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From Harriet Martineau to Mary Dowson (Nee Houghton)

A consoling letter to Mary from Harriet Martineau on the death of Mary's father. 

Harriet and Mary were about the same age and had probably met at the Octagon Chapel in Norwich where Mary's father had been a preacher.  Mary's grandmother was also from Norwich and it would appear that Mary spent much of here childhood there.  The Marineaus were known to Mary's in-laws too.

For further and detailed information on Harriet Martineau see The Martineau Society and Harriet Martineau (which has a link to her autobiography).

The spelling is as per the letter. Note the arcane use of the f style s where there is a double ss as in addrefs. I cannot replicate this on the computer.

Stamford Hill May 4th 1824

My dear Mary

I forbare to addrefs you before, lest I should intrude upon your sorrows - but I cannot be satisfied without afsuring you with my own hand how much I have participated in them and how sincerely I sympathise with you in your recent lofs - a lofs which can never be explained but the pang is greatly alleviated by the numerous (??essiness)   alissenss.jpg (63529 bytes) with which you are still surrounded and with the idea that your beloved Fathers last moments were cheered and comforted by this consoling thought - Providence has taken from you a Parent in whom all the kindly affections centred - but he was in mercy spared to you while your sole earthly comfort depended upon him - your have now my dear Mary an affectionate husband a delightful Mother - a kind father - your are rich in Brothers and Sisters surrounded by affectionate friends - let their consoling ideal tend to soften the poignancy of your grief - you have been an exemplary Daughter - this above all other considerations will sooth your mind to peace - We thank you my dear Mary for ranking us amongst your dear Fathers particular friends by the kind memorial you sent us - I hope we shall soon hear though Mrs Dawson that your health is  better - you must cheer up my dear young friend for the sake of your husband and have kind friends who are so desirous of consoling you and above all you must take care of your health - Sarah who has been with us for the last six weeks begs to write with all of us in the most heartfelt sympathy -  Mr Jardine returned last night from the circuit and they leave us tomorrow -  Our dear little Margaret is we hope a little better and as she has now cut all her teeth we flatter ourselves with the the idea that the summer at Fairlight where Sarah intends she shall continue will set her up - Little Sarah Martineau has grown a nice sturdy healthy child and seems to be sent by a horrid Providence in mercy to console her parents for the want of health in the other dear child - Our most affectionate regards to Mr & Mrs Dowson and thanks for the delicious smolts and Ho?? Eggs - Remember us very kindly to Mr Henry Dowson he is the only part of the family I have not seen since he was quite a boy but I hope some time or other to be introduced to him - I trust I need not say how happy It would make us to see you both at Stamford Hill  -  recollect that you must not visit London without making our house your home - All here write in love to you and best wishes - That health and peace and any consolation may be yours is my dear Mary the fervent Prayer of your
                                                                                                                            truly affectionate friend
                                                                                                                               Harriet Martineau Lonn