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[Benjamin] Franklin [Butler] to Harriet Allen, c1817

My dearest Harriet, 

I was safely landed on this side the River at 20 minutes before 8. I was obliged to wait a small time at <Doans>, & while there took up an old newspaper to amuse myself. I found in it two or three little things which pleased me & I now hand them to you. The address to melancholy is very pretty. The other little piece of poetry is just such an affectionate exposition as you might have addressed to me a year or two ago when my imagination was dazzled by the vain pomp & glory of this fleeting world. The remarks for female dress, are in my opinion (who to be sure am not much of a Connoisseur) appropriate & true. Upon the whole I believe the scraps will compensate for the time that is spent in their perusal. On my arrival at <Leelys> I found my horse in good health but it had unfortunately escaped my recollection that in coming down the other day he lost one of his slippers and as I had forgotten  to leave orders to have a new one provided yesterday, I have now been compelled to send him to a Blacksmith & shall have to wait for half an hour or more before I can get ready to start. I am in hopes that I shall find the travelling better than it was on Saturday, but of one thing at least I am certain, it can be no worse. 

My dear Harriet I perhaps can not expect that you will be able in a moment to forget the sorrow of the parting hour, nor would I have you capable of doing so. Affection like ours must be wrong when it is rent asunder, even though absence is unable to destroy it. And if it is but touched, it reaches to the heart, & vibrates the chords which binds & fasten it. All then that I can say is to point you to the future, & with the pleasing prospects & the gay visions of hope to chase away the tear & light up in young countenance the sunshine of calm content & joyful expectation. But it is not alone to the promises of hope that in such a moment I ought to direct you. Never let me forget that its fondest prospects may ^soon^ be blighted, that its assurances of pleasure may never be realised, that at best it is uncertain & sometimes deceptive, that if we lean on it exclusively it may prove a spear to pierce us to the heart & leave us in the despair.

That if we would escape the disappointments & misfortunes of the world we must rely exclusively on him, and then though affliction may befal us (and who is exempt from its power?) its edge will be blunted & ^its^ arrows fall harmless at our feet. Oh for more trust in Jesus God, for more implicit confidence, for more grateful & ardent love. Every time we part we are drawing nearer to the hour of final seperation, and so we ought to think. If we are thus unwilling to severed from each others arms, when our our parting hour is enlivened by the most pleasing hopes and the fondest expectations, when we know that life is spared we shall soon meet in happiness & joy, when too the tie that binds us to each other is but half as firm & half as dear as it is destined to become, what will be our agony when we are torn away from this great globe & all that it inhabits. What will alleviate the wretchedness of that seperation? What then can give us comfort & inspire us with fortitude? Nothing dear H. but a good hope through grace, a "full assurance of faith," an interest in the riches of redeeming love. Oh then how ought we to strive at the throne of grace, how ought we to "give all diligence to make our calling & election sure," how ought we to labour for the pardon of our sins & our acceptance through the mercy of our Redeemer. May God keep you & me, & save us both from the world, ^from^ our arch enemy & from our own sins & make us heirs of the "grace of life" & "joint heirs with Jesus Christ." 

Your own


It now wants 20 min of 9! I am off in a moment. 

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Source: N New York State Library
Collection: Benjamin Franklin Butler Papers (N)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)