45



Abigail Abbot Bailey1790-01-01Asa BaileyMr. B. as your conduct for a long time has been such, as to force a conviction on my mind, that your remaining in your family could not probably be of long continuance; but I was constrained to expect that the day would soon come, when you must flee to some distant region, and leave your family forever; as I know not how soon this solemn event shall arrive; or whether I shall have much opportunity at that period to tell you my views of your conduct; -- under these distressing apprehensions I think I must invent some method to speak to you, and try to do something for the benefit of your soul, after you are finally gone from us, and have opportunity for serious reflection. To accomplish this my desire, I have written a few lines, with a view to place them among your things, where you may find them some time after having left us. When I wrote this, I still had some hopes you had not accomplished your most infamous designs. Or if you had, I knew not that I could obtain legal evidence of it. But my apprehensions then, relative to your conduct and intentions, and the result of them, were dreadful.I have thought, in times past, that I had sore trials indeed, on account of your unfaithfulness to your marriage covenant. Yet you know, notwithstanding those distressing trials, which you occasioned me, I overlooked those offences, and repeatedly forgave you. Not because I thought lightly of your crimes or viewed such wickedness small in the eyes of God; or that it might be viewed small-- 62 --by man. But I hoped you did, in some small degree at least, see the error of your ways; and would henceforth relinquish such transgressions. And the thought of being separated from you, and of the breaking up of our family, and under such disgrace, was to me dreadful. From those thoughts, I hoped it would not be sin in me so far to pass over your transgressions, as I did, in hopes of your better conduct in future. You know that I lived most kindly and peacefully with you. I labored to win you with kindness. I was most cautious never to reflect upon you; or needlessly to injure your feelings. And now, how have you rewarded me? Most ungrateful of men! Is this your kindness to your best friend? I well know, and you know, that you have ever had confidence in me as a true hearted and faithful friend. How often have you said, you had one of the kindest and best of wives? and that you had desirable and promising children? Oh then, were they not worthy of parental protection and regard? But what, alas, have you done? What shall I say? Words fail! No poet, in his highest strains, can reach the horrid subject, or depict the sorrow, grief and mourning, which have tortured my throbbing breast. Under the cruel horrors of your conduct, and when my situation was most delicate, I felt my flesh wasting, my strength failing, and I could say with the Psalmist, "I am afflicted and ready to die. -- O Lord God of my salvation, I cry day and night before thee. Thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. -- Lover and friend hast thou put far from me." -- You were no more a friend to me, no more a comfort to your kind and faithful wife. You have withdrawn from me all your kind and tender affection: -- Nor for any injustice, or want of kindness in me, as your conscience testifies. Your dear children, who have always treated you with the most obedient respect, you have unnaturally All your love, fondness and care tender-- 63 --for them, have vanished. So well have you been acquainted with the feelings of my heart, and my great fondness for friendship and peace, that you well knew your conduct was most cutting to my soul! Oh your unnatural conduct toward a daughter! What cruelty! what wickedness! What an ample cause for our final separation! Particulars -- alas, you know them! No tongue can express the tortures of my soul, while I saw you pursuing your wickedness. I had joyless days, and sorrowful nights, while I sighed and mourned like a lonely dove. All my past sorrows sunk to nothing before this. I knew, to my grief, that you had often been very unreasonable, cruel, and unfaithful; and that you was very guilty in the sight of God; yet all this was small, compared with your final abominations and cruelties.Could I have believed, when you told me, at the close of your strange conduct for several days, that you had been planning to sell our farm, and move to the westward; expressing a most kind attention to the best interest and future good of our family, seeking my consent, and that of your children, to such a measure, and we all finally obediently submitted to your proposals; -- could I have thought it possible, O false hearted lover! that under the cover of such pretences, you was then planning the ensuing scenes of infamy, the ruin of a daughter! and the disgrace of your own family! It was most distressing to my heart to entertain a jealous thought of your intentions, when you was pursuing your foolish conduct with that poor child, under pretence of making her willing to go with you. But your conduct forced a series of dreadful convictions on my distracted mind, which cannot be named.But whom am I addressing? What enemy has been capable of such things as these? Ah, let your conscience reply! Is this the man, who chose me-- 64 --for the wife of his youth? promising before God, angels and men, to be to me a kind and faithful husband, till death should part us? Is this the man whom I took in my youth, to be my kind head and husband, my guide, my bosom friend, the partner of my joys and sorrows? Am I dreaming? Or are these things realities? I am left alone. You have deserted me. You have chained me down to sorrow and grief. And though I sigh and groan, under my present load, yet I foresee that this is but the beginning of my sorrows. For such conduct must bring on a separation! yes, probably an eternal separation! And such is the nature of my troubles, that I cannot open them to neighbors and fellow-creatures, and thus have some to bear the burden with me. I must bear it alone. It is but in silence that I can say, "Behold and see, all ye that pass by; is there any sorrow like unto my sorrow!" Say, then, O treacherous friend, are you only without feeling, without pity? You have hardened your heart against all kindness. While for some time I did not dare to tell you the worst that I thought of your conduct; yet you did know my dreadful suspicions; and that I labored to dissuade you from your wicked intentious; and labored to win you, and save you from that destruction, into which I saw you was precipitating yourself. But to all my entreaties you ever turned a deaf ear. You was angry at my tears. You frowned at my groans. I therefore expect no more pity or comfort from you.But though you have thus hardened yourself, and deserted me, I cannot forget the dear connexion, which has been, and which ought faithfully to have been maintained, between you and me. Alas, the tortures of my wretched case! Just as we see the feeble vine, that needs Support, intwining with the pricking thorn. -- 65 -- She feels the smart; her need she also feels, Both of support, and healing for the wound. Nor will her hold let go, till forced and torn. So I, confiding in a faithless friend, By you am torn and wounded to the soul! With sorrow, pain, and hopeless grief I sigh, And mourn the friendship of a husband lost! At the time when you read these lines, I shall expect no more aid or friendship from you. But my wish is, that there may be excited in your heart some feeling sense of the miseries and tortures you have occasioned me; and may return to God with a humble penitent soul. Where you may be when these lines shall be by you found and perused, God only knows. But I beg of you to read and solemnly to consider the cause of these complaints and moans of your injured wife. I cry out of wrong. And had not God sustained me, I had fainted and sunk under burdens long ere this day!I pray you further to consider, as you have, without cause, torn yourself from the earthly enjoyments in which you have taken delight, where can you expect to find such happy days, as once shone upon you? -- when you rejoiced with the wife of your youth; and your tender offspring, as olive branches, were round about your table! Then your fruitful fields brought forth in plenty such riches as you needed. Your stores were filled with the finest wheat; your barns with hay, and agricultural treasures. Your rich pastures were covered with flocks; your herds fed and skipped in your enclosures; and you was respected by multitudes. Again therefore I ask, when, and where, can you expect that you shall ever again find such blessings as you have abandoned? Believe me, you never will! Poor wretched man! -- From my heart I truly pity you, most unwise and wretched! Truly, "the way of transgressors is hard." I pray you, think on your-- 66 --ways. Where are you? What are you pursuing? Oh, where shall you land, when you end your mortal race? You cannot plead ignorance of these things! You do know your accountability to God for all the deeds done in the body.Your afflicted and forever deserted wife,