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Letter to Elizabeth Peabody from Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, October 1852

Date: 1852

Type: Letter

Categories: ,


The Peabody family maintained close ties with Sophia after her marriage with Hawthorne, even if the writer didn’t always see eye-to-eye with them. They show a great interest in Sophia’s well-being through their correspondence.

This letter mentions the 1852 presidential election. Hawthorne, a close friend of Democratic nominee Franklin Pierce, was finishing his biography of Pierce at the time this letter was written. The letter reflects how the Peabody family viewed his affiliation with the contentious Pierce, and generally how they felt about Hawthorne’s involvement in politics.


Letter from Elizabeth Palmer Peabody to Elizabeth Peabody, October 1852
Transcription by W.H. Demick

Several annotations were made after the creation of the letter in a different hand. They are bracketed { } where they appear in the text.

[Page One]
{regarding Nathaniel Hawthorne + Pres. Peirce}
Oct 1 –52 [1852]
Dear Elizabeth
Margaret told me this eve,
that you wanted to have your
net Jacket sent to you. If I had
known you wanted it when Rush
was here I could have sent it with
your Cape; but now I shall send
it to Nat ready to be forwarded
if any opportunity offers, or I’ll
he hears from you, how you would
have it sent.
Margaret also said you wanted
to know the date of our Marriage.
{Written by Elizabeth Peabodys[sic] mother}
It is 30 years ago on the Second
of November. Let no thought
of Miss Noremen’s beautiful
vision of the golden wedding
disturb the quiet of your mind.
Let alone the want of the pure
and faultless christian course of
her aged pain, money, a Spacious

[Page Two]

house and established cus-
tom are wanting to render
the acting of such a scene
possible. GOD has blessed us
and I hope will long bless us
with a dear Serena to gild the
evening of our lives, and can we
ask for more? No gate is equal
to the possession of such a Child.
Our previous Sohpy,
Una and Julian dawned upon us
a few hours yesterday. They left
Concord early in the morning, and
after reaching Waltham walked
from there, here; at eve they
went in the Cars to Nat’s and
staid[sic] there all night. Sophy went
from there this morning into

[Page Three]

Boston, and thence home before
Six P.M. Mary and her husband
and George and Ben left home
for Providence an hour or two
before eight, the time when S.
arrived so they did not meet.
Sophia’s children have grown
much since I saw them. What
peaceful, lovely obedient, bright
children they are!
I said not a word to her about
Pierce. I am resolved that our in
tercourse shall not be embittered
by useless discussions. If Pierce
is President it will soon be known
whether he is maligned or not. If
Scott is chosen, he too will find
his level, and as soon too as if
we poor useless women (in Political

[Page Four]

matters) should destroy all the
harmony of our social lives
by asserting this or that
about them. I deeply regret
that Hawthorne should have
involved his name in the bitter
controversies of the political world,
but am free to acknowledge that
I know too little to be any
Judge of the merits of either
of the parties now setting the
American world in an uproar.
Your Father has been indisposed
by Diarrhea, but is getting better fast.
I am well as usual. My cough tries
me a good deal. Rush Plumby
has given me a handsome + most com-
fortable shawl 2 ½ yds square. Tell him
when you see him, that I shall bless his
kind benevolent heart whenever I warp
myself in it. Margaret is well – Caution her
about loving too much. yr Mother