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The Morris Family

The Man
The Poet
The Family

Letter from Daughter Euphemia Morris Norris
Bois near Cheshem in Bucks June the 15th 1742

I have Just heard that our governor's to Sail in a few days, which gives me an opportunity to thank my Dearest father for his kind letter of the 14th of Decembr. Last with which I received a duplicate of your bills, & Commissions with a bill Drawn upon Barkeley & Company for the use of my Sister Pearse.

I must observe to you that there is Some things in your last directions, which you did not mention in your first, which is the reason you have them not with the rest of your things, which I sent by Farmer, insured as you ordered & hope long before this, got Safe to you. The Dorchester beer Did not Come time enough to goe with the rest of the things, & when I came out of town I left directions with Mr. Saint to send it to you by the first Ships to Philadelphia; & to write to you with it because my being in the Country would prevent my knowing when it went, & hope you have had it by this time, & that it proves to your Liking. It is Cheeper than wine, & you know it will goe a great way, when you entertain your Parliment, towards making them what they expect to be, Drunk, but I hope next year to be able to send you some of my own brewing. I Send you inclosed the Brewers letter from Dorchester, which gives you an account of the whole Charge.

Your Bill upon Barclay was duely Paid, but the money still remains in my hands; & had you not mentioned it in your letter to my Sister I should have kept it for her, 'till she was mistress of herself. I wrote you a very long, & very perticular account of her affairs in my last; & refer you for further perticulers to the governor. It is impossible to tell you the real Concern her missfortunes have given me, & the unwearied pains I have taken to serve her, & am Sorry for her sake I have not Succeeded better. As to maintaining of her it is what her vilain of a Husband wanted her friends to doe, but that I think is a favour he is by no means deserving of. The Law obliges him to Support her according to his Circumstances, & I have often told her it was her own fault if She wanted any thing, for that every thing She denied herself was giving so much to his wicked relations, who was her greatest enimies.

When he put her into the Commons, I engaged my neighbor Upton (whom I recommended for agent for New York & Jersey,) to undertake her Cause. He is not only well versed in these matters, but takes great pleasure in serving the destressed & was extreemly diligent in her affairs, & procured her the best Councill in england. In these Cases the first thing the Commons doe is oblige the Husband to render an account upon oath of his circumstances, & they allot what they think proper to support the wife, during the sute, & oblige him to pay the Charges on both sides, & oblige him to return her all her wearing apparril, & so very favourable is the Law to the Ladys, that she might if She had pleased drilled on this sute to the end of their lives, & have Carried him from Court, to Court, 'till she brought him to the Court of Delagates, which is the last resort, which would have ruined him.

When he found what he had involvd himself in was very willing to put a stop to it, but was fearfull she would not Comply (as she might have refused if she pleased). He Came sniveling & Crying to me, how much he loved her, & if he Could be secured she would not Come upon him, he would put a stop to the procecution, & prooposed a seperate maintainance if she would accept it.

I for my part of this time pityed him at my heart, & thought it was better they should agree it than ruin themselves at Law, & be beggers at last. She accepted his offer, but I refused the security. Well after this I brought them together, & things went on very lovingly beetween them. This gave me so much pleasure that my mind was enough at ease to get Some sleep that night, which I could not before. The next day he went privately to see her, & spent the day with her. In the evening they both Came to me. He beggd I would not refuse to be security which was no less than a bond of 3000 pounds to indemnifie him, that that, & the Deed of Seperation was only to please his brother, that they should be Cancelled the next day.

I cant Say but I was a Little Suspicious of Him, but Chid myself for that thought as he seemed so much in earnest, & as I would not be Backward in any thing that might serve them I Consented, & the papers were ordered to be drawn. I told him as I did not understand Matters of this kind I insisted upon Mr. Uptons being Concerned for her, which was Consented to, but I Should tell you that when he promissed to Cancil the writings he assured me he would live with her, & that it Should be all over.

When Mr. Upton Saw the papers he Disaproved of them, saying he was now in her power, & that when they were executed She would be in his, that he thought Capt. Pearse did not act with plainness, that this seemed to him a Scheem to secure himself. He talked extreemly well to the Capt. telling him he was the best Judg whether his wife had ever been wanting in Her duty to him, or had discovered the least Coolness of affection which he acquited her of. He then Said why wont you make yourself easie, & as you love her live with her, which indeed is but doing of her Justice, & I Should be glad to be the means to reconcile you, for says he I will take Care that the Characters of your servant, shall be fully proved in Court, & there evidences invalidated, & dont doubt her wife will be acquited, & you will be despised by all honnest men, for encouraging Such a Pack of vilains against your wife, whom every body speakes well of but not being able to prevale with the Capt. to live with her, he said the next step was in prudence to seperate, & as Mrs Pearse had no friend here, & had applyed to him, he would doe her Justice, if she would act as he would have her. The terms he insisted on for her was that he stopt the procicution against the man in westminster Hall, because that was wounding her throw his sides, that he should make her some reparation for the injury he had Done her Character in siting her in the Commons for so Black a Crime as Adultry, & that he should give her amply security for the payment of what she had Consented to take as a seperate maintainance.

The Capt. refusing these terms, Mr. Upton told her she ought in Justice to her Self to make it up on no others, for that he was sure he Could not mean well to refuse what Common honnesty obliged him to. That he advised her to let the procicution go on, unless she could bring him to her terms, for that he could not put a stop without her Consent, & that he woudl Stand by her threw out the whole. That her Husband would soon be tired with paying Lawyers, for & against him self, & would be glad to Come to her terms.

The Capt. had found a way to blind his wife, & both together found a way to blind me & as I had promissed to execute the bond, & not doubting but that he would perform his promise of Canciling, & living with her. Behold, we excicutes the writings Contrary to the good advise of my good friend Upton, for which we were both a Couple of fools. Well this affair turned out Just as Mr. Upton had propheside. At last with the help of Mr. Clinton, & with great difficulty, I got my bond Cancelled, his Cohabiting with her of Course Cancils the Deed of Seperation, so that leaves her without any tyes. This point being gained, & it being prety plain, that his whole behavior was a trick, by his not preforming his promiss & refusing to do her Justice, notwithstanding that he had received so many accounts from america in her favour, & living with her in that Clandestin dirty manner, I thought it High time to let him know my sentiments, which I wrote you in my Last.

It is impossible to tell you every instance of his deceit, & baseness, & one would think that she had seen enough to Convince her, that she was to expect nothing from him, but what she could Compell him to by Law, but such is her weekness poor woman, that She Can't think so, tho I have used all the arguments I could perswade her, to use such means, as she had in her power to take Care of herself.

She does not know half the fategue I have had, or the pains I have taken to serve her. I could never prevale upon her to go to Sir Charles, to beg his assistance tho I had paved the way for her. I represented to my Lady Wager the vilainy of her Husbands behavour, & with great pains not in some measure removed the prejudice they had taken in the affair, by her suffering her Husband to Come to her in the manner he did.

I mention this to let you see I have done My duty as a sister, & more than every body said they would have done in my Case, for I had an ill natured world, & many difficultys to Struggle with of my own, & the addition of her missfortune which I was no ways accessing to, was some times almost too heavy for me. I was not without meeting with many Sensures upon the occation & perhaps my thinking so Contrary to her, may draw Even her Sensure upon me, but I have the pleasure to know that I have done every thing to the best of my knowledg to serve her, & am sorry I have had no better success.

I have given her my opinion very freely, & my advice very sincedrely, I have Also told her the sentiments of all her friends, but she thinks differently from us all, & you know we can none of us act for her. As for taking the whole Charge of her upon my self it is what I could never think of tho' nobody more inclined to be generous than myself, & tho' I know she, & many more, think I role in money yet I must own to you my abilities would not allow me the expence. But if I had ever so much, I would not do it whillst She had any thing to Say to him, & so I have told her, because that would be doing him & not her a service.

I suppose you will hear from her many perticulers of her own affairs. She has taken a little house in London & he Continues to Come to her in the same private manner. I am sure She will never have an easie mopment whilst She lives with him, & in this point we agree, & yet it is not in my power to perswade her to insist upon seperating & having a mantainance Secured to her, which She Can by Law oblige him to, & as I am sure he will not at his death give her a sixpence, I could wish you would interpose in the Case. The Concern this affair has given you & my Dear Mother has added greatly to mine, but the thoughts of her being innocent lessens the affliction, & I must beg that you will let that give you Comfort, & especially when you Consider that this whole affair is owing to their own imprudence, which would too often mistakes it for one.

His proceedings in this affair has shewed excessive rashness, & monstrous bad Principals. She poor woman, from over honesty, want of Judgment, & excessive ignorance of the world, has drawn the sensure of her friends upon her, tho it was not an easie Matter for them to Credit any thing ill of her, but this she imputes to their thinking wrong. However his ill treatment of her have opened their eyes, & she might still regain their good opinion, if she would, but I cant perswade her to see any of her friends. I took great pains to doe her Justice to them all, & threw the odium where it ought to be, on him, for her sake, as well as the rest of the family, & had She Joined with me, all the world would have been on her side.

I have now finnished two Sheets upon a very disagreable Subject, & had it not been in obedience to your Commands, should have left it to Mrs. Pearse, as I have many more letters to write than I can possibly get ready to you with this. I am extreemly glad to hear from my brother of the good agreement between you & your assembly. It is the opinion of your friends here that you Should get what you Can easily, & avoid as much as you Can differing with them, for the great world here, is all turned topsi turvy, & great Confutions in the State.

... [political discussion]

I have Such a pleasure in Conversing with you that I don't know when to leave of, & therefore hope the length of this will excuse me to those I cant write to now, for it is impossible to tell you the pain I suffer when I use a pen. For my eyes are so weak that I can hardly see to doe any thing, & writing makes them very painfull. For the Same reason I cant read or use a needle so if it was not for my Spinning wheel, I Should be wholly Idle, which is what I abhor, but the fategue I have gone throw as a nurse, & the tears I have shed for my beloved friend has quite impared my Sigh, but I hope a regular Country life with the help of the wholsome air will quite restore me my sight.

Eugene R. Sheridan, Editor, The Papers of Lewis Morris, Volume III: 1738-1746, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark NJ, 1993; p.196-204.

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