Mrs. Ramsey



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Mrs. Ramsey warns Philander Chase of her brother-in-law John Ramsey, who went bankrupt having "committed the worst act of dishonesty" and is consequently trying to emigrate to Illinois and move to Robins Nest. This act of dishonesty apparently "should have been criminally prosecuted" and shocked Ramsey's wife to the point of death, leaving behind his children. Mrs. Ramsey calls him "unprincipled to the deepest degree" and writes that he is skilled in pretending to act penitent and assuming another character.




Philander Chase, Mrs. Ramsey, John Ramsey, Dr. Ramsey, gossip


Whitby, Yorkshire Nov’r 23, 1841.

Right Rev’d & very dear Bishop

our dear & honoured friend

It gives me true & deep pleasure to have such an occasion for addressing you as has been afforded me by our dear christian friend Miss Bates of Little Missenden, at whose house you will I daresay remember accompanying me to drink tea one eveng. when you were at Amersham in 1836. Her mind was then only beginning to be awakened to “the light of life,” & “the faint dawn of “the day star” beginning to arise in her heart; and I have always believed that your visit & conversation that eveng. were specially blest to carry forward the great work already begun, & which has now attained to a beautiful excellency of christian spirit & character not very frequently, I fear, met with. From this dear friend I rec’d about ten days ago, Bank notes to the amount of 250£, with a request that I would divide it between “The Stewart Missions in Canada, & Bishop Chase”. This sum had been unexpectedly restored to her from a means of Dividends in the public funds, & she immediately & gladly devoted it thus “to the promotion, in some small measure, of the happy dominion of our Lord & Saviour.” I immediately went to the Bank here to enquire into the best means of transmitting the 125£ to you direct-- & was assured by the Bankers (who are connections of my [son] in this my native place) that the subject & best method was by such a Bill as the one I now enclose for that sum. They are in the habit, they told me at the Bank, of sending money to America frequently & always do it in this manner-- tho on these people from this place & neighbourhood having emigrated thither, remittances of money are often made to them through this Bank & Mr Simpson told me that upon such a Bill as this some premium was generally obtained, “so valuable is English Money.” One of the emigrants from hence of the name of John Craven is located six miles west from Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois. I mention this because I know, honoured friend! that your kind paternal heart that yearns opens every soul in your vast Diocese, would have a particular satisfaction in speaking a few words, if he should come in your way, to this poor Yorkshireman from my native town. And how I must fulfil a painful duty which this subject reminds me of, & which my dear Husband has been very anxious should not be delayed. You will I daresay remember his youngest Brother Mr. John Ramsey of High Wycombe (a solicitor) at whose house you met Mr. Dilkinson when we were on our way to Mr Norris’s of Hughenden House; & will recollect perhaps also his sweet young wife. This poor Brother became a Bankrupt last spring during Dr. Ramsey’s long & most dangerous illness & was found to have committed the worst act of dishonesty, so that he sh’d have been criminally prosecuted but for the presence of many injured parties in consideration of the awful & affecting circumstances in which he & four infant children were immediately placed by the almost sudden death of the poor wife & mother, who sunk under the blow inflicted by the [discovery] of her husband’s delinquency, & died five weeks after the birth of the last child, & six after the [discovery] of that delinquency came unexpectedly upon her. She was an advanced christian & her death most remarkably evidenced a state of mind & character that her retiring lowliness & meekness of spirit had much concealed. The wretched husband remains unchanged in character & is unprincipled to the deepest degree; while he has the power also of assuming any character he pleases, & of adapting his language so aptly to any that he chooses to assume, that he can easily impose himself upon a stranger as a penitent, or an honest man. He is now meditating some scheme of emigration, & Dr. Ramsey much fears his reaching Illinois & “Robin’s Nest,” & is very anxious that you should be warned in time, most dear and revered friend! that if this should be the case, you must not trust him in the smallest item, & not in one word that he says. This is painful to say but in a matter that might prove of so much to you & your momentous objects, most revered friend, we have felt it an imperative duty to make the communication. Tuesday 30th. I have not been able to complete my letter since the last date from numerous claims upon my pen & time; I hope to now finish & despatch it. Since it was begun I have heard from Miss Ramsey that she has 1£ to be added to any contributions “going to Bishop Chase” & am sorry I did not know in time to include it in the enclosed draft; I have begged her to enquire of Miss Lloyd how she may best convey it. Miss R. also asks if I can give her any information respecting the “Reminiscences,” which Mr. Nortimer had given us notice 2nd be ready for delivery the 1st of July last. Both she & I had written to him on not receiving the copies we had ordered, & neither of us on this subject also, Miss R. believing she c’d get several subscribers. I must not forget to mention too that Dr. Ramsey would like to know if you have rec’d the “record” wh. a friend has sent from London to you for some time last and none, most dear & honoured friend! A few words more & I will no longer intrude upon yr precious time. When I think of yr “labours in the Lord” I c’d sometimes almost feel a sort of envy at yr lot, [?] as I now do. We are still detained from home from the state of my dear Husband's health, which since his long & dangerous illness continues quite unequal to practice & am living with my aged Mother, with “the world & the things of the world” & the people of the world, my heart sickens & yearns to “take sweet counsel” & join the labours of those who are “looking at the things that are not seen” & in their day and generation spreading the knowledge of Him who “died for our sins” & extending the light of His blessed Gospel in a world that lies lost & [dead] in tresspasses & sins. The awful spread of Popery & of its most subtle essence under this new form of Puseyism which has arisen within our Church & is entangling in its deceitful [scores] such magnitudes of half professors, it is fearful to contemplate, but we know that all is working the will of God. I must conclude-- we long to know how yr labours proceed & have yr precious health & that of dear Mrs Chase & yr family, is [?] earnest desires for every blessing on you all from Dr. R. & from myself, & remain with true reverence & love-- faithfully yours

M. Ramsey

Letter to Philander Chase



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