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Title: Stewart, Frances to Noble, Maria, 1851
ID4756
CollectionRevisiting Our Forest Home_The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
Filestewart/38
Year1851
SenderStewart, Frances
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginDouro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada
DestinationIreland
RecipientNoble, Maria
Recipient Genderfemale
Relationshipcousins
Source
Archive
Doc. No.
Date
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Logunknown
Word Count2136
Genrefamily life
Note
Transcript1851: August 25
To Maria [], Ireland

Goodwood — Monday
25 Aug't 1851

My own dear Maria

I have now come to this sweet place where all is peace & comfort so very
much to my taste & I have longed for this rest after some months of busyness, much more than I have had for above 20 years! How true it is that
strength is always given for the situation we are placed in & the duties
we have set before us. How much this must encrease our confidence in
Gods many and loving kindness which indeed in my case & all through
my life has been so peculiarly shewn. I often wonder why? But certain
it is that from my birth on, through a life of some vicissitude & trial, the Lord has sustained me & been with me in a way so plain that my eyes
must have been covered [ ] with scales not to perceive it. Oh — may He
increase my love and keep me closer to Him in Spirit!...
I have had many letters lately from my own loved friends at home
all giving me useful & judicious advice as to my arrangements as to my
future residence & these are all helps & in many aspects are quite in unison with my own sentiments....
You all know that for some years back I have felt the responsibility
and expense of keeping up such an establishment as ours was, far beyond
my powers. And I have long wished for some way of making a change.
This has been brought on at length by Williams marriage. Some new
arrangement must take place. I have always observed that it never does
well for two families to live together & therefore I had made up my mind
to make a separation but as I could not see how it was to be done I came
to the resolution of spending some time with my daughters & as Bessie
requires me now it answered best for all parties and as this place seems
best suited to me in every way dear Edward & Bee begged I would return
here after visiting Anna & Ellen & spend the winter here or live here
with them as long as I wished. This was great temptation and I selfishly
thought it was all right & I had consented & I thought I would retain my right of being Mistress of Auburn & return there as my home whenever I
liked or let it be a home for sons as long as they were unmarried keeping
Kate always along with myself wherever I was. Dear William & Louisa
would not hear of my having any other home & Louisa always treated
me as the Mistress & head of the establishment & never seemed to wish
or think of placing herself forward in the smallest degree. Indeed she is
a very amiable sweet creature & I thought we should all do nicely but my
mind has been changed since by considering every side of the question
& now conscience tells me that selfishness guided me too much in that
plan for I did not consider my dear boys. Frank & John are coming home
in Autumn. Frank has his own house to go to but of course it is not just
in a proper state for him to return to nor has he any provisions or furniture to begin with so he must have "a home" to come to. So must John &
I feel that they cannot make Auburn their home when I am not there. If
my home & Kates is really at Goodwood & only nominally at Auburn I
fear my sons could never feel really comfortable nor could I at all conveniently manage about their washing & mending of clothes, &c &c even
tho' I paid Wm. & Louisa a sum annually to entitle them to it. So now
I have been thinking & weighing the business in every way & I believe
my wisest plan is to have a house of my own for my children to be with
me till they all have homes of their own. I have some idea next month
of giving up Auburn to the young couple & taking for myself & my own
little flock a very nice cottage adjoining the Auburn property. It is hardly a mile from the house & very near Johns farm & as near to Franks as it is to Williams place. The house is new but [ ] & pleasantly situated and
I believe conveniently laid out there on 10 acres of land with it, which
would enable me to keep a cow & have potatoes & other little matters.
George will be his own master next June & I think he would like to have
a quiet home to return to so that I do think it is my best plan to take that place for two or three years or from year to year as life is uncertain & my boys will either settle or disperse in the course of some years. But in the meantime it would be exceedingly inconvenient to me to have my party
divided between Auburn & Goodwood and would I think make the
young men feel uncomfortable & be almost an unreasonable addition to
Louisas cares & labours. I think with Kate & a servant I can attend to all the housekeeping of my small establishment & I shall find it much less
expensive. And I think when the Auburn party is so reduced William
will find it much easier to keep the place in good order & it will no longer be the Hotel d'Amitie it always has been too much.
There is quite furniture enough in the house to make a division and I
think reducing the beds when the family is reduced will be favourable to
them as there will not be so many then for "droppers in."
I shall not have very much to buy and now I hope this plan may meet
with the approbation of all my dear people at Allenstown & Rockfield. I
am sure Catharine will like it when she hears it too & I hope Harriet &
Lou may also when they consider that I found it too arduous a task to
keep up the great establishment at Auburn. A large house in Canada is
different from home for the ladies must be their own housemaids here
generally & all suitable furniture to make such a house bear a consistent appearance would be expensive, then the offices, stalling & sheds &
houses for cattle for such a farm! & for Willeys Lime & Quarry establishment also! & then the keeping the garden & ground in proper order, it would require an active & systematic master as well as an active & prudent & wealthy mistress. As long as I resided at Auburn & kept the name
of mistress I know Willey would take no interest or care of the place. He
has good taste & cleverness enough but he is indolent in some things &
likes to attend to the quarry better than the farm. I wanted him to give
me up the farm & keep the quarry himself but he said he must have the
land to keep his horses & people. So I thought my best plan to give all up
to him & let him make the most of it & have the benefit of it to himself.
And I think the small house & garden & a few fields will give me
employment & occupation without the onerous task & struggle to keep,
yp a large place. It is too much for a female unless she can arrange it
for her own convenience which I could not do without casting my dear
William out of his own rights or making some uncomfortable impressions
arise in his mind.
I wrote to Aunt Sutton & Richard last week & mentioned my new
plan to them so perhaps you have heard of it already. The more I think
of it the more I feel convinced that it is the best thing I can do & most
for the comfort & happiness of my sons which must be my leading
object & impulse.
I have had these matters pressing on my mind for some weeks past
and I could think of nothing else night or day almost. It is difficult to
know how to steer amidst so many interests & drawings of heart.
Your visit to Mrs. Nicholson at Rostrevor must have been very pleasant.
It is very useful to the mind to move about & change the Society we
live in. It opens new views & ideas and refreshes the mind. I see the bad
effects of the want of some change of that sort very evident in many people
here who never can leave their own homes. I remember Rostrevor
perfectly well as it was 41 years ago. The village & the country around
must be much improved since then but the natural beauties of the place
must be much the same. I spent five months there in 1809 & went along
the coast to Newcastle & Tollymore Park. I remember it as well as if it has
been only a few years ago. I think I never have written since the arrival of my precious cargo nor thanked you & our beloved Mother for your kindness in contributing so much to the contents of the Box. Harriet mentioned you had sent her some money to add to the stock I had of my own & indeed you were very very kind. I never can say half what I wish to express but I am sure you know I am deeply sensible of your kindness & grateful for it. 1 don't know who sent those five strong blue shirts. They are most acceptable & came in very good time to meet my boys who I expect home in Autumn
tho' I have some of the former set still untouched but all these nice new
ones will save me a great deal of sewing. Thanks also for all the books
& Tracts which are a most valuable part of the gifts. I have not yet had
time to look into many, for weddings and Bazaar & then arrangements
about new plans &c & being as much as possible with poor Anna Hay
has broken up my quietness of mind & time & I have not been able to
read. You have divided the little books so nicely amongst us that I shall
have some of them wherever I go & those little tracts & small books are
so convenient. One can take them up in little "gussets of time" & are a
nice size for putting into a pocket. Pray give my kindest thanks to dear
Mrs. Blakeney for her very valuable present which I prize most highly &
which I am sure will do good.
The Bazaar succeeded very well beyond our expectations & we hope
to be in our own church in November. Nearly £230 was cleared after paying
all expenses. The pretty articles contributed by the Rothwells were
greatly admired and added considerably to my share.
What a nice contrivance that Hydraulic Dam must be. It is such a
comfort to have water convenient.
I see my Charlie coming along & I have some thoughts of going to
Auburn this evening & returning here tomorrow evening as Bessie has
her nurse now staying here. She is 1 am happy to say very well & quite
active & alert & not tensed with head aches as she used to be. I hope &
trust all may go on prosperously & that in a little time hence I may have
some good news to give. I hardly think she will be confined for ten days
or a fortnight yet but it might come sooner & as this place is 5 miles from
a Doctor we think it safest to have the nurse here beforehand. I have had
some asthma but that I must expect. We have had a great deal of hot damp weather but the harvest is plentiful & good; all crops are excellent
except potatoes which in most places about here seem bad. The leaves
are all black & shrivelled & no roots.
Dear little Tom Hay has had a most tedious & dangerous illness but
after all hopes were gone he rallied & has been recovering the last week.
Poor Anna has gone through much fatigue but I hope may not suffer. She
is very anxious always about her children....
Your ever affect' sister love
F Stewart
2 oclock Monday — 25th August