As mourning period for first wife ends, man writes love letter to future wife


Date Written

June 11, 1819

Elijah Howard was 32 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Fidelia Williams, was 20 when it was received.

Elijah Howard died 55 years, 23 days after writing this.
It was written 204 years, 3 months, 12 days ago.
It was a Friday.

Amiable Fidelia,

I thank you most sincerely for the permission you gave me (through Mrs. W) to pay my respects to you, and shall not fail to avail myself of it after a few weeks more which I think it my duty to devote to the memory of one of the most worthy of her sex.

Will you forgive me, who cannot even claim the title of acquaintance for presuming to address you in this manner–If you will not how shall I hope for your pardon when I tell you that I do it to ask your permission to cherish the sweet hope of being allow’d at some future day to call you by a more enduring name than that of a mere acquaintance–I entreat you, lovely Fidelia, most earnestly do I conjure you to lend a most favorable ear to my request–have you any suspicions that it is my wish to ingratiate myself into your favor and then trifle with your feeling? Though I have no doubt that there are men base enough to conduct in that manner I hope you will do me the justice to believe that I am not one of them. If I know the disposition of my own breast I have no inclination to treat any person in that manner much less could I do it by her whom I prefer to all others–no, Fidelia, give me leave to hope and I pledge myself to you in the most solemn manner–I can lay my hands on my heart and say with truth that I feel for you as I feel for no other person living–I love you Fidelia, with the sincerest affection. Can you pardon this declaration? Though it may seem unreasonable and disgusting to you, I say it in the sincerity of my heart, lovely Fidelia I offer you my hands, my heart you already possess–would that I had a fortune of many thousands to offer you with but as it is I flatter myself that with industry and economy I shall be provided for through life–and though in the business in which I am engaged for a livelihood I am liable to be reduced to poverty any year, yet I hope and believe that I shall never be reduced to that state by my own extravagance or intemperance–

Amiable Fidelia, may I indulge in the pleasing anticipation that you will consent to the completion of my wishes, but probably I shall not know ‘till I have the pleasure of seeing you which I think will be in four or five weeks, ‘till then adieu, may the sweetest repose be there–and that the richest of heavens blessings attend you through life whoever may have the happiness to enjoy them with you is the sincere wish of

E Howard

Scans of Letter