Ketcham, John. Letter to Isaac Post.


Handwritten letter from John Ketcham to Isaac Post, July 3, 1850.


July 3, 1850

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  J Post                                 Jericho 7mo 3d         1850
     My dear friend   Thine of last month came duly to
hand but I have not until now found opportunity
to answer it to my own satisfaction, having been so
taken up by so many one thing or others that have
crouded [sic] themselves upon my attention. In the first
place I went on a little traveling tour with our friend
Ardon Seaman towards the Eastern part of our Island
A has had an impression of duty for a considerable time
to make this visit, but having imbibed some of the
liberal notions of the day, his spiritual care-takers
have been rather backward in trusting him with
so important a concern - How but he at length obtained
a minute, and as our ministers must have companions
it fell to the lot of thy friend to be his armor bearer
Well, we went and I though he was quite favoured._
whether some guardian angels from the Spirit land were
hovering around to lend their aid I cannot say. In short
it seemed to me a satisfactory visit both to visitors and
visited_ Our labours were on the south side of the Island
as far as Quogue where we were kindly entertained
by some of the Post family - (your relatives I believe) __
  And now let me acknowlege [sic] thy favour,_ for such I
esteem it_ of the information respecting your spiritual
concerns. I am not disposed to join with those who
strive to ridicule every thing of their nature; and in
this case it often has seemed to me to be used as a kind
of subterfuge where opponents have found themselves at
a loss for sober arguments to meet undeniable facts _

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At the same time I am not quite prepared to enter my
name on the list of converts, perhaps if I were to attend
some of your Dr. Franklin meetings I might be fully
confirmed_ I am inclined candidly and honestly to
enquire into the matter as way opens for it and feel
much obliged by the information contained in thy
letter and should be glad of more from the same source
shen thou feels inclined thus to favour me. There is
one thing that inclines me to think there is no intentional
deception in the case (of the rappings I mean) and that is
not only the strict investigation which has been submited [sic]
to in the case, but the weakness of all the efforts that I
have seen to expose the humbug_ Those who have under-
_taken this tho' with much seeming confidence, have all
so far as I have seen, seemed to me to expose their own
weakness more than any thing else _ It is truly an age of
discovery and new developments of various kinds, so that
it is necessary to be careful how we presume to doubt
any thing that is new or strange _ _ My better half wishes
me to correct some of our friend IPs ideas_ I ask her to do
it but she declines, so I suppose the matter will have to
be left to his own good sense after all; in short if that
will not do it I shall look upon it as rather a hopeless
case _ _ _  We understand that Joseph A Dugdale is likely
to visit this part of the vineyard should be truly glad to
see him _ got a slight acquaintance with him in N York
some time ago but thought he had returned home after
visiting your part of the country _ I have never heard him
in public but have heard much of him. I suppose our

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law and order folks must look a little sideways at him
as a matter of course but I want the common people
to hear and judge for themselves. There is now and then
some disturber of the quiet comes round amongst us, much
to the annoyance of our sober conservatives who, as it is thier [sic]
wont to look backwards instead of forwards are startled at any
thing that looks like inovation [sic] - thier [sic] name for progression-
but the world will some how continue to role [sic] onward
notwithstanding all these efforts to hold its wheels. Well,
we must not censure those pullbackers, many of them
are no doubt actuated by good motives but are brought
into their present position thro' the impulse of fear
and timidity; and it may be there is absolute need of
some such to keep things properly balanced and as
long as there is a disposition to live and let live (rather a
scarce article by the way) we can get along very well
  We have heard but little about the Junius meeting
I have expected my friend Susan R. _ would have told
us before now but I suppose she finds more important
matters to occupy her attention _ I have from the
first felt much interest in the prosperity of this move _
-ment, and well satisfied with the ground they have
taken and were I in that vicinity should doubtless
give it my personal countenance according to my
little measure_ I believe in the usefulness of some
such organization- call it religious or moral as you
please- but the difficulty is to unite in a way not
to surrender individual rights to the keeping of the
brotherhood, and it appears ^to me^ this has been attained to

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more fully in this organization than any that has preceeded [sic]
it but ^as^ progression moves onward no doubt improvements will
be made in this as in other matters and in my opinion the reason
why this movement is not more generally falen [sic] in with is prin-
-cipally because it is in advance of the age. even many of the
most enlightened let in their doubts and their fears: some
think there is not enough of sectarian cement in it to hold it
together _ others looking backwards for instruction immagine [sic]
it will grow into sectarian despotism as other riligious [sic] organ-
-izations have almost invariably done before it. Now I think
this is rather assuming trouble that may never come, but
should it come, the renovating principle will again be at hand
to correct the evil so I will not worry myself about that but
rather look to present good and leave the rest for coming
generations to take care of for themselves. This I am satisfied of,
that in the union of congenial minds and feelings there is
comfort and profit in proportion as they are pure and elevated
in their character-
  Lo here comes a Note from J A Dugdale dated yesterday at
Milton requesting us to meet them at Hicksville 6th day evening.
they attended a large meeting at Ninepartners last first day
notice being given for several miles arround [sic] - says it went off well
yesterday they had an appointment at Marlboro
5th day morn the 4th I did not get my letter of yesterday so will add
a line this morning _ I suppose you have seen H.C. Wrights
new work - "The Science of Man", and what do you think of it?
Perhaps you may repeat the question_ Well, I think that Henry
one of the strong men of the age and that he is doing a great
work in his day _ he seems to have got upon a high hill and
to be becconing [sic] the rest of us onward and upward _ the
traditions of the Elders seem to have lost thier [sic] hold on him
and he goes forth unfettered by the superstitions of by-gone
days_ His book will have an effect I have no doubt. It is
though by some to be already quite discoverable in some of our-
late preaching tho' I did not hear it_ the preacher had seen the
book and appeared quite anxious to counteract the poison
-so I am told_ and I have no doubt it will afford some very
interesting Galery [sic] topics for some time to come_ Well, let the folks
think and things will work right in the end _ _
Rebecca joins me in love to you all as if named
                                                          J Ketcham

  Please write as often as convenient

About the Original Item

Internal Identifier
Post Collection
Item Type:
“Ketcham, John. Letter to Isaac Post.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed December 10, 2018,