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This letter was sent to Thomas Jackson the day after the death of his daughter. The theology of the sender, his uncle the Rev. Joseph BARTLEY, was not the kind of theology that Thomas had any respect for in later life. Whether this was true then, I cannot say.
Sharon Oddie Brown. February 25, 2014

 

The Manse[1]

September 8, 1874

 

My dear Tom[2],

Your previous letters have prepared Aunt[3] and me for the intelligence of poor little Edith’s[4] death. This is yours and Minnie’s[5] first trial and I trust the Lord will sanctify it to you both. Don’t repine[?] at the Lord’s dealings for he is a tender and loving Father who does not afflict willingly nor grieve the Children of Men. All is done in love, he wants both of you to give your hearts to Him and to the end, He has taken away your little one that now having treasure in heaven a lesson your hearts may be thereon also. How much heavier the chastisement might have been. And the lesson he would have you to learn from it is to be more prayerful and diligent and painstaking in training up those he left – and what a blessing it would prove did it teach you and your dear wife to feel that you dwell in a world of shadows where gourds [___?] are withering all around you, and where there is nothing true and nothing sure, but heaven. The lesson he opened is a needful one else it had not come and I would here take leave it [___?] upon you, my dear Tom is to be now more of a family man, than you have ever yet been, for when a family is rising around a man bringing with it heavier responsibilities and the attractions of the after-world, and the grey circles on which a young man may have been accustomed to mingle should as far as possible be got rid of, and a home of piety and the peace which it brings take its rightful and legitimate place so that it may be at once the [___?] and the [___?] of the home where to which we all profess to be travelling and where we all hope to meet at last. May the Lord of his great mercy sanctify this your first bereavement to you, so as to make you both more decided for Christ and to be more and more to one another. Aunt has been troubled for the last few days with diarrhoea, but I trust she be resolved again in a day to and she bids me say that when you can conveniently get away. We shall be glad to see you and your wife & Maryjane[6] paying for promised visit to the Manse. Please drop a line when you propose coming over and I shall meet you in Belfast.

Your affectionate Uncle

Joseph Bartley[7].

 

NOTE: The handwriting was challenging to decipher. It is still possible to get a reasonable feel for what was being said.

 



[1] The Manse at Carnmoney, Co Antrim, Ireland.

[2] Thomas JACKSON (1841-1915). He and his family had come to England and Ireland on a year-long leave from Yokohama where he worked for HSBC. There was never anything that shed any doubt on his devotion to his family, in spite of what this letter might insinuate, however he was a less than enthusiastic Christian, and seemingly attended church services only when he had to.

[3] Sarah JACKSON (1811-1892), wife of Joseph BARTLEY, the author of this letter, and aunt of Thomas JACKSON.

[4] Edith Bradford JACKSON (born May 27th and died September 7th 1874) was the twin of Amy Oliver JACKSON, both of them daughters of Amelia Lydia DARE & Thomas JACKSON. We do know exactly why she died, but from a letter dated September 13th 1874, it seems it may have been as a result of a brief illness followed by febrile seizures.

[5] Minnie aka Amelia Lydia DARE (1851-1944), wife of Thomas JACKSON. She was 23 years old at the time of this letter.

[6] Mary Jane OLIVER (1821-1875) was an aunt of Thomas JACKSON, and lived at Cavananore, where the family had been staying when young Edith had died. She was an unmarried aunt of some means. Thomas had often stayed at her home when he was young.

[7] Rev. Joseph BARTLEY (1811-1880), the Minister of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church, Co. Antrim. Joseph was ordained to the pastoral charge of the Congregation of Carnmoney, Co Antrim, Ireland on 28 May 1845, and ministered there until his death. He and his wife had no children.

 

 

 

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