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Title: Letter from Cornelia Phillips Spencer [to Ellen Caldwell Summerell, September 30, 1866]: Electronic Edition.
Author: Spencer, Cornelia Phillips, 1825-1908
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 16K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
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:
2005-08-04, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: Cornelia Phillips Spencer Papers (#683), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Cornelia Phillips Spencer [to Ellen Caldwell Summerell, September 30, 1866]
Author: C. P. Spencer
Description: 6 pages, 6 page images
Note: Call number 683 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Cornelia Phillips Spencer [to Ellen Caldwell Summerell, September 30, 1866]
Spencer, Cornelia Phillips, 1825-1908

[The first four pages of this letter are missing.]

Page 5
more to live for. She will marry again — the man is coming along the road to meet her now, only you see I want to hurry it up.
I went from my visit to your Mother to call on Dr Duncan Moore & his wife at Emery's. It did me good to see them — so cordial & pleasant. She is still pretty tho somewhat faded. Rebecca Emery has just had another daughter. They were all full of the general talk & excitement against Gov Swain . Dr Moore says that it is very great down in his section. Atkins & Elly coming home this fall has increased the bitterness. Everybody agrees that the Gov must resign or the Univ is doomed. Yet nobody will tell him so. I think he has no idea of resigning. He thinks he will live it down. What do you think? Sometimes he seems very despondent, but brightens up & tries to take heart. I feel very sorry for him. His worthless children! Speaking to bro Sam at the death of S's little boy early in October, Mrs. Swain said, "Mr Phillips when you come to be as old as I am you will not look upon this as such a great misfortune".

Page 6
As to forgiving our enemies, Ellen, I can't say that I have reasoned much with myself about it. I would like to read the book you mentioned — 'Ecce Homo' — & see what it says on the matter. If we are to be forgiven as we forgive, I think we had better do it as quick as we can. I am however, sensible of a great rising in my throat when I contemplate certain parties in the Yankee nation. I am, I do confess, at times in no sort of amity towards them. I have never been able to get up the least feeling of loyalty or interest in the star-spangled banner. On the contrary I would like to spit on it this minute. Now of course this is not forgiveness. And yet I think myself a better Christian in this matter than a good many of my neighbors. The question you propose is whether we are required to forgive & love them before they exhibit any signs of repentance. If we are to take our Master for an example the answer seems to be this, "While we were yet sinners Christ died". I really do believe we ought to choke down, trample out, scatter to the winds all our natural, & ("casually speaking") justifiable

Page 7
resentments, & bitternesses, & force ourselves to feel, look, speak kindly & forgivingly of these people. It will cost a mortal pang to do it, but it ought to be done, I believe, by Christians. And done now. If we wait till time has dulled our memories somewhat & worn off the keenness of the edge, we may begin to say I forgive, when it is only that we are forgetting. I remember hearing a poor paralytic woman, struck down in the flush of her worldliness, say, & she seemed to take such credit to herself for her renunciation — " I am done with the world now. I give it up freely". When the fact was, the world had given her up. I think we are very apt to deceive ourselves in this way. It seems to me that these hatreds, resentments, envies, whatever we call them, are not to be suffered to die out, nor to be allowed to live till certain conditions are complied with by the offenders; they must be taken hold of in all their vigor & lustihood & pulled up root & branch, tho' it be with a long pull, a strong pull, & a pull altogether. I say all this with the deepest shame, that

Page 8
having these convictions, I have as yet never been able to act up to them. "The good I would I do not." Ellen, I am a miserable Christian. I don't see that I grow in any grace whatever, or that any of my evil propensities are weakened. And the consequence is I don't enjoy my religion as I ought to. I am best in the valley, or under the rod. When I recall any special seasons of quickening & reviving, they were always in times of affliction. There is great sweetness in adversity.
My little daughter is a promising child in most respects. She gives me no trouble in teaching. The main difficulty is her willfulness. She has a great deal. I can manage her so as to avoid a conflict — guide her, so to speak, round the matter in question, so as she will not perceive it, but that is not breaking her will, is it! I have a great notion of that breaking the will. I want her to get into the habit of coming openly over her will, into mine & doing it quietly & pleasantly too. "I want this but Mama wants that, & I must yield to her & I will do it". How am I to bring

Page 9
her to this. I remember something of your management of Maria when she was a little thing. I know I thought you required too much. How was it? Do you think now you were right then? I can compel obedience, but I want cheerful obedience. Can I get it?
Chapel Hill people are very poor. We are all so dependent on the prosperity of the Uni., that its decline carries the whole village down. The Faculty are greatly straitened. I could tell you some pitiful stories of some of them. And the future is both dark & uncertain. Bro C's oldest child Mary is nearly as large as I am. An intelligent girl, with a good mind. Would be very pretty but for her mouth. She is well-disposed, but I fear will be made unhappy as she grows older by her near neighborhood & companionship with Mrs Fetter's girls. Mattie F. is just her age and her classmate & dear friend — a nice amiable girl; but Mrs F. restrains her girls in no way & denies them nothing she can get for them. Laura means Mary to lead a different

Page 10
life, & I forsee that Mary will chafe and repine. Ellen, I do wish Presbyterians had more resources for their young folks. We deny them the ball-room & the whist-table & have nothing to offer them in place. Young people ought to have some youthful enjoyments. One or two Presbyterian girls alone in a community where all their genteel associates are Episcopalians, have a rather forlorn time — unless they have wealth & can travel. Oh dear, how I do wish I was rich for the sake of these nephews & nieces.
Do you know anything of Mrs Hall & Mary. Laura & I were talking about them the other day. We have never heard directly from them since the war closed.
I never received the letter you spoke of from Baltimore, and was obliged to make up my Salisbury account from your material & Dr Beall's.
I think it is high time this letter should come to an end — bed time or no. I wish you would do me just so. Love to the Dr & all yours. Pa sends his too. Believe me

Yours very truly & affectionately

C. P. Spencer