right opposers. The Grimskés behaved very well, talked pleasantly & fully with individuals & Angelina harangued(?) circles of brethren which induced some of the women present to look on with gainsaying eyes. Stanton acted very like himself, that is, refused to be introduced to everybody, or to contribute at all to anybody's amusement. The Dr thought that some of the aristocracy felt badly, not at being brought into collision with Abolitionists, but with mechanics &c. I told him it was equal to one, if they all fell into apoplexies. Saturday afternoon Stanton left us, having I believe sucked(?) $2-00 from the Dr. Money, money, being the whole burden of his song. Saturday afternoon who should drive up to the door but Mary Ann and her father. Her face was somewhat flushed & had that indescribably worried look that features exhibit when something is on the mind; her father was very courteous indeed, but I perceived that it seemed(?) not answer(?) to utter the words Grimké or Abolition. The Dr was gone and Stanton with him to ride, & the Grimkés were upstairs writing. Mary came into the room and as my suspense soon became intolerable, I asked Mary Ann to go out with me. As soon as we were alone she burst forth; it appears, that the day before, at Dr Cullers' on her declining Slave Labour, some how or other, the mine exploded & she had a sad time "Dont ask me to tell you any more" said she "As if I talk I shall get to crying; I cant go to hear the Grimkés and father has forbid my coming over to Groton to stay at all and he is not going to let me go back to you after vacation."
I quieted & comforted her all I could, gave her free labour blanc-mange & cake, and told her the storm would blow over. Pepperell I suppose was the worst place she could possibly be in, for the meeting house had been refused to the Grimkés, and therefore notice had been given that they would speak in a barn. With things in this state, of course there was not a soul in Pepperell whose feelings were not outraged to the utmost, & who more than the minister's right hand man Dr Cutter? I could not keep M.A. out long. After I returned, Angelina chanced to come in to the room. I introduced M.A. as a stranger to Miſs G & they met as such. M [...]venport politely bowed, and she went immediately out. Mr D in answer to our invitations to MA to come to Gorton said she would like to much, but that probably, her engagements would not permit. As she was going out however she whispered her thankfulness that he was going to Boston on Monday & after that she hoped just to ride over some morning. Tell him I shall side over there, and "He cant call Ensign Barrington to account" at least, I shall like to see him try. He had better attend to his family affairs in the West Indies. To tell you the truth, I could not bear him tho' his manner was polite in the extreme, but I suppose, I saw him in a prejudiced state of mind. In the afternoon, the Grimkés & I proceeded to Pepperell. The Dr did not go, for he wished their going to appear to be the work of the Abolitionists there. Mr Houtwell,(?) a Pepperell man came & took Sarah, Ange(lina) & I in a carryall. The barn in which the meeting was held was a long one & picturesque & pretty it looked. There was nothing in it, no hay or ought of that kind benches were placed on the mows, and in the barn floor, leaving only a little lane on one side whereby we proceed to the platform which was raised up;— say, just where our back barn door at Weymouth is; chains were there placed on which sat Sarah, Angelina, Mrs Hartwell, Mrs Rugg & I. A carpet was under our feet, a neat little table with a white cloth on it before us, & the platform adorned with branches & leaves. About 200 people were present, notwithstanding the great efforts used to keep people away. Sarah opened the meeting with an excellent prayer & Angelina then spoke with great eloquence. Her address was better suited to the maſs(?) of people than the one in Groton. Sarah followed & spoke as well as Angelina. We reached home before dark, meeting with no difficulty.
This afternoon we go to Harvard. On Wednesday to Westford and on Friday next to Townsend. They feel able to speak only every other day. They will be here till a week from today, a they may story tell Wednesday week in order to attend the County meeting. I shall prefer to(?) return to Boston at the time that they do. I could not well before for putting it out of the question that I am enjoying all this very highly, I feel as though I were of some use here and I ought to stay while they all are. One thing I beg of you to remember. I want you to send me a dollar by mail. I have not enough to buy my passage home by half(?) a dollar. I have paid for several society letters and the stage fare has been raised 1 of a dollar.
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[...] to this money matter for I shall be placed in an awkward(?) position if you do you or Debora must atten(d) to it. Love to all the Duxburians(?) especially to Elizabeth. There is as much to (?) as you so I need say nothing. I shall probably not write to you at Duxbury again; ever thanks(?) Anne Weston