This letter was written by Lewis Weld (1796-1853), the son of Ludovicus Weld (1766-1844) and Elizabeth Clark (1772-1853). He was married to Mary Austin Cogswell (1801-1868) in 1828.
Weld was an 1817 graduate of Yale College, who served as an instructor at the American Asylum at Hartford, Connecticut, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb. He succeeded Thomas Hopkins Gaullaudet as the principal in 1830.
Weld wrote the letter to Byron Diman (1795-1865), the 19th Governor of Rhode Island. Diman worked in a counting-house for over two decades. He was then engaged in the whaling and mill businesses. He served in the Rhode Island Militia and later became Brigadier General. He became a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives for many terms. He became Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island for three years before winning election as the Governor of Rhode Island. He was a Law and Order party candidate. Although he didn’t win the majority of votes, he was selected as the governor of the state by the General Assembly. He held the governor’s office from May 6, 1846 to May 4, 1847.
The letter is a request of funds for the continued education of Peleg, Abigail and Mary Slocum of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. These three deaf siblings were the children of Stephen Slocum (1781-1874) and Mary Fish (1786-1874). The 1850 Census reveals that Peleg Weld made a living as a shoemaker.
The letter also announces that James Budlong (1831-18xx) — “a man in age” in 1847 — has decided to leave the school and return to Rhode Island. I believe this is James J. Budlong who was unmarried and earning a living as a machinist in 1863 in Providence, Rhode Island.
Addressed to His Excellency Byron Diman, Governor of Rhode Island, Bristol, R. I.
April 5th 1847
To His Excellency, Governor Diman
The three young people Peleg, Abigail & Mary Slocum whose cases I mentioned particularly to you when I had the honor of seeing you in Providence are very desirous of learning your decision in regard to their remaining here another year. Their family friends have lately written on the subject consenting to their remaining if the state will provide as heretofore. Our year expires on the 28th instant and you will confer a special favor upon these young people and upon the Asylum if you will have the goodness to communicate your decision immediately.
James Budlong, another of your beneficiaries, will leave the Asylum at the end of the term instead of remaining to complete the year allowed him. This is at his own suggestion and as he is a man in age, his father and his teachers consent. We wish all our pupils to enter and to leave the school so far as possible in the spring.
I have the honor to be very respectfully yours, — Lewis Weld