(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Deerfield May 31. 1760
My dear Child as you are now Setting out
on a Journey, in order to tarry a few weeks
in Boston-- I would have you consider what
your views & designs are, for this we Should have
regard to in every affair of life-- it may be lawfull
to visit populous places if we aim thereby to acquaint
our Selves with the decent Customs of mankind yt
we may know how to behave our Selves more
decently in our Stations: but it is by no means
lawfull to endeavour to learn more of the pride
& vanity of this life, for there is too much of that
reigning in Country as well as in large towns: it
only Serves to make a young woman Contemptible
if after She has Spent a Summer in Boston; She ap=
=pears haughty & disdainfull, and can talk of nothing
but dress & fashions ; it is worth while to take
Some pains to attain A decent behaviour; but
then it must be natural not stiff & awkward:
you will my child See a variety of Behaviours as you
will See a variety of persons ; endeavour to Imitate
them who are the most easy & natural:
Labour to be wise endu to know when to Speak &
when to hold your tongue; this is a great degree of wisdom.
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The Reverend Jonathan Ashley (1712-1780) wrote a cautionary letter to his seventeen-year-old daughter, Dolly, when she left home to attend school in Boston in 1760. The minister wanted his daughter to learn the graces suitable to her social class and knew that she, as a child of one of the finer families, needed more worldly knowledge than was available in Deerfield. Like all parents, he also was concerned about Dolly's safety and morality. He signed his full name, as was the custom, but declared himself, "your affectionate Father."
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Letter to daughter, Dorothy Ashley in Boston
| author Reverend Jonathan Ashley (1712-1780)
| date May 31, 1760
| location Deerfield, Massachusetts
| height 7.0"
| width 6.0"
| process/materials manuscript, paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L99.100
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