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Letter to daughter Mary Morris Pearse
Trenton May 22nd. 1742

My dear child,

I have got Your long letter of the 5th. of march last And am as is your Mother very much concerned at the Occasion of it. I had one from you before letting me know yt. your husband had cited you into doctors common for Adultery wch. [gave your mother and my Selfe] was a great Surprise to us & learning the distress'd condition you were then in I sent you 50 pounds Sterling. Whether it came to hand I do not know but Send by this conveyance A Seccond bill of the Same tenure to your Sister Morris in case that is not come to hand for your use if you need it otherwise not. Your husband has Sent me all the evidences of his servants against you Some of wch. are notoriously falce by all the accounts I have yet got; how far any of them is true you best know but it eppares by your letter to your Sister betty that Reynolds had made his addresses to you and your not Acquainting the captain wth. it gave him but too much Incouragement to persist in & continue what he had began; wch. if even if you are innocent was in the most favourable construction that can be put upon it highly indiscreet & will go farhter to [confirm the credit] obtain beliefe of what the Evidences Say than all they could Say or Sweare would do without it. I am willing to believe and I hope you are innocent of what you are Accus'd of; but that conduct will render it Suspected by indifferent persons much more by a husband; whatever excuses are made use of for your not Acquainting [your husband] him with it; Especially when its known that you Still admit him to your presence & to your Secrets as I find you do; for in your last letter to me I find Severall Interlineations in Reynold's hand wch. could not have been unless you had Giv'n him your letter. This Shews beyond contradiction there is a familiarity between you that one in your circumstances Should by all meanes Shun because it will go but too far to give a credit to what is Said of your former familiar wth. him & that even with your best friend who can not think of any excuse Sufficient to palliate Such A conduct.

I cannot tell what to make of your husbands cohabitomg wth. you in the private manner he doth. If he believes you to have been or to be a whore to Reynolds he must hate you & this conduct Must be intended for your destruction; the houses & places he hires for your abode must be Such as the people about them are probably Very much if not intirely at his disposall & appointed to watch you & perhaps to Say and Sweare as directed who may (if Reynolds come there) Sweare to Such circumstances of A tumbled bed & lying there all night &c as may fix [an Adultery upon] Strong Suspitions Against you: for you Say pearse comes and goes Very privately wch. I think can meane no good. If he really believes you innocent I cannot believe he would use you in the manner he does; and if you are really innocent you must have more good nature or Something elce than falls to every bodyes Share to Admit of any conversation in that private manner with A person that had us'd you So ill in a publick one & by doing [of wch. you tempt] so Induce every body to [believe] Suspect you guilty. The Ships from York go So Soon & I am at Such A distance that I cannot make enquiries time Enough to transmit them to you by this conveyance. Your Sister Peggy was constantly wth. you & sayes that all concerning Reynold's being so well is falce. I have Shewn the papers to your brother & white and expect their answers. I have wrote to Ashfield about Henderson who I believe did not like Reynolds & I suspect the Story of the Slightnes of the wound & taking opium comes from him but there are Other people of as much credit as Henderson who can Speake to that. I shall get all that can be Said as Soon as I can; but whether it will be of any use to you may be A question Since the matter is gone So far. How secure you are of the 50 a yeare is allso A question with me; for if you have no more than his honr. for it, if you come into this country & draw bills [they] he may perhaps protest them. I therefore hope you have taken Such propper care on that head that it may not be in his power to hinder you from the money but that you may be Sure to have it go where you will: if you have not done this you Should do it. Doctors commons will allow your clothes and compell [oblige] him to maintain you according to his quality I believe at a bettr. rate yn. 50 pounds Sterling A yeare. Tho you have been Very Indiscreet wth. respect to Reynolds in concealing his attempts & hiding this matter both from your mother & me, yet if you are (as I hope you are) innocent God of his Goodnes who never fail'd the good that trusted in him will in his owne way carry you thro all your difficulties and defeat the contrivances of your Villanous Adversaries. You Should by all means Avoid Reynolds for however Innocent you may be few will think you So if he is admitted to your conversation & Secrets. Severall have Observ'd in him a haughty carriage in the captns. house [he has been] & (as is Said) [Imprudent in the same manner] to his fellow officers in the Ship. This gave them A generall distate against him. They [could not] too readily believ'd he durst not have taken those liberties he did in the capts. house unles he had been admitted to greater familiarities by you than he Should have been.

I can't learn what the Captn. has done with respect to the Seisures made here. I am counter Security to the baile he has given in New Yorke & have depended Solely on his honour. There is Judgment given Against him in New York in all the Actions he was Sued by Cumins wch. will ammount to above 1500 pound. This will fall upon me unles he takes Some more care than he has done to Secure me. Pray let me know as well as you can yt. matter Stands in England & what is become of it. For it is an affaire that gives No Small uneasiness to my poor child Your affectionate father empty L.M.

Your Mother cannot write. She gives you her blessing is Very much concernd at your afflictions & hopes you do not deserve them.

Eugene R. Sheridan, Editor, The Papers of Lewis Morris, Volume III: 1738-1746, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark NJ, 1993; p.192-194.

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