This letter was written by a Quaker woman, probably unmarried, who subscribed her name as “Julia” and appears to have been living with her parents in the vicinity of Oley, Pennsylvania.
She wrote the letter to her cousin, Ann (Lloyd) Kinsey (1790-1862), wife of James Kinsey (1781-1856), who moved to Ohio around 1807 from the vicinity of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, though they were originally from Moreland Manor in Chester County.
Addressed to Ann Kinsey, Care of James Judkins, Post Master, Mount Pleasant, Jefferson County, Ohio
Oley [Reading County, Pennsylvania]
12th Month, 18th, 1818
My dear cousin,
I hope thee will not ascribe my long silence to a declension of affection or my seeming inattention in not earlier acknowledging thy favour of 9th Mo. last to carelessness and neglect for I can assure thee, my dear friend, neither of these causes have existed. I felt and duly appreciated thy attention in writing and welcomed thy communication as a memorial of continued regard and affection, but no private conveyance presented by which I might forward thee my acknowledgements and I felt reluctance to taxing thy purse when I had nothing of moment to communicate, but for several days past thy image has been the very frequent companion of my thoughts and I resolved to apply to the friendly medium of the post to tell thee so altho’ I did not know that I had anything further to communicate than to assure thee that the glow of friendship which shed its sunshine around our early youth and with its kindly influence cheered and brightened our pathway of life, still had an existence in my bosom, and my very sincere wish, my endeared cousin, is that we may both continue to cherish the tie that so early united us together and by occasional intercourse keep the chain of friendship free from the corrosions of neglect and indifference.
There are seasons when the recollection of past scenes of my early friendships and bygone pleasures presses so heavily upon my mind that my spirits sink under the morbid influence of regret, and I weep over the pictured scenes of memory with keen emotion. I am sadly conscious that these seasons of youthful delight, of care unclouded enjoyment can no more return, and with them have fled the enthusiasm, the confidence, that spread their delusive charms around the inexperienced heart of early youth. These are succeeded by sober realities by cold experience. We find hope has deceived us, our dreams of happiness have vanished at the touch of the wand of truth, and experience is every day teaching us that uncertainty is impressed upon every sublinary good and vanity stamped upon all our schemes of earthly enjoyment. Such are often my reflections when I take a retrospect of the past, when I recall the glowing prospects, the fond anticipations with which I commenced my career of life and compare them with my present feelings and views. But excuse my dear cousin this long, gloomy detail. My mind has been unusually gloomy this evening and I have allowed my feelings to dictate to my pen, but I will now dismiss the subject.
Why did thee not furnish me with more information in thine? I want to know how you are progressing, the situation of thy own health, and particulars respecting the little ones would have been very acceptable. I wish thee would write me by post and gratify me upon all these subjects. Please also not to omit giving me thy sentiments respecting cousin Susan’s connection and situation. I am anxious to know thy sentiments respecting it.
Our large family here are all enjoying about their customary portion of health. My dear parents both usually well. I think their health much as it was prior to our leaving H. Hill. They both usually get out to meeting and occasionally visiting in the neighborhood. I perceive very little change in mother; her faculties appear as bright as formerly. But fathers are very perceptibly impaired — particularly his memory. He has no recollection of recent circumstances, so much so that in the evening he is incapable of reciting the events of the morning. Sister H.’s health is very good since her last confinement and her little boy — now a year old — is a fine, healthy, interesting child.
Our relations in the city at Radnor and in Chester County were in usual health when I last heard from them. Cousin H. Phillips has a babe near a year old. I have not seen her since her confinement but am informed her health is poor.
Winter has commenced with us earlier than usual. The ground has been covered with snow for a week past and the weather very cold. If I had room and time, I would apologize for my poor scrawl but as I can commend neither of these at present, I shall postpone my apologies till a more convenient season. Farewell, my endeared cousin. Please give my love to cousin James and be assured that the reception of a long letter from thee would be truly grateful to thy interested and attached — Julia
None of my correspondents mention William Lewis and Lydia Stanton. I would like to hear whether they are actually married and how they are situated.