• 13 Letters: Artemas Ward Great Grandson; Early Postal Markings; Presbyterian Church


    REV. CYRUS DICKSON, a Presbyterian Minister in Franklin, PA, was active in international missions. ARTEMAS WARD LAMSON (1830-1910), was the great grandson of Revolutionary War hero Artemas Ward. Lamson practiced law in Boston and was prominent in social, legal and religious circles.


    Offering a series of 13 letters, some of which take the reader into the school days of young Lamson as he receives instructions in his studies from his father. Others provide a look into the Presbyterian Church, which the Lamsons were apparently affiliated with. Dickson had an aggressive attitude about the church’s role to evangelize the world as evidenced by the sermon he delivered before the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church on May 6, 1866, at University Place in New York. Some background is included.


    The letters contain integral address leaves along with manuscript postage. Very nice Americana with wonderful early postal markings. A partial transcription follows. June, 20, 1841, 1 1/3 pp, R.W. Orr, ALS, to Dickson: “My object in writing now is to get the form of an application of the trustees of an academy to the state treasurer for an appropriation. I have understood that the academy in Franklin has been drawing for some time past from the state according to a certain law in reference to academics – I have thought that you would be able to get either from the Principal of the academy or the treasurer of the trustees the form of their application… December 16, 1847, Wheeling [VA, later W.VA.] name appears to be H.R. Ward to Dickson mentioning his sermon at the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Wheeling. “…You will have received a communication from our friends in South Wheeling…inviting you to come & cast in your lot with them in the enterprise of forming a 2d Presbyterian Church in this city…” March 4 (n.y.), Mercer, PA, 2 pp, Thomas Gauges, ALS, to Dickson: “…I received a long and very kind letter…on the responsibilities of entering the ministry which almost frightened me but did not deter me or make me give up…I felt sufficient unto my day, my strength would be seeing that God hath committed this great work to earthen vessels…I will not commence Greek before fall. I will teach and study. I am now helping Mr. Giffiths in the academy. This school amounts to fifty scholars now and some more coming in the next week – twenty-eight of these are in the languages. The people are much pleased with the school and Mr. Griffiths – At the close of the last quarter we had quite a fine exhibition…I heard you had a communion but did not hear the result. I hope there were many added…” January 13, 1861, 2 pp, Rev. Dickson, ALS, to Rev. Edgar Wood: “…I fully concur with you in the opinion that a full and free understanding ought to exist between a congregation & a minister….Then, there [is] no reason for dissatisfaction. Each then knows their duty and will be more likely to perform it…I have a word to say in regard to the aid from the Brady Missions. I would much prefer an application to the Church Extension Committee for assistance in building the house. It will be considered fair by the congregation…I am happy to assume that the objection you had anticipated did not & does not exist…My objections are two-fold. 1st from long experience (I should rather say observations), I find it very difficult to persuade a congregation to discontinue such aid, even when able. A congregation thus becomes accustomed to look abroad for aid instead of relying on its own…In enjoying in a new enterprise of this kind, I think it of great importance that it should commence right. My second objection is that the Presbyterians might not think it necessary to recommend the congregation for aid to the Board of Missions, & here the matter would have to end…” May 12 (n.y.), 3 pp, A. Lawson, ALS, to his son, Ward, speaking to the issue of Ward’s studies. In small part, “…I entirely approve of your selection of studies and will forward the note to the faculty before the end of the month…” Undated, 3 pp, A. Lawson, ALS, to his son, Ward, educational, in part, “…Milton in his ‘Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing,’ a grand publication. He says in one place, ‘And though all the winds of doctrines were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and her falsehoods grapple who ever knew Truth put to the worst, in a free and open encounter…’” May 21 (n.y.) 3 pp, A. Lawson, ALS, to his son, Ward educational and suggesting topics to study, in part, “I am a little surprised to know that they give you but four…to choose your subjects…It appears to me that the time is too short & gives you too little opportunity of reading. Here is a batch of subjects. If any one of them strikes your fancy, let me know & I will try to find something for you to read on it. “Value of Contemporary Criticism…Good article on this subject I the Retrospection Review. “Effect of the Multiplication of Books… “The Melancholy of genius… “I went to the Athenaeum [in Boston] today, found that they had removed the books from the new building. When they will return them again I do not know….” December 29, Dedham [MA], ALS to Ward, “I sent 7 collars to Boston for you yesterday…Shall you be at home next Sunday?...Lou has put up double windows and you will pronounce it too warm and all (but its distance from the village) is pleasant…


    Folds, toning, some bleed through, but generally in very good condition. Splendid Americana with wonderful early postal markings.


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