(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Deerfield April 3, 1778
To Mr. David & Mrs. Silence Hoit.
That great Being who formed man
kind rational Creatures, implanted in their natures
a desire for Society.
It is from such a desire being implanted in my
nature &, I think from honest & upright principles,
that I have sought for a partner in
this Life – you very well know that I have
for sometime past frequently visited at your house
& had opportunities for private Conversation with
your Daughter Mercy & you will naturaly
imagine that something more is intended by us
by being so frequently in each others Commpany
than only for the Sake of Company keeping.
It is a mutual agreement between us, that we
might know Whether you approve of our past Con=
duct or not, by asking your consent that we proceed –
I suppose the usual way of asking consent
is for the Father to do it for the Son, But you
know it is impossible in this cas, therefore I hope
the way in which I have proceeded will be acceptably
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In this eighteenth-century letter written by twenty-six-year-old Justin Hitchcock (1752-1822) to the parents of twenty-two-year-old Mercy Hoyt (1756-1834), he follows the custom of the time and asks their permission to continue seeing her. Hitchcock explains that he is seeking "a partner in this life" and, although would not plan to marry during [Revolutionary] wartime ("whilst our public affairs are in so unhappy a situation") or until he has more money, he asks for their blessing for the future. The couple was married nineteen months later on November 25, 1779.
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Letter from Justin Hitchcock to Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt
| author Justin Hitchcock (1752-1822)
| date Apr 3, 1778
| location Deerfield, Massachusetts
| height 12.0"
| width 7.5"
| process/materials manuscript, paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L99.018
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