Potter, Nathaniel Jr. Letter to Isaac Post.


Handwritten letter from Nathaniel Potter Jr. to Isaac Post, October 29, 1848.


October 29, 1848

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(Page 1)

Much Respected Friend –                      Terre _ Haute, -     Vigo Co. Ind. 10., 29., ’48
                                 This is the first time that I have felt like
writing to any of my Rochester friends and could do so, since I –
was with you – Therefore I need not be accused of neglecting duty
in this particular – But how shall I interest you. You have more than
heart could wish of the richest productions from the pens of those
who have superior advantages – and if I had reflected a little before
I took my pen to write, I believe I should not have undertaken. With the
exception of the Buffalo Freesoil Convention, I have not since at Rochester seen
a greater manifestation of talent than I did at the Womans rights con –
vention in the Unitarian Church while I was there. Indeed, being in
company with so much talent in female forms was calculated, (as
it did) to make me feel my own inferiority in the scale of intellect
It made an impression upon my mind which remains yet. Therefore it
must have had a salutary influence as it is good for us to be humble.
   And while I sympathise with all the reforms of the day; at
least, with all those which were denounced at the late Indiana yearly
meeting held at Waynesville O. such as Temperance, Abolition, nonresistance
and Womans rights – I have not faith to believe that they will get
all that they are asking for, either in my day or theirs. Not because
they can not get their rights if they will; but they will not take
the responsibility to act when they may – and it is the order of God that
^we^ must be faithful in the little before we are made rulers over much.
Like the sovreign [sic] people of our own sex in these United States, they
will find it easier to follow in the lead of those in power, than to be rid –
iculed for acting independently. How is it with regard to the question of free
l, which nearly all the voters profess to be in favour of? yet we
shall see a majority of those same sovreign [sic] people vote against it,
by voting for either Cass or Taylor, because they are made to believe that
in so doing they will be on the side of power. I hope the Empire State
will be an exception to this rule, and I did think when I was in Ohio,
that state would go for VanBuren, but I fear from late news that
Cass will take that noble state. But the Cass men there, declare against
the extension of slavery in New Mexico &. Californa [sic], and I think the freesoil
movement will prevent slavery there, tho’ it fails to elect V. Buren
and Adams. Joshua R. Giddings like Joshua of old, resolves that he
would be on the Lords side – while Thomas Corwin has become weary in well
doing; and sold himself to serve the Devil. You may have seen
in some of the Taylor Whig papers that – Friends did not know
how to vote until Corwin returned from Washington &. told them,
then they were ready to vote for Taylor – I have seen the like of that
if you have not, but having travelled through themparts [sic] more
than once this fall, I am satisfied there is no grounds for such a charg^e^
At any rate I saw ten young men all at one time, members of society
all of whom declared themselves in favour of VanBuren &. Freesoil
and nearly all of them lived in the same county with Corwin. No
doubt some in our society will vote for General Taylor, who declared
himself “proud to be the servant of the people of these United States, in the
late war with Mexico, and that he had only done his duty &c. No doubt some
in our society will be proud to vote for such a man for president, as
a reward for the great destruction of human life he has occasioned there.
But I trust the number is small. I have not in my travels found one
who would say to me that he would vote for General Taylor, either
orthodox or Hixite [sic] as they are called. ---

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To the contrary I often heard it remarked while travelling through
the state of Ohio, “This place will give a strong vote for VanBuren
because there are a great many Quakers here”. I was at Ohio Yearly
Meeting. There was preaching there against ^voters^ for Military chieftains; some
spoke against voting at all [especially those who voted for Henry Clay 4 yrs ago.)
and some thought we ought to vote against the extension of slavery
in New Mexico, &. Californa [sic] – but no one preached in favour of voting
for either Cass or Taylor. Among the ministers there from a distance
was Samuel Townsend of Baltimore, “a sharp threshing instrument.”
He neither meddled with politicks himself nor condemned those
who did. Friends there resolved on second day that no act should
pass that body to the wounding of any portion of its members.
some party spirit, is there as elsewhere in our society – but I think
they had a good yearly meeting – Their Epistle to Genesee Y. M.
I thought was excellent_ Tho’ close home to those out of the way, it
breathed the spirit of love, which I think must reach the witness
for truth, in some minds who have known better days, than when
they consented to have the living child divided, rather than humble
themselves to suffer wrong that it might live. I have none to accuse
and no party to serve in writing thus. _ for I was not present at the
last Genesee yearly meeting – yet it is clear to every experienced or
truely [sic] enlightened mind, that there must have been a great lack
of Christian humility to produce such a “Dividing in Jacob and
scattering in Israel.” (John Mott was verry [sic] sick the last
I Heard of him his, recovery doubtful.) “It is the true churches lot
to be persecuted. yet she never persecutes any.” And “if any live
Godly in Christ Jesus, such shall suffer persecution.” Near the commencement
of this letter, I have alluded to a dockument [sic] produced by the meeting for
sufferings, and ordered printed by Indiana yearly meeting. De –
nouncing the “Bablers [sic] about Temperance, Slavery, Non –
resistance, Womans rights” &c. It was painful to me to hear it read &.
it is painful to remark upon it. But since it will be made pub –
lick and was designed to be, by those in favour of its publica –
tion, it is due to Women Friends of Indiana yearly meeting to
say; they informed,[T]the men that they could not
write with its publication as it was, and proposed that it
be refered [sic] to a committee of Men &. Women friends. that
the objectional [sic] part might be corrected. But the men sent them
back word that “way did not open to do so.” What business have
women to do any thing but write with the men? But it was
was far from being unanimous among the men. Joseph
Mosier spoke against it before it went to the Women; and
verry [sic] few in favour of it. _ and many united with
the proposition from the Women: especially the young men
Lydia P. Mott was at Indiana Yearly meeting and spoke
on first day I think near half an hour, verry [sic] much to the
purpose I thought: tho’ she was interrupted by a friend near her,
asking, “if it would ‘not be well to give friends from a distance

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an opportunity to say something?” It did not greatly
disturb Lydia, tho’ she alluded to it, and signified that the
one talented servant had a duty to do, as well as those
who had more; and that she should have felt condemned
if she had not spoken. Separate from these little jars. the yearly
meeting was verry [sic] harmonious, and to me, satisfactory.
    I was at Joseph A. Dugdales about the time of the close
of Indiana yearly meeting. His mother had been verry [sic] low with
sickness but likely to recover. Greenplain Friends were about
organizing a yearly meeting. They were to commence yesterday
I believe. No doubt you will learn the result of their
deliberations before I do, as I expect to be several weeks in
this state, & then return that way to Columbus City, Ohio where
I shall be happy to hear from any of you that may have
time to write. Lydia P. Mott rode with me from yearly meeting
to Cincinnati, &. probably by this time is at Burlington N.J.
as she expected to start in a few days when I left Cincinnati
    I found Priscilla Hunt at her daughters, she had recovered
her health, and rode with me to Monthly meeting, to a
funeral &c. The divided state of society is painful to her. – She
did not feel herself at liberty to attend Indiana yearly meeting
this year, which she said was verry [sic] discourageing [sic] to her, as she
had previously felt a strong desire to attend. She also gave up
travelling through Illinois this fall. _
     There is not much of the Free Soil movement in the part of
the state I have passed thro’ (The south part) I have been in
this state nearly a month and have not in the time seen a
freesoil paper, except those I brought with me or had previous-
ly ordered sent here. _ Yet the Whigs go for Taylor as
freesoil men, and the Democrats for Cass with the same
pretensions. There are exceptions with regard to the Whigs –
for I found some who support General Taylor because
they are in favour of allowing slavery in New Mexico,
and Californa [sic] say that Thomas Jefferson was wrong
in originating the ordinance of 87,,:- but for that Indiana
and Illinois would have been slave states, and it was a pity they
were not.” This admirable logic I head [sic] at a Taylor Whig
tavern, where I stayed two nights in Petersburg Ind.
mostly settled by emigrants from Slave states. As I was about
starting – a man came near me and said he heard there was
a VanBuren man there. The Landlord told him I was the man.
I rejoined that I thought he might afford to give a fip for
the pleasure of seeing a VanBuren man in that place –
for when I was in the north part of Ohio I offered to give
a fip to see a Taylor man, and was in the state two weeks before
I found one ^this is the truth^. – But he was not in humour to relish a joke and

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evidently meant to abuse me. Denounced M. VanBuren in
the harshest terms and all his supporters – after ten or fifteen minutes
of warm debate I left_ he telling me if I was going to support
VanBuren there; I would get into difficulty. _ I smilingly
told him I was not scared: that any body that went
as well armed as I was had no occasion to be afraid
any where:- for I was armed with truth, and meant
to use every body well: and if any chose to abuse me, they
they were welcome to all the consolation they could get by it
for I should not scre [sic] them. It was unpleasant to
be in such company: But was favoured to “remember them
in bonds as bound with them.” and upon the whole
I felt thankful that I was there just as long as I was
But I concluded to put up at an other house
if I went there again, - as most likely I shall.
therefore I called at the Post-Office and
enquired if there was a tavern in the place
kept by a Democrat – They told me which it
was, and I remarked to them I should call
there next time, as they were a little too
Whiggish for me where I had just left. This
of course excited a little myrth ^mirthfulness^ and I left in
good spirits:- There is Freesoil men north of this,
but will not change the vote of this state
It will go for Cass.– “I reckon” Illinois will
do the same. Wisconsin for VanBuren and
Adams. Michigan doubtful, Newyork [sic]
and I hope Massachusetts, Vermont
Newhampshire [sic] &c. for VanBuren. No elec-
tion by the people.
    My health is good at present. Share my love
with enquiring friends -              Nathaniel Potter
Isaac Post –
       I am at my sisters four or five miles from town.
all well except her youngest son who is confined with fever –
I have filled a sheet and said but little _ but would be
thankful for a letter even if no better than this. I shall
probably write to Fred. Douglass to have his paper sent to
Columbus City Ohio, soon. You know I prefer his paper to Garrisons.

About the Original Item

Post, Isaac, 1798-1872
Internal Identifier
Post Collection
Item Type:
“Potter, Nathaniel Jr. Letter to Isaac Post.,” Post Family Papers Project, accessed December 11, 2018, https://rbsc.library.rochester.edu/items/show/6621.