|Title:||Randall, Sarah M to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1847|
|Collection||The Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]|
|Sender||Randall, Sarah M|
|Origin||Persia, NY, USA|
|Destination||Collins, Lake Erie, NY, USA|
|Recipient||O'Brien, Joseph Sinton|
|Genre||commentary on grief re Margaretta's decease, literary circle, religious commentary|
|Transcript||Persia [NY], July the 7th |
You may think me very hasty in answering your letter, as 1 have but just finished perusing it. But as I am at home
tonight and fear that I shall not have another opportunity in some time, I thought it proper to improve the present.
Your delay needs no apology, as I am fully aware that your time was spent in tender care and anxiety for your loved
sister. No one would have wished you to leave her whose pains were soothed by your presence, to procure that
which could be dispensed with. No, Joseph, never have I been called to sooth the dying bed of a brother or sister,
yet from a view of that pure and holy affection that [exists] in the hearts of loved friends fancy can, in a degree,
paint the scene of parting. Often, while pondering on a sisters affection, and thinking it the only earthly ray of
bliss that cheered my absence, something has seemed to say, "all is fleering," this too may pass away. Bur oh! there
is yet something more for thoughts to trace. And does it pass? Shall the hand of death sever those cords which
nature gave, and childhoods happy hour, and youth's sweet intercourse have so firmly bound? Or shall it wrap in
icy chain the heart from whose portals pure and heavnly affection was wont to flow? Nay the grave cannot hide,
nor the rude hand of death destroy. Love survives the tomb. Though the last earthly friend may be torn from the
embrace, and the heart wrung with anguish, still it lingers upon the painful remembrance and to forget would be
but adding grief to an overflowing cup.
No festive delight can be compared to the tranquil joys that hover around the tomb. There the mind may raise
to higher themes, and rest on lasting joys. Were it not for the hope of an immortality beyond this life, from what
source would consolation spring, or happiness flow. But doubt can find no entrance here. Has God made man,
imparted to him intelligence, given him superiority over earth and its inhabitants, to appear for a little season and
then vanish away? Nay, there is an immortal part over which death has no con troll. Man was made for higher,
nobler joys. May you with your loved parents of whom you spoke, be supported and consoled by a blessed hope
of one day meeting her where looks of love, and cheering smiles again shed forth their luster without a dimming
cloud, and that pure heart has but increased in loveliness and in beauty. Yes, I can drop a rear to the rememberance
of her whom you mourn, for she was indeed lovely. Those beautious eyes bespoke a soul within. I should have been
happy to have seen her once more, but even now her image will ever be present with my memory,
Till face to face we meet,
Sweet friendship to unfold.
Died so young, oh! yes she's gone
Fled in youth’s bright vernal morn;
Though memory sheds a solemn gloom,
There's beauty round an early tomb.
Yes, 'tis sweet in youth to die
With parents guardian angels, nigh,
With loving brothers, sisters near,
Who o'er the tomb will drop a tear.
I am happy Co find that our circle (I say ours for I still claim a membership) is progressing. I am very much
pleased with the new arrangement in regard to the Literary productions; and I hope that all will liberally contribute,
so that it may be not only interesting but profitable. If I am not mistaken there is intelligence enough in Collins,
to establish a paper that may not be classed among the lowest of literary worth. I hope that the cabinet of curiosities
will find many contributors, and the time will ere long arrive when chat microscope which has been spoken of,
will find [its] way into the treasury. Although I do not expect to stay about here long, yet I will do my share toward
the purchace of one, and I think others will be no less willing to do so.
As for my contributing often to columns of the “Literary Harvester”, it will be very doubtful, though for my
own improvement, I shall endeavor to now and then "cast in a mite", hoping that it will be absorbed by the bright
rays of mental production from able contributors.
I am rather lonely this season, and often think of my Collins friends with whom I spent happy hours, in lovely
association. Being absent from the paternal roof, where my heart is closely bound in affections chains with parents,
brothers and sisters, were it not for a belief that happiness is diffused throughout the volume of nature, in which
it is not only the privilege, but duty of all to participate, I should almost think sometimes that I were unhappy.
Yet I cannot remain when I contemplate the many sources which have been provided by our Creator, from which
sweet happiness may flow. The duty attached to this enjoyment, is two fold. 1st it is certainly our duty as far as
we are capable, to justly appreciate the blessings of an all wise Benefactor, and to exercise the faculties with which
he has endowed us, in an investigation of his truths. And these never fail to awaken feelings of exquisit delight,
and pure joy. 2ndly we are not alone in this sublunary abode: nor do we live to ourselves alone. We are creatures
of more or less influence. And as in nature itself, as well as the Scripture there is not a more grand point upon which
we are called to act, than our treatment toward our fellow clay, does it not become a duty, so to cultivate our
thoughts, desires and feelings, as to diffuse joy and gladness to the hearts of chose with whom we associate.
May the members of the Literary and Social Circle be among those whose minds are adorned with virtues
"pearl," and whose crowns glitter with gems of amiability and loveliness; and may their happy influence be realized
with even greater delight than the breath of song.
I am much obliged for those questions, and when it is convenient should be happy to receive the remainder,
accompanied with at least as much of your own writing as before. I was alone when I received your letter and took
much pleasure in its perusal.
As I presume you are already weary, looking over this scrible and as you said, begin to wish that I had been more
brief, I will close. I hope you will overlook mistakes, as I have had a number of calls, and been frequently
interrupted. From a friend
When you wander from your home,
And in your Circle meet,
Or musing by your sisters tomb,
The spirit there to greet,
Let one lingering thought be mine
To shed a ray on friendship's shrine.
Sarah M. Randall