As son leaves home he writes his Mother about the melancholy they each feel

Date Written

Sept. 4, 1827

William Sturgis was 21 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Elizabeth Jackson Sturgis, was 59 when it was received.

William Sturgis died 67 years, 4 months, 6 days after writing this.
It was written 196 years, 29 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.

The eventful period has at length arrived—the day has pass which robbed my Dear Mother of her youngest boy, but may the day which separated, a beloved and tender Mother from an affectionate and dutiful son be far, far distant, and may they, their relatives, & friends yet enjoy many days of virtuous happiness here, deserve and receive an endless, and joyful existence hereafter—I would assume my dear Mother, though her boy may have gone from her, her son still is, and will ever remain such, through life, obedient, kind, and affectionate, and my sisters I trust will find in me a brother ready and willing to serve them in anything conducive to their comfort and happiness—I will make no more protestations lest I fail in their, fulfillment.

This period of life which I imagine is to many a joyful one, is to me a season of melancholy of reflection and serious contemplation. I can hardly realize that I have passed twenty-one years of life for it seems to me but a few short months, since I was a happy careless school boy, no trouble or care except when out of school, anxious to have done work, and off to play, and then how many delightful winter evenings passed with some youthful friends, shelling corn in the kitchen and afterwards enjoying a game of Blind Man’s bluff—This retrospective view of former days, as they seem to me now, past and gone irreconcilably lost forever, fills my mind with unpleasant melancholy thoughts and casts a sadness over the heart, not to be effaced by the first dawning light of manhood’s happiness—But you will tell me now I have another place to fill, a different part to perform, of this I am fully aware, and sincerely trust that enough of strength both of body and mind will be given, to enable me to “act well my part for there the honor lies”

I am also sensible that my lot is now far happier than that of thousands of others who are beginning life, or entering the world, to take this chance of experiencing the many vicissitudes to which human nature is subject, without the many valuable, kind, and dearly beloved friends which I possess, to guide, to direct & comfort them—and for this invaluable blessing I feel truly grateful and sincerely thankful—as I believe you all feel a deep interest in my welfare. I would inform you of my intentions respecting my intended course but at present can only say what the girls have doubtless told you ere this as I had nearly or quite made up my mind before to remain where I am for a few months, and perhaps longer if we can make a mutually satisfactory arrangement—which time only can determine, and then he will let you know.

In the spring Mr. Lee is confined to the house a great part of the time with a lame knee which he sprained some twelve months since, and which his imprudence has made very troublesome and somewhat dangerous. I told him to day we could space a weak or more which the Doct thinks is absolutely necessary to his recovery, but at this the most busy season of the year he is unwilling to absent himself so much as is necessary. This gives me a fine opportunity of displaying my powers, which must be done whether I will or not, for we have now all hands full, vis two boys besides Mr. Appleton for I suppose he ought not be called as such, being a few days older than myself, though younger in the store.

Our Hingham friends passed through here and down in the packet Saturday, in good health with some colds, they dined at Mr. Paines Friday and left the family there all well, tho little Betty had been sick—Mr. Sturgis is much as usual, Mrs. S. came up from L.C. Saturday with little Susan, who is much better—I cannot say anything of Mr. Nat’s family for I have not met a member of it several weeks—Sunday morning about nine o’clock I walked up to the south and rec’d when I arrived at South Boston Bridge. I took it into my head to extend my walk down the turnpike which I accordingly did and ¼ before one o’clock offered my arm to assist Mrs. Hecucklig, whom I overtook on her return from church; she asked me where I came from & I replied, Boston, did you come alone, yes Madame—how did you come down? I replied, down the street, but she either would not believe me at all, or think me crazy. I asked if she had seen anything to justify such a conclusion—nothing before this—but I convinced them that it was not enough to confine me to the bed though it was warm enough to burn my face a little, for I walked to meeting in the afternoon, with the ladies where Mr. Brooks preached a sermon particularly to me, the subject of which was the manner of young men beginning life—the text Ecclesiastes (is that spelled right now) 11th Chapt. 9 Verily, Rejoice young man in thy youth, etc.—he made me to rejoice in all innocent harmless amusements, but to be prudent, industrious & economical the exercise of which principles, he said would lead to wealth—and wealth ruled with temperance produces health and its natural consequences long life—which there are the constituent parts of happiness he says, also told me that benevolence, and piety were indispensably walking to Hingham—William and his supercargo Mr. Hammatt were there. Wm. Is going off in the same ship to Gibralter and Canton, in few weeks as chief mate and writing master.

Mr. Bourne will give you the cooks Tom forgot before and for which Mr. B. is pd.

Tom left a bundle of old shirts which he wishes sent home and done over, I believe I will send, with some of mine when I can get time to pick them up—shall I send some that need repair—It is about midnight and I am obliged to get up before breakfast. Love to all nearest & dearest from,

William Sturgis

Nothing for Tom yet.

Scans of Letter