Documenting the American South Logo
Title: Letter from J. Horace Lacy to Aunt Kate, September 11, 1852: Electronic Edition.
Author: Lacy, James Horace, 1834-1852
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann, Maria Frias, and Randall Ward
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 28K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

No Copyright in US

The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-04-21, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Drury Lacy Papers (#3641), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from J. Horace Lacy to Aunt Kate, September 11, 1852
Author: J. Horace Lacy
Description: 8 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3641 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Health and Disease/Diseases
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Religion and Philosophy/Other Philosophies
Religion and Philosophy/Christianity and Christian Theology
Travel and Entertainment/Travel
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Lacy describes his illness and the care he receives in Prof. Mitchell's home. He wants to come home to Raleigh, NC, as soon as possible and has read several books that have strengthened his faith as a Christian, though he fears that he has too often rejected Christ.
Letter from J. Horace Lacylink opens in a new window to Auntlink opens in a new window , September 11, 18521
Lacy, James Horace, 1834-1852

Page 1
Chapel Hill Sep. 11th 1852

Dear Aunt Kate

I am now dressed & sitting in a delightful arm chair which Mrs Mitchell in her kindness has sent up to the room to which I was brought last monday morning & where I have been on my back 'ever since. I was brought in a Carry-all-sort of a [concern] with a bed spread out in it—from My room at MrCraigs & was then carried up stairs in Dr Mitchellslink opens in a new window old house by two negro men, for you must know that I can hardly stand on my feet any length of time much less walk about. I got up just now because I was so very tired lying on my back, & I found that I was able to dress myself & go into the Dr's link opens in a new window Study for these writing materials, but the little walk tho only about 10 steps wearied me so much that I fell in the chair quite exhausted on returning into my room. I waited awhile to gather strength, when I began this letter I felt perfectly able to go right through with it, but already I am so much used up by this little exertion, I feel almost on the point of stopping with the end of each sentence. However I have a long time to write it in—about two whole days, not counting Sunday. This is the morning for the Stage to pass through, & although I dont suppose 'twill be here for four or five hours, yet the hour when the mail closes has already passed & my letter couldn't go unless I get some one to take it for me. The Stage Coaches have been coming in rather later than usual for the last two or three days—I suppose on account of the great quantity of rain we've had. It has been raining here very steadily for several days &2 at times violently. The roof of the front porch is immediately under my window, & the big drops from the eaves of the house keep up an incessant pit, pat.—which at some times make me feel pleasant & I fall off to sleep under the music they make—at others it makes me feel very melancholy &c that's when I can't get to sleep. I receive just enough attention here to make me want more. Mrs

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Mitchell steps in occasionally to see if I want some more Arrow root—generally just as I have fallen off into a gentle dose. Now there are few things on top of the face of this earth that I do not like better than Arrow root & gruel & farina &c, but they are the only food the Drlink opens in a new window allows me to touch. My fever went away some six or seven days ago & has been off ever since. My skin is as cool & pleasant as anybody's & my pulse going I believe at about the right rate.3 I now have what my Dr link opens in a new window calls irritation4 of the bowels & it is very necessary that I should eat very light food & lie quite still. I ate, contrary to his injunctions, a little piece of toast which I wd dip in the jelly they make for me, & eat them together in this way. Mrs M. made the toast & said she thought 'twould'nt do me any harm—neither has it as I've been able to perceive. I intend taking some every day for it the only thing that is fit to eat theyll let me have, & as I said before the Dr link opens in a new window objects to that. Water is another thing he prohibits, or at least tells me to do with as little as possible. I actually feel able to drain any Spring I ever saw, & very often I make nothing of a tumbler full, but top it off as if nothing were the matter. I can not tell when I will be strong & well enough to walk about. I will not be able to study rightly for a week or two after I recover i.e. of course if I get well at all. But from what D Joneslink opens in a new window says & the way I feel day after day I think I will be able to eat partridge or chicken soup in about a week or so. When is Uncle Archie coming? Oh! I'll look in fathers letter which lies on the table & see. I wish I could be there to see you before you leave & to see Uncle Archie again. I know not when I may see either of you again—probably never. I intend making aproposition to you all & I want to get you to work Father & Ma up to agreeing to it. Ill make it after a little; let me look into Fathers letter & rest awhile. 'Twas the very first thing I saw—that Dr Archd. A. Rice would start from Pr. Edward 5 with Sister on the second monday! but then he didn't say of what month. Sept. tho' of course & then day after to morrow they'll start & arrive in

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Raleigh about Wednesday at 2 o'clock. Now I was going to make the following proposition to Father, & if it pleases him, theres nothing by which he could so much gratify me as to grant me my request. You will perceive that I am counting on getting well by a certain time & thus dallying with Providence, which is altogether wrong, but I merely make the request on the supposition that I'll be well by that time. It is this. That I come home in the Stage or if I can find some gentleman going down to Raleigh with a vacant seat in his buggy that I ask him to let me go with him. In short, that as soon as I get well enough Father allow me to come down and spend a week or so at home. I have never come home during the session yet & I am now in the Senior Class, where theres not a great deal missed in one week. John Morehead6 went away when he was sick & staid 5 weeks. & I only ask to remain at home one week during which time I hope to become refreshed & invigorated enough to commence my studies with renewed zeal on my return. One thing is certain, it will be impossible for me to study the first week or so after my recovery; Sitting stone still for three hours & then walking as hard as possible for nearly a mile & half from my room to college & this walk repeated four times aday—twice going & twice coming—this is enough to keep me sick the whole session. Whereas I might go home & enjoy yr the company of you all, probably see you before you start & in that case see Uncle Archie also. At any rate I would see all the rest of them— Father & Sister & Dear Ma with the dear little babylink opens in a new window .7 Bless her little heart how is She?—& have you come to a determination as to the name? I dont see how Father will refuse this request—I will get permission from the Faculty—the only obstacle in the way as I see is the expense. & Since I come to think about it, If8 uncle Archie intends staying three or four days couldn't Drurylink opens in a new window or some little boys about there

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take Frank & the buggy & come after me? A slow drive of only 28 miles by which the driver may take up all the day & thus go at about 2 1/2 per hour—such driving as this could not weary a good horse much. Such would be rest to horse after Uncle Archis driving. But however just as you all say. I really believe 'twould do me good & I know 'twould afford me great pleasure. I took occasion to mention the matter to Mrs Mitchell & she seemed to think it quite a good idea, & although she's an old woman she did'nt raise a single objection. She has just sent me a saucer of toast and chipped beef. I am not permitted to swallow the beef—only to chew & spit out. I begin to think very hard about eating—how good some things would taste & how much I'd give for a fine buttered broiled partridge; hot corn bread, or potatoes & milk would go first rate too & beefsteak9 with good mustard—it almost makes me rave to think about them. I have got over my letter more easily than I thot I wd & thus passed off an hour agreeably which wd have hung heavily on me & bored me badly otherwise. I read though a good deal. I have got some books in here that I've seen read at10 home & that circumstances make them more interesting to me. That good book "Pastors Sketches" by Spencer,11 I've been reading with great delight. I looked over also the life of Miss Lyon,12 I did not have time to read twenty pages before they sent in for it. Then Colman's lettes on European Life & Manners 13 I've been reading after having heard it read—or at least some of it—at14

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home. Geology Religion of Geology 15 is another book they've sent in, but it requires too deep thought for me as sick as I am. I wish they would send in Baxters Call or Doddridge.16 as I feel a desire to read such book at present & have within the last few days. I do'nt know how it is whether it is just a little feeling coming up to me while sick or whether I am really serious once more. I have been so, so often & have driven God's Spirit away so repeatedly that I fear I will not be brought low & humble enough again to be willing to give myself to Xst. I feel as I always have though I feel as if I knew too much about the plan of Salvation to become a Xstian. I have read so many book on religious subjects & been talked to so much that I believe I suffer more harm than I receive good

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whenever I think any length of time on the subject. I am fully determined that if I do become serious again, to make no pretension to Religion until I may be certain of it—but to go on & attend to my regular business. But will Christ have me now? After having rejected him so many times, after having been so near the

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joys of Salvation have slighted them? I would rejoice to become a Christian now, above all things, & to enter on the new study of Divinity—as soon as I graduate. But I know these impressions (for they are feebler than any Ive ever had before) will wear off with my sickness if it ever wears off

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& that will be one more added to the many times I've rejected the Savior. Mr C. P. told me once when I was serious—some six months ago—that I did not seem concerned enough & that I was not interested enough in it. But there was a woman in Spencer's that had no interest or very little & that was her excuse for not attending to the subject. Dr Spencer told her that the least bit was enough; & that she must not "wait for conviction." Now how is this Mr C. P. told me I didn't have enough interest in it. I have some little now but was less than I had then—& how according to Mr Philips it is not worth while for me to try with the little interest I now have—but Mr Spencer says the least is enough—I am much obliged to you for your letter Write again soon. My best love to Father & to Ma & to the little babylink opens in a new window How are they getting along? You must write from time to time

Yours affectionately,

J Horace Lacylink opens in a new window .


1. Drury Lacy Papers, SHC. "Aunt Katelink opens in a new window " remains unidentified. She is probably the wife of Archibald A. Rice and the sister-in-law of Mary Ritchie Rice Lacy, James Horace Lacy'slink opens in a new window stepmother. Lacylink opens in a new window died on September 22, 1852, eleven days after writing this letter ( Dialectic Society Minutes, Vol. S-10, UA; The Semi-Weekly Raleigh Register , September 29, 1852, p. 3).

2. Lacylink opens in a new window wrote & on top of at.

3. Lacylink opens in a new window wrote r on top of an unrecovered character.

4. Lacylink opens in a new window wrote the second i of irritation on top of a.

5. Prince Edward County, VA, where Lacy'slink opens in a new window father had been born and where his grandfather, Drury Lacy, had operated a school.

6. Either John Lindsay Morehead (1833-1901)link opens in a new window of Greensboro, NC, who graduated first in his class in 1853, or John Henry Morehead (1833-1863)link opens in a new window of Greensboro, NC, who was a student from 1848 to 1851 but received his degree from Princeton in 1853.

7. "Dear Ma" is Lacy'slink opens in a new window stepmother, Mary Ritchie Rice; "the dear little baby" is May Agneslink opens in a new window , born in 1852.

8. Lacylink opens in a new window wrote If on top of several unrecovered characters.

9. Lacylink opens in a new window wrote eak on top of several unrecovered characters.

10. Lacylink opens in a new window wrote a on top of h.

11. Ichabod Spencer, A Pastor's Sketches, or Conversations with Anxious Inquirers Respecting the Way of Salvation (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1850) .

12. Possibly Edward Hitchcock, The Power of Christian Benevolence; Illustrated in the Life and Labors of Mary Lyon , 2nd ed. (Northampton: Hopkins, Bridgman, [1851]).

13. Henry Colman, European Life and Manners (Boston: C. C. Little and J. Brown, 1849).

14. At this point, Lacylink opens in a new window finished writing on the four sides of his folded sheet of paper and continued his letter in the margins of the first, second, and third pages. He completed the letter by writing across and at a right angle to the words on page four (cross writing).

15. Edward Hitchcock, The Religion of Geology and Its Connected Sciences (Boston: n.p., 1824) .

16. Richard Baxter, A Call to the Unconverted (1657; London: The Religious Tract Society, n.d.) ; and Philip Doddridge, The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (Philadelphia: Thomas & William Bradford, [1744]) .