Intrepid Morse



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Intrepid Morse writes to Mary Steinhaurer about his love for her. He recounts moments of his trip to Zanesville.




Zanesville, Ohio


Mary Steinhaurer, Bp. Chase, Bp. Whitgift, Chillecoth


Mrs. Mary Steinhaurer

Chillicothe, Ohio

Zanesville March 13th 1821.

Dear Mary,

I have been detained at Worthington a week longer than was contemplated, by the kind attention and solicitations of Bp. C. and family; and now, having safely reached this place, write to inform you of my present welfare and future movements. Next Sunday I expect to be here, and the following (by the permission of divine Providence) at Steubenville, there to remain until after Easter. Should there not be time between the reception of this and my departure (one week hence) for a letter to reach me here, direct to S. Do not neglect or delay writing. You can hardly imagine how much satisfaction and pleasure I receive from your letters, notwithstanding what you are pleased to say of their bareness and poverty. Let them only be, as heretofore, the genuine transcripts of feeling, and the heart- and they cannot but please.

My late journey was pleasant rather than otherwise, although the roads in some part of it were excessively bad. The pleasure of writing C. and W. of seeing you and my good uncle has left a relish on my mind that will not soon wear off. It was this that sweetened all my toils. It was this that diffused a cheerfulness around my heart unalloyed by anything external. A cheerfulness not to be removed by inclement skies above, deep mud beneath, or even the incivility and churlishness of innkeepers. But a part of the time was very fine weather and spent among friends near and dear in mine affections. You would have smiled to see the Bishop of all Ohio and the presbyter of a fourth part of it, busily engaged in the woods making sugar! And perhaps that smile might have been allied to a tenderer emotion- to pity- could you have seen a few days after, that same aforesaid presbyter- (solus) - riding along to a lonesome road and listening to the cooing of the [turtle] until his eyes filled with tears at the sense of his own loneliness. Would it be weakness to say it? The voice seemed audible in imagination, as answered from one to another by the feathered choir, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”, as plain as words could speak it.

And he mused on the fouls of the air who sow not neither gather into [banns], and yet are fed of our Heavenly Father. He thought of the innocent [turtle] who lived only to love and left its little note in praise to the Creator. Did he envy its happiness? No: but he wished for innocence, and purity, and faith, and the loneliness of all alone seemed more insupportable than ever.

I have never wished for wealth, dear Mary, except as a means of usefulness: and if I wish for it now, it is for your sake. But the wish is futile- there is no prospect of its ever being accomplished. If ever united, we must expect to be poor: yet in that case, we may at least escape the danger and the temptation of riches; if poor, I hope we may be humble and pious here and possess a title to the heavenly inheritance hereafter.

That I esteem and love you above all others needs not be reiterated: all I ask in return is reciprocal affection.

Duty to God and to the Church purchased by his blood must ever possess the first place in my heart, the second is thine, and I am persuaded that both may coalesce and harmonise together, provided you may become what I confidently believe- and help me to indeed. Permit me to say, that “Dear Mary” has become a motto almost as exhilarating to me as “Pro ecclesia Dei”, the dying explanation of good archbishop Whitgift: which on all occasions when recalled to mind is wont to produce a smile on my cheek and a glow at my heart. All my earthly desires and exertions at present go to the tune of “dear Mary”, if the expression be not too unclerical. And, dear Mary, I have faith to believe that Providence will yet smile upon us, and bless us, and open a way for our union, that in due time we may sing as did the [turtles]. “I am my beloved’s- my beloved is mine.”

A’Dieu! Farewell

Your sincere and true friend,

Int. Morse

Remember me affectionately to Mr. [?]

Letter to Mary Steinhaurer



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