Saturday, March 10, 2012

Treasures from the SFC: The Stamp Act and Matrimony

"As For News hear None talke of But the Stampt Act & hangin Burning &c--- Burying men Alive"

In the second installment of our 2012 Women's History Month blog posts, we turn to back to undigitized holdings of the Sol Feinstone Collection, the David Library's premiere ensemble of manuscripts. On November 10, 1765, Mrs. Ruth Hopkins of Providence, Rhode Island, wrote to her husband, Captain George Hopkins of the Ship Nancy, somewhere near Suriname, to apprise him of recent developments. Her letter demonstrates a remarkable juxtaposition between political and domestic affairs. Ruth began by graphically (though briefly) describing the violence shaking Boston during the Stamp Act Crisis. The second part of her letter adopts an opposite tone, focusing on the rash of elderly marriages taking place against the backdrop of the imperial crisis, along with some commentary on the recent visit of a Miss Robinson, who apparently entranced the local male population with her feminine charms. The full text of this letter is available below and serves as a reminder that domestic affairs did not always respond to political drama in the ways one might expect.


Sol Feinstone Collection No. 1908
Ruth Hopkins to Captain George Hopkins in Suriname Commander the ship Nancy, Providence, RI November 10, 1765
Transcribed by W. P. Tatum III, March 2012

“Providence Novemr 10 1765

            I have Neglected writing so Long that I am almost Ashamed to Being But I Assure you it was all for Whant [sic] of A Subject that I think would be Agreable to You if I wat for that I shal Continue In Silance all my Days, so According to Promise will Trouble you with Scrols
As For News hear None talke of But the Stampt Act & hangin Burning &c--- Burying men Alive I heard from Boston the First of November they hung the Govr & Two Others Gentlemen I Effigy tis Impossible to Describe the Terror of the People, But Matrimony seems to Florish much Among the Elderly Ladys [pg 1]
Capte Weston & Miss Lutti Will Joyn the Fashion to morrow Capt Stonehows & Miss Char Ditto, Miss Dexter & Miss R Smith has Ben at Boston they Pertend they maid some Conquestes their I Wish it may be so, For my Part I am apt to think sum of us must Dy onmaried [sic, unmarried] if We ant Provided for some where Els But am Apt to think they Will Be Relived By the Assistance of France and Other Furron [sic, foreign] Parts___
Miss Robinson has Bin here & Lodgd at your hows you must Be thankful you was Out of the Way, the Inexpressible Transport the site of hir has Created in Every Beholder For Who can Bihold such Atracting Charms Without Being filled with Whonder & Admiration and Becoming Intirely Devoted to their Service
Thanks to my Stars I whant a Young Fellow at that time, Mr. Thomas Henryette [?] Pays his Respects to Miss Bette Miller yours to Server
Ruth Hopkins
[pg 2]"

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