Serjeant Family Letters Transcribed

Thanks to generous funding from the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, the Serjeant Family Letters (1769-1840) have now been digitized and transcribed. This collection offers insight into the life of a Loyalist family in the years leading up to and following the Revolutionary War. The letters, transcribed below, illuminate the connections between family and religion and shed light on colonial New England’s involvement in slavery.

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Winwood Serjeant (19 January 1769)

My Dear Sistr Rogers.

I am going to present you with a curious sort of a
Letter. — A chuckle head of a fellow came to
our house last night to get some intelligence of
Lake Superior, where he is going soon you must
know, star gazing. He thought we could give
him some general account from what we might
have heard you speak of it; but as we could not
answer many of his very important questions,
desired us to write instantly, & beg all ye in-
formation you or your friends could give relative
to its situation & precise distance from Michela-
macanak &c &c. — To be serious: the case is this.
The famous Dr Fanklyn has wrote to Mr. Winthop
recommending it to [^] him to [^] repair to Lake Superior, in
order to take a more accurate observation of
Lady Venus’s transit, or passage, over the Disk, in
plain English over the face of his high Majesty
the Sun: particularly to remark her Ladiship’s motion
& behavior, whether she (ogles) his majesty in

(page two)

Her passage, being a lady, in the days of yore, as
famous for her amorous intrigues, as for her beauty
of which her ladiship had the title of the Goddess. _
Excuse this excursion : — Mr Winthrop’s infirm state
of health not suffering him to undertake so long a
journy, & which may be attended with fatigue, hunger
& watching, has prudently deputized the Son of Judge
Danforth for the observator of his most rare Pho-
nomenon that is to be exhibited in the heavens on
Saturday 3d June the current year at 5 OClock exactly
This uncommon —rary-show—not to be seen again
by mortal eyes for this hundred years to come.
This Young Gentle man will think himself under
vast obligation [^] for any information [^] you can give him of this
said Lake.
—What is its distance from Mechelamacenak?
more particularly – what is its commonly computed longi-
tude from London? – what latituted? exactly.
Is it commonly & safely passable by boats? The young
Gentleman would not be drowned for all the Venus’s
on Earth. – Are there any settlements at or near
the Lake? Be they French, English, or Indians?

(page three)

He has no inclination to be knocked on the head –
to be scalped, – to be starved, – to be devoured
by tygers & bears, for all the shows in the
Heavens. — Am just recovered of a violent
cold . Mr Borland is now stept in to see me
must leave off before I intended.
pray tell my dear Mam: that I wrote a letter
for her by Master Haven, but went away
without it. — Polly joins me in {…}
Duty & affection to Father & Mo {…}
self & am my Dearest

Yrs most Afftly
W. Serjeant.

Jany 18th 1769

PS Beg you to satisfy this Gentleman as far as
lies in yr power & soon

(page four, address)

Mrs Eliz Rogers
At Portsmouth
New Hampshire

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Winwood Serjeant (6 April 1772)

My Dear Sister
Your letter was extremely agreeable:
I began to be very anxious about Dear
Mother. Capt Hunt gave Bradford a most
melancholy account of her indeed. It gave
me vast satisfaction that you spoke more
favourably of her declining state of health
than I expected: pray Heaven preserve her
& grant us the happiness of seeing her next
month at Cambridge: gentle exercise &
change of air might be of service: riding
always agrees with her. — Did you ever
know a longer or severer Winter?I never
saw any thing like it in my life. Your
Sister as well as myself was very sorry we
could not have the pleasure of [^] yr [^] cheerful
company this gossiping time. The little fel-
low (by the way, I hope my Letter giving an
account of him the beginning of last month

(page two)

came to hand, it lay at Hopkins’s above a
week, who promised to send it by Noble) The
little fellow, as I was going to tell you, was
christened yesterday by the name of Marma-
duke Thomas. Col. Vassall & Lady & Mr Inman
stood for him: had a most superb Hang Out
In the evening — the Bill of Fare — 2 Roast
chicken at the head, 2 Ducks at the bottom.
[^] cold Tongue Mince pies [^] surrounded with Cranberry Tarts,
preserved peaches, Quincies, Apples, walnuts,
chestnuts, pickles &c &c &c – Who supped with us
did you ask? I’ll tell you: the pretty little
dapper man Col: Oliver & his great fat Lunch
Col: Phips & his sharp Nose. Greasy Sides Mrs Borland
her sly boots of a husband was in Boston. Inman
could not stay the Evening nor his crooked rib ven-
ture out for fear of being cast away upon a snow-
bank. — Poor John Apthorp & his Lady ‘tis
Apprehended they are certainly lost in

(page three)

Their passage from New York to North
Carolina: they have not been heard of these
Five months: terrible loss to the family –
What adds to the old Lady’s mortification
Billy Apthorp youngest son is married to a
Nasty dirty drabble tail stromp whom his
Mother [^] bro’t [^] up in Charity. — Pray make our
warmest acknowledgements of Duty & respect
to Dear Father & Mother & pray Heaven
bless them wth health & Sprits & grant us
a happy sight of them at Cambridge next
month. Are sorry Mrs Livermore is so
much out of order & wish the recovery of
her health. Heaven give health & happiness
to my Dear Sister Rogers. Polly was much disap-
pointed at your not coming, begs you to renew
your promise within a short date, you possess
a very large share of her affection & not less
of the esteem of your affectionate friend
& Brother
W. Serjeant

April 6th 1772

(page four, address)


Mrs. Rogers – –

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Winwood Serjeant (4 January 1773)

Dear Sister

I left your House in a
distressful situation & indeed felt much
for you all. I hope poor father is
relieved in health & spirits: If the
Doctors are to be relied on, his back
I should hope must near be healed
up & that he has been able to get
down stairs by this time. As to Dear
Mother no great alteration can be
expected in her favour: Heaven bless
her with peace & comfort so long as
she is preserved to us. We are got
into our new house: moved the day
after I arrived at home & seem to like

(page two)

it pretty well: it is more convenient
& much warmer than the other
house: We do not yet make use of the
new apartments, the plaster is not
thoroughly dry. I was greatly sur-
prised to see Mr Badger Christmes
morning: He told me that he was
under an absolute necessity of being
at Boston at that time, attending
some Law suit respecting his Wife’s
fortune; of which he assured me
he had wrote Mr Trayle word that
it was not in his power to be at Port-
smouth Christmas Day. Poor little
Poll & Duke too, have both got sad
colds, but I hope they will soon wear

(page three)

I know you can have little time to
spare from your kind attendance on
poor father & mother together, but as
often as you conveniently can, you will
oblige us with an account of their health
Polly joins me in the highest affection
& tender wishes to both, with k {…}
{…} yourself, to sistr Livermore & f {…}
Pray Heaven bless you all with many
happy new Years — I am, my Dear Sister
your most affect friend &
Brother W. Serjeant

Little Poll sends love to Cozn Atty

Jany 4th 1773

(page four, address)

To —
Mrs Rogers
at Portsmouth in
Newhampshire :

J{…} 1773 (upside-down, in pencil)

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Winwood Serjeant (21 May 1774)

My Dear Sister —

I have the pleasure to
Send you this by a new Brother Clergiman, Mr
Parker- he arrived from England last monday.
He informs me he was disappointed of the
pleasure of seeing Brother Peter, that he & his
family were gone to Minorca, & had brought
your letter to Peter back with him. Tuesday
morning last I met with Doctr Whitworth
who had received a Letter from his son in
London (by whom you sent a little pacquet,)
informing his father of Peter’s departure;
that he was at a loss what to do with this
pacquet ,& wanted to know whether he should
send it back to you, or whether you would run
the chance of his care in sending it by some
private hand to Ireland, if so, to inform him
whom he should direct it to: I know not how
to advise you, but would rather think & so does your
sistr that it would be safer to order them back

(page two)

& wait till your Brother’s return to England
I am sorry to find by your last that you are so
highly disgusted at the sight of men: I own
you have had bad luck with some of our
Sex: but my Dear Soul! be not impatient, trust
in a kind providence, I hope in God things may
have a turn to your better satisfaction & com-
fort. — I am very sorry for Christian — a most
improper name for him — his scandalous beha-
viour: he has taken lodgings with his dirty Jade
in a publick house in Charles town, & frequent
ly passes thro’ Cambridge with her in a chaise.
She will soon become—poor Creature! a
common prostitute in Boston. My people
seem no ways disposed to favour my inclina-
tion of coming to Portsmouth, unless I could get
someone to supply my pulpit, which is no
easy matter, there are so few of us: the
parish must therefore excuse me, it is not

(page three)

want of inclination to oblige them, especial-
ly as it would give us the happiness of seeing
my dearest sister, & rendering her any little
pleasure & comfort our mutual affection
might give. Polly longs to see you as well
as myself. We wish you could contrive mat-
ters so as to come to us this summer, if it
was only for a week. Your church have
now an opportunity of engaging with Doctr
Byles & supplying it immediately if they please.
the Society have granted him leave to re-
move with his salary wherever he chooses
Pray remember us most kindly to Mr & Mrs
Pinhallow, Doctr Brackett & all enquiring
friends, especially to poor little Atty; & accept,
my Dearest Sistr, of the sincerest affection

From yr friend & Bro:

21st. May – 1774

(page four)

1774 (in pencil)

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Winwood Serjeant (15 June 1774)

Cambridge June 15th 1774
My Dearest Sister

Your Letters always give me pleasure,
for I feel a tender concern for your hap
-piness & welfare: It is a blessing you are possessed
of so much prudence, for your circumstances in
life require it all, & I hope will enable you to
surmount all difficulties. You informed me
that Mr Whipple had bought poor Father’s house,
but forgot to tell me for how much; I hope to a
reasonable advantage, otherwise the Executors
would not have consented, let Mr Livermore
have been ever so hasty. It is not easy for me
to advise you whether you [^] shou’d [^] resign the House
before your time is up: that must depend on
the offer Whipple makes you & the advantages
you may reap by continuing in it. You have
never yet informed us of the disposal of the
household goods; what they fetched: should be
glad to know what Debts are brought in against

(page two)

the Estate. — You forgot to tell me in
your last what answer I was to return to
Doctr Whitworth concerning the little
packet that was sent by his Son to Brother
Peter; should wish for your direction on that
head as soon as may be. I am sorry you have
received no satisfactory accounts from Major
Rogers: I don’t wonder in the least at your re-
sentment at his most imprudent behaviour.
& ill treatment of you; I cannot help wishing
myself that he may never trouble you more,
unless under serious conviction of his past
folly & a happy reformation. I was much
concerned to hear that poor Jess was sent
away to the West Indies: What distress of mind
must the poor creature have felt to throw
himself over board! What would our tender
-hearted father & mother have thought of us
all! A poor, old, faithful slave that had

(page three)

lived so long in the family! I cannot help
thinking that it was hard, cruel, not to say
criminal: Your sister was greatly affected at
it indeed: & must own, had I known anything
of an intention would have done any
thing for the poor fellow rather than he
should have been sent off the Countrey: sure
I am your compassionate disposition had
no hand in it: God rest his Soul. — I was
vastly disappointed at not meeting with Bass
at home & much more so when I heared
that you were at Newbury a few hours before
my arrival: had I been any ways certain of
your return so soon, should have stayed the
wednesday over; for I wanted greatly to see you;
have so much to say to you: & rejoice that you
give us some encouragement of seeing you
this summer at Cambridge: I fear it will not

(page four)

be in our power to come to Portsmouth; Your
Sister seems fearful of trusting the baby so far, she
is amazingly fond of it as bearing the strongest re
semblance of poor Father that a child can be
supposed; for my own part, prudence & the love
of peace makes me unwilling to give my parish
the least room of complaint, otherwise I should be
glad to spend a Sunday at Portsmouth, if it was
only to see my Dear Sister. — Mrs. Phenton paid us
a short visit yesterday morning & expressed her
concern that you did not treat her like an old ac-
quaintance, seldome saw you but upon a formal
invitation, & wished you were more assured of her
friendship from the regard she ever retained for the
family & missed poor Father in the Town very much.
Boston is in a terrible situation, & will be much more
so if they do not submit to Government before the
Fall: the poor will be most miserably distressed,
& the Town must be absolutely ruined. I have
not room to add a line more except to express our
earnest wishes of seeing you soon, & that Heaven wo’d
bless you wth all peace & happiness. I am my Dearest
yrs most afftly W. Serjeant.

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Winwood Serjeant (17 October 1774)

Cambridge Oct. 17 – 1774
My Dear Sister.

Your letter of the 26th September
by Mr Dickenson I met with last thursday acci-
dentally in Watertown: I have not had the
opportunity of seeing that gentleman & know
not where he lives, or should have been glad
to have returned him the civility for the
politeness with which he treated you. Your
other Letter of the 13th of Octobr came to hand
yesterday morning at Church: I shall answer
them both in one. I was sorry to see in your
first Letter such an oppression of spirits upon
your return home: that Portsmouth should
become disagreeable to you is not to be won-
dered at; the people’s ingratitude toward your poor
Father’s memory, & the little notice they take
of his children is enough to wean your affections
from them: but my Dear Sister, keep your cou-
rage & endeavor to make yourself easy till the
Spring, it will be difficult for you to think of
moving before then, as you have laid in your

(page two)

wood & other articles for the winter, which you
would not perhaps be able to dispose of without
loss to yourself. There is no house to be had in
Boston for love or money: the troops & the tories
that are dayly coming in there for refuge croud
the whole Town. The provincial Congress that
met last week at Concord is adjourned to meet
at Cambridge this day, between three & four hun-
dred people & will be here for a fortnight or
more: their resolves run so high that something
dreadfull is soon expected at Boston: They insist
upon the General’s levelling the works on the
Neck, otherwise the Country will come in to
demolish them. God only knows what may be
the event of this rashness if it should take place,
which many are strongly apprehensive of,
tho’ for myself I can hardly believe they would
attempt it. — I am sorry you are to lose Mr Pepl
this winter, I would not advise you to let him
have Pomp for less than 50£ Sterling, he is cer-
tainly worth that, I could sell him for you to a

(page three)

Carolinian for 10£ or 20£ pounds more. As to Whipple
I would not trouble my head about him, he cannot
molest you till June; if he would make you
an offer of a Year’s rent for quitting the house
I would recommend it to you to lodge with some
decent family for this winter: by ye Spring I
hope times will be altered for the better, & we
may be able to find some snug place for you
in Boston. Mrs Troughtbeck was mentioning to
your Sister a small tenement adjoining to their
house with a small kitchen, parlour & four
chambers, that their tenant now living there
had droped some intention of leaving the
house, if so, Trought said you might have
the house if you liked it, I think it was about
15£ sterling a Year; they have been since
spoke to but have no intention of resigning
up the house. Pinhallow might not appear
to be affronted before you but his Letter to
me speaks otherwise. I wish Livermore
may be right in his opinion that the loss

(page four)

of the money must be made good to us. Certain-
ly I should be glad of the Money that the Exe-
cutors were able to advance & if you would
inform me of the time I would endeavor to
[^] come to [^] Portsmouth before the winter sets in, it will
be impossible for your Sister to come down,
the weather is too uncertain to trust the
baby. I have seen Christey but once, a day or
two after his return from Salem. I shall
make it my business to call upon him to
morrow. We were glad to hear Peter & Atty
were well, beg our kind love to them: tell
Atty I will write to him very soon. Doctor
Whitworth expects his Son very early in the
Spring, & as you desired me, begged him to direct
his Son to bring the pacquet back with him.
I have not room to add more than your
Sister’s most affectionate love & tenderness
for you as well as of your sincere friend
& Brother
W. Serjeant

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from (an Serjeant?) (13 February 1775)

Dear Madam

Having done your appron I take this opportunity by my
papa to Send it to you an wish it may Suite you as
it was old and want worth no more worke but if you
will get a new one this Summer I will worke it hansom
For you Such a one as I am now Working for mama.
Camp has not bin here Since you went Home but wee dont
Regret his loss For we have much [genteler swots?] in his
Room Mr Stedmun an mr [graves?] Chaplin an
nephew of the admiral whoe cum an spend whole
weeks at a time I dont no what will Become
us these hard time Captin hartwell Says wee must Cum and Stay
aBoard his Ship which papa is now chaplin of wee wont
to See you very much but I am A Fraid you will [?]
nother rivel in the way [with?] with preaching an them Black
Eyes of mr Stedmans kills all that comes near him but however
I wish you would com For it will impossible for mama to
com down to See you as Betsy is not [wende?] an I believe in my
[?] heart she never will be but that dont hindder her
from Being at Mr Inmans an the widow Vassels every day
till ten a clock at night She does but Sleep
at home

(page two)

She Says [?] She wonts you to com to go in her
Room Sometimes but I dont believe that So you must
excuse the bad writing for tis so cold mama desirs
me to [erased] Remember her kind love an affections
to you an compliments to miss [Fenton?] an Docter Bracket
So no more from your ever affectionate an Sincer
an Dutiful neice an Serjeant

February [yr?] 13 1775

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Mary Browne Serjeant (28 September 1780)

Dear Sister

Doubtless but you thought
me unkind of quiting Boston without writing
you but hope your goodness will forgive
me when I inform you that time would
not permit me to do as I realy wisht but
With Mr Sarjeants illness & the other necessary
preparations my time was fully employd:
I am much obliged to your good Husband
for his kind attention to me & my family
for which please to give him my gratefull
thanks when you write to him, I had a very
fatagueing Voiage to England, but was very
kindly received by all My friends in Bristol
they had procured Lodgins in Bath to which
place I immeditly set out for & when I had
fixt Mr Sarjeant in a family I set out for
London which pleace I saw your Brother
he is married & as got 5 Children, I likewise
saw Col. Williamson & General Williamson
& your Brother Peters Widdow all who rec’d
me kindly, your [?] sister [Stloo?] as left
Three Children

(page two)

The eldest of which I had some little lark with
me but she is now gon to her Uncle in London
I presented a petition to Lord George Germain
but did not recev any redress from him or
any one else but was in great hopes they
Would have considered my situation but it did
avail anything, I then return to Bath & found
Mr Sarjeant much the same & had indeed
but little hopes that Bath would restore his
former Health though he eat & [seleept?] well
I have meet with great civilities in this place
from strangers as well as my kind Country
folks soon after the Children had the Measles
& my little boy had them the worst & never
got the better of it & last June deprived me
of him, which my Dear Sister well knows
must be agreat trouble to me, thank god
the [^ ? ^] other Children got well but still to add to
my misfortunues poor Mr Sarjeant wast
taken with a fit on Thursday last & died
last Saturday night in loosing him I loose
a dear friend, & not only that but half my
support unless through friends the Society
continue the income to me but I fear I shall
not be so lucky to get it continued to me & I am
advised now to make a further petetion

(page three)

to [Lor?] George Germain which I intend to do
& unless I succeed I shall be very badly of, as
you are too well acquainted with the expense
of a family to want that knowledge repeated
I shall now be obliged to quit House keeping
& retire to the Country for cheapness my
Niece Bonear, (her name was Smith before
she married) as written me to Come to Herdfo
ddnest in South Wales I have answerd her
letter to send me word what I can be at
that place for & if its more reasonable
shall go there, I realy wish much to see you
as I have ten thousand things to say & con-
sult you about, I hope my Aunt Gardner is
well when you write please to give my Duty
& the Childrens love as well as to all other
friends in Boston Portsmouth I take the oppor
tunity by this of writing your Sister, I sinerly
Hope your little boy is well, I think you
would do well to go to new york to Col. Rogers
if its only for Education for my Nephew I
corrospond with Aurther Brown as he repeatedly
wrote you but never had any answer from
you he is much distrest about his Fathers
Picture as nothing could eaquel the pleasure
he would receive in haveing it & you have
two small Cups which might be sent with it

(page four)

he does not care so much for those as his
Fathers picture, my brother (??) in London wishes
much for his Fathers & Mothers pictures
likewise the Widdow wishes to have her Hus-
bands, if you think you can with safety
send them would wish you to send them
to Bristol for me to the care of Mr Thos
likewise please to direst your letters there
my sincere love & Respects to Mrs Bradford
the dificulty of your or theirs geting my letters
prevents my writing her, but shall if posible
be glad to hear of yours & their Healthes
which pleasure nothing this side the grave
can eaquel to me please to accept my
love likewise give the same to your good
Husband & the Dear Child [crossed out] & your Sister
with me my little Girls Join with their
Duty to their Aunts & Uncle & Cousin & I am
my Dear Sister Ever affectionate Sisr

M- Sarjeant
Bath Sepr 28th 80

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Mary Browne Serjeant (1 June 1784)

Bath June 1th 1784
Has my Dearest Sister at last found an opportunity
to write to me in the absence of five year, indeed my dear Betsy I did
not neglect you but wrote several times to you and Mrs Livermore, but
was uncertain whether you got them as I did not hear from you. I
was so rejoiced upon receiving yours that I even shed tears to find
you had not forgot a Sister you once loved, which I had not so much
feeling and Affection for my Friends I should avoid a great deal of trouble
and anxiety. I found my Dr Brother here upon my arrival & he has
done everything in his power to serve me he is a Major in the same
Regiment he was in and is married to an Irish Lady, and has six
lovely Children, four Boys and two Girls, Tommy, Arthur, Duke,
and Adam Williamson. Ann, and Betsy, I have been at their house
five or six weeks when they lived in London, they now live at
Biddeford I heard from him the other Day he said he was just
going to write you, begs you will send his father and Mothers
and Peters Pictures to Bristol, and direct them to me and then he will
get them, you can at the same time send duks for his son is always
writeing to me about it, he is a fine Young Man and Member for
Dublin College and always Inquires when I hear from you.
Maria Ashenhurst Daughter of your Sister St loe lives with your
Brother, a fine Girl she is and very like her Mother, she is Sixteen
Year old this Month, and you remember how Handsome Nancy
was at that Age, Betsy her Sister lives in Dublin with Mrs

(page two)

Lawson; Ned her Brother is gone to the East Indies with Arasmas
Gore, which you must remember at Portsmouth he is Captain of a
Man of war, [pe?] promised to be kind to the Boy for old acquaintance
sake. poor Nancy died of a decline in Bristol and is buried at the
hot Wells. My Dear Peters Widow lives at Greenwich in London,
he left a son and Daughter, George Williamson and Mary Ann,
I suppose you have heard that the Old General is Dead and left all
to his son Adam I see him before he died, had my Dearest Duke
lived he would have given him a Commission but he is better provided
for, I could have wished had it pleased the Almighty to have spared
him to me, he was a fine Child and his Death much lamented
by all who know him, God knows it was a sore trial to me to part with
him, and my dear Mr Serjeant within three Months of one another,
they both lay in one Grave, I often go and cry over them, O, my Dr
Betsy, what would I not have given to have had a Dr Sister or a Friend,
or even A Common Acquaintance, No, even that was Denied me,
but I had the best of Friends left who I was unmindful of which
was the Great & [^] good [^] God; he has been A Husband to me, and a
Father to my Children, he will never leave me nor forsake me while I put
my trust in him, had it not been for him I could not have been
supported till this time, O, my Dr Betsy you do not know half the troubles
and Fatigues I have gone through, in besieged towns, Shipwrecked
hunger and Cold often, thank God my too little Girls are well are
very good, this is the Youngest Writing, I give them as good an
Education as my small Income will admit of which is a hundred
a Year, I sent out a power of Attorney to Mr Parker and Mr

(page two)

Lowell twoo years ago, and I think as you do that Parker dont
trouble himself about it, which Mr Livermore would be so kind
as to mention to Mr Lowell about Penhallow. the Gentleman
yours came by I never saw or should have Answer’d yours
Immediately, do my Dr Betsy write soon & often as you have no
excuse now as their is and Intercourse between the two Countrys, am
glad Mr Roche behaves kind do you if he does now I never will
acknowledged him as a Brother, {…}
Colonel Rogers is living, he is here poor Man and in the Fleet
which I am heartly sorry for, Give my Affectionate Love to my
Dr. Jenney and all the Family, wish she would favor me with a
line. Parker wrote me word that Aunt Gardener left her
whole [Estate?] to you and Jenny, and cut me off with a {…}
much I care, I did more for her than she deserved tho she
was my Aunt, I suppose Crisy and she drank it out she did
not like me because I would not keep Company with her low
Acquaintance, low Company is the ruin of every body. I think
I have wrote you every particular I can recollect my Pen and
paper tells me tis time to make an end.
The Children join with me in Affectionate Love to
you and their Cousins, Especially Atty Rogers who you
say no more of than that he sends his Duty and love, I
should be very Angry if any other Children should
put him out of favor, & I am my Dearest
Dr. Sister Your tender Affectionate Sister
And Sincere Friend. Mary Serjeant.

My address is Mrs
Serjeant Barton Buildings
to the Care of Miss Pember
Church Yard Bath

(page four, address)

Mrs. Eliza Roche
To the Care of Samuel Penhallow Esqr
Portsmouth State of New Hampshire
New England

North America

[includes other postmarks and notations]

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Mary Browne Serjeant (3 October 1785)

Bath October 3d 1785

My Dearest Dr Sister.

I had just wrote by the
Pacquet to abraid you for not Writting, when in pop’s
your letter upon me dated Febry 27th, I think you make a
poor excuse your living in the Country that you dont
write oftener, I should think your it would not be
any difficulty in sending Letters to Boston or
Portsmouth, its much greater to me to send letters to
you, who I am obliged to send them a Hundred & eight
Milkes to be put on board the Pacquet, and pay two
and tenpence [^] sterling [^] for every letter, before it leaves the
Kingdom, for Bath is an Inland City a place of no
Trade, but pleasure & dissipation, where all the Nobility
resort, to drink the Waters and Game, it is impossible
for me to describe the grandeur and Beauty of the
Place, I can scarce go out without treading upon
a Duke or a Duchess, and I had the Honor of setting
by the Duke of Cumberland in the pump Room,
he is very like diddlety dan Phillips. The King &
the Royall Family’s persons, are as familliar to me,

(page two)

As any people in Boston. — We may be as good in this
Place as in Any part of the World, as there is fourteen
Churches, besides a number of Chapels belonging to Lady
Huntingdon, and but one filthy Meeting House, that I
know off; I have been at most of the Churches but now
Walcot I constantly go too, being the nearest where I have
one of the uppermost seats opposite the pretty Minister,
for you know I was always fond of a black coat, he is
a Batchelor and we are very great. Mary & Eliza
would send had they an opportunity, to Arthur Rogers
& Betsy Livermore, some little pictures of some parts
of Bath. Mary is grown a fine tall genteel Girl,
with a neck like her Aunt Saintloe, and a skin like
an Alabaster. but Eliza is lke my Dr Dr Father,
so much that every body that knew him knows her to
be one of the Family, am glad to hearr yours are such
fine Children, hope they will be as good as they are
handsome and live to be a blessing and a comfort to
you, but I think the beauty must come from the
browne side. — My Dr Betsy my Love still continues for
you and my Relations as [^] strong as [^] ever, it makes me very happy
to hear you are so comfortably settled in such an agreeable
Neighbourhood wish I was with you all, to renew the happy

(page three)

Hours I have spent, but that is a blessing I must not expect
to enjoy, as I am growing older every day, and you know this
Life is but a span, and I am tired to death of rambling about
the World, besides I have nothing to live on in that country
should I leave this I should lose my pension from
Goverment, and perhaps what Mr Serjeant left me, for the
Tenants are but ill pay Masters now I am on the spot [^] & I [^] could not
think of Coming to be a burden to you, there is another material
thing that of crossing the great Ocean again, it would cost me at
least a hundred guineas, could I come to you by land I would not
hesitate a moment. My Dr {…} tes nutt {…}
I think {…} ume on wond [{…}
Indite, for Bess is my {…} was surprised {…} hearing
Ned Livermore was Married, why he was quite a Boy the
other Day, I give him Joy hope he will make a good Husband,
My Love to him and and my Neice, tho I have not the pleasure
of knowing her nor even her Name. Young Coffin is in England
I have not seen him yet let me hear from you by every opportunity
& send me all the News you can collect, as I have you. – – The Children
join with me in Affectionate Love to Mr Livermores Family,
& yours. I remain my Dearest Betsy your very sincere Friend,
And most truly Affectionate
Sister. Mary Serjeant

P.S. I have just had a letter
from Mrs Shopland, she desires her
Love to you and would be glad to
hear [^] from [^] you, she is a woman of
good sense, her address is Mrs Mary
Anne Shopland Bideford, Devonshire.

(page four)

I heard Mr or Mrs Inman was dead
Let me know which it is. —

Mrs {…} beth Roche
In Concord {…} re of Samuel
Penhallow E {…} Portsmouth
State of {…} mpshire New

To go by the Pacq {…}
North America

[includes other postmarks and notations]

Letter to Elizabeth Browne Rogers Roche from Mary Browne Serjeant (30 April 1789)

April 30th. 1789.

What shall I say to my ever Dearest Sister
as an excuse for not making an earlier reply to
her most Affectionate Letter, which is now before
me & with shame do I behold it dated the 20th
Of May 88, but I will leave it to the natural
goodness of your /kind heart which I am convinced will
plead much stronger in my behalf than any thing
I can commit to paper, O’ that it were but —
Possible that I might be transformed into this letter
while you are perusing it, that I might have the
unspeakable happiness of once more beholding you &
being held in your beloved Arms from which I am
cruelly separated, & am too apprehensive ever shall
be Oh’ distracting thought must we never see one-
another more, I can bear it no longer excuse me
my Dear Betsy I must vent my Grieff,
——— being a little more composed I resume my
Pen or rather your name sake does who is my —
Clark. one excuse I have for not writing to you
before, which is that the Person you sent your letter by
Mr Harris never came to Bath, [crossed out]
for it was handed to Mr. Peters in London by the post,
who sent it to me enclosed in a Letter, saying at the
same time it had no cover when he received it, therefore

(page two)

as I did not see the person I could not Write by him —
agreeable to your request. — this accompanys a letter to
President Sullivan, to whom I have sent a power of Attorney
(which you have long desired me to do) to act as a joint
Agent with Mr. Lowell of Boston in regard to recovering
those Debts which are owing me in America, I think I
need not desire you my Dr Sister to use your interest
with the President I am fully convinced you will. ——
I should have appointed Mr. Livermore in the room of
Mr. Lowell, but having wrote several times to Sister L. –
& never receiving any Answer, concluded that neither of
them had any inclination to serve me, therefore I shall
consider you as my only Sister, happy am I in having
so good a one which makes up in every respect the loss
of the other. — As to Atty Browne he is most undeserving —
your regard, he has behaved to me in a most shameful
manner, abused me & said my Misfortunes had driven me
Mad, & in pity to my weakness he desired no more of my
impertinence, lest he should say something which he would
not wish too as being his fathers Sister: this was 3 years
ago & I have never heard from him since, but through
Nancys Youngest Daughter who is here with me, & writes
continually to him but seldom receives more than one
Letter a Year from him so you must not complain
who are at so great a Distance. – His Wife is dead &
has left him a little Girl who is now two Years old
her Name is Mary & to be sure by his Account of
her there were never was such another. If my poor Dear
Brother Duke could have known the treatment I have
Received from his Son he would not suffered him to live
but in consequence of your Letter wherein you were so
anxious to hear from him & to know why he had given

(page three)

his share to Ned Livermore, I desired Eliza to write to
him & after a long time she got an Answer he said
[crossed out] he had such a Multiplicity of Business
On his Hands & was so hurry’d that he had hardly
time to eat his Meals, or even to breathe but [^] I [^] fancy
it was want of inclination more than anything else
he likewise said that he had not given his part
to Ned, but that he desired him to get it for Arthur.
that was the purport of his Letter, & if it was so. —
Ned is a vile wicked young Man, & I have not any
opinion of him, for defrauding his own Cousin tho’ it
was but a triffle yet it would been off Service to
my Dr Arthur, for whom I have a most sincere regard
& he could not possibly oblige me more than by
sending me a copy of my (Dearest & best of) fathers —
Picture, as I have lost the loved original all I can
have now is his resemblance, which will be doubly
dear to me as it comes executed by the hand of my
sweet Arthur, who I hope will not delay sending it
his Cousins beg me to assure him that they will
take a singular pleasure in Answering his letters
if he will but write; he certainly can spare a few
Minutes if it is only to tell us how he is —
poor Mary has not nor I am affraid never [^] will [^] get the
better of those fits she has them very frequently &
very severe that her Nerves are agitated for a long
time after, & it has incapacitated her [^] so [^] that she is not
capable of affording me the least Assistance in respect
to working or looking after the House which would ——
take a great deal of trouble off my hands but Betsy
[crossed out] [^] will soon [^] take that office upon herself [crossed out]

(page four)

you must not expect Mary to write, but her Sister
will for her, if you desire Atty to do so — which will give
us all great satisfaction. I doubt not [^] but [^] that he will
in time be an honour to his family. — — —
we have been very near loseing our Dear & only
Brother, he was given over by the Physicians for
a long time as incurable, with the Gout in his
Stomach, & was so near dying that he sold out
not expecting to live a moment, but very fortunately
for him [crossed out] when he recovered [crossed out]
[crossed out] [^] his commission [^] had not gone through the usual form
which is necessary before it could / take place, or otherwise
it would have been irrecoverable. but thanks to the
Almighty Power above who has throu’ his unlimited
goodness restored him again to our ardent Prayers
& he is now reinstated as a Major & enjoys a
good State of Health, he is in Dublin & has got a
number of Children deserving of a better Mother
as he is of a Wife, I shall name them by senior-
ity in case I should forget how many he has —
1st then Tom, Arthur, Ann, Duke, Betsy, Adam,
Launcelot, Peter, & by August we may expect another
as she is far advanced in her pregnancy. — — —
they have Williamson tacked to almost everyone of
their names, Adam is named after the present Colonel
who is his God father. — — you see I have most
filled one Sheet of paper, & am in a fair Way
to fill another, but shall rely on your patience to
proceed [crossed out] as we so seldom hear from one another
think a long Letter very acceptable at least it is so to me
as it is the only consolation I have when separated from those I love —

(page five)


I now begin my most Dear Sister my second Sheet
& with pleasure inform you that you may rest
contented respecting Rogers, as he is very secure in the
Kings Bench, from which he will not very soon
be released he is allowed a Guinea per Day & a Gallon
of Rum a Week, upon which he might live very genteely
& save something besides to pay his Debts, but he is grown
so compleat a Sot, that he spends every farthing
(Except what will barely keep him alive) for Liquor &
would if it was ten times as much, as he never takes
of his Cloaths but if the hinder part of his Hat
(which he constantly wears) happens in his sleep to turn
before, so it Remains the whole Day & so he goes on the
rest of the Year, People imagine his insides are lined
with Copper indeed it is very natural to suppose so —
From the Quality he drinks.— — necessity obliged me 3
years ago to go up to London being called upon by the
commissioners to sware to my claim of Losses in America
which I had some time before sent in, & my Daughter
that is now writing being in a very ill state of Health
I took her up with me in hopes she would find benefit
by the excursion I then had some thoughts of going to see Poor
R-g-rs for I really have an Affection & feeling for him, but
was dissuaded from it by Mr. Peters who said the sight
would be too much for & besides if he knew where I
resided he would certainly take this first opportunity of

(page 6)

coming to me, & be perpetually tiezing me with letters. therefore
I declined it knowing Mr. Peters to be too good a friend of mine
not to give me the best advice he was master off, which I have
always found of service to me, & can truly say I should not
[crossed out] received one farthing from Government, had it not
been for the good counsels & assistance of the above most
worth Character, which deserves the highest gratitude from
me & I hope I shall always have sufficient to acknowledge
it. I was at his house while I remained in London
& very often visited the Young General & Mrs. Williamson
for that is his rank, tho’ I forgot to give it to him in
my former sheet. they were extremely glad to see us & expressed
a desire that I would leave Betsy behind me with them,
but that I would not consent too as she is my right hand
Man & I cannot do without her. — Mr Peters Daughter is Married
(& lives still with her father) to a young officer
who’s name is Jarvis, & a Countryman of her own that
is [^] he is [^] an American, has got two most lovely Children a
Boy & Girl, he came & spent his Christmas with me
as we are only one hundred & seven Miles apart. O’
that I could but say you were so near me what pleasure
& happiness would it give your Affectionate Sister. —
he is a most amiable worthy [^] young [^] Man & she is deserving
of him, I am in hopes I shall prevail upon them to
come & live at Bath, it will greatly add to my
satisfaction & likewise be an improvement to my young
Daughter who is learning Music, & Mrs. Jarvis —
understands it thoroughly, she is allowed to be by Judges
an incomparable player, & assures me if she was
to be with Besty she would undertake the Tuition of her

(page seven)

herself. they have made her promise to spend a few
Months with them this Spring, as Mr. Jarvis is to come
& meet her therefore I cannot refuse. -— — — — —
tho’ I have lived in this place near ten Years yet
have made very few acquaintances as the people of
England are so different in every respect that you would
hardly suppose they were of the same species as the
Americans, Stiff, Starch, imperious, haughty, suspicious. –
uncharitable, Wretches, who ridicule & slander their
best friends as soon as their back is turned & hardly
know, much more speak of their Door Neighbor
for my part when I am in company I which is very
seldom I am affraid to look or Speak it is very
hard at my time of Life to put such constraint
upon {…} so different from what I have been
accustom’d too, & from my natural make, which is
openess of Disposition as my poor Dr Brother wrote to
me to be cautious how I proceed, for he knew if
a person spoke a good Word to me I would do any
thing for [crossed out] them. — — I am very much obliged to
you my Dear for your intelligence respecting who was
Dead & Married, it was [crossed out] what I wished very much
to know, hope you will not forget it in future would
do as much for you if you were acquainted with
any person here, but your own Relations, poor Mrs.
Shopland is no more she departed this Life the 27th
of last March, 88 in a galloping Consumption [crossed out] which
is not uncommon in our family, leaving behind her 3
young Children, the eldest but seven Years old the youngest
when she died was but a twelvemonth, their names Lucy John

(page eight)

& Peter Winwood. she was a sweet amiable Creature very
sensible & possessed in a great degree that comicallity &
good humour which made her agreeable & pleasing where
ever she went above the rest of her Sisters, her loss is
severely felt by her Relations, pray let me know if she
ever wrote to you her youngest Sister Harriet who is
still unmarried & will for ever I believe remain so, came
over upon the death of her Sister to keep up as much
as she could the Spirits of poor Mr. Shopland, & take
care of the Children, but being naturally of a very weak
Constitution & the remembrance of her poor Sister so
preyed upon her Health, that she was advised by the
Faculty not to delay a moment coming to Bath to
drink the Waters, & as she had an invitation from me
she accepted it & staid with me six Months, she is a very
pleasing sensible young Woman, not {…} she is
very much like her father, but not in temper she
wished to stay much longer with me but would
not admit of it — she doats upon her Mothers relations
I [crossed out] told her that you wished she & her sister would
send over a power of Attorney to recover their part
she informed me that her father had some time
back sent one to Mr. Livermore, & that he had beha
-ved in a most scandalous Manner respecting it, & a
great deal more which I have forgot & would wish too
bury in silence. As to Peters Widow she is too great
a Lady I assure you even to cast a single thought
about recovering her part she is in possesion of a
large fortune [crossed out]
[crossed out]
[crossed out] Mrs. Williamson assured me when I

(page nine)


Was in London, that her Children (which are 2 in
number George Williamson & Mary Ann) dare not
speak or look or even eat but when she gives
them leave by a Wink or Nod. — I really believe
she broke my poor Dr Brothers Heart with her
Vile Temper, I know not where she lives as she
never writes to one of us [crossed out]
[crossed out]
[crossed out]
Poor Nancys Orphans really want every assistance
that can be given them, the eldest is with my
Brother in Ireland, Anna Maria Ashenhurst, who
will be one & twenty in June, she has a small
fortune of her own, but what it amounts [^] too [^] cannot
Tell, however she has it not in her power to assist
the other two, Edward is aboard some Ship, & the
youngest (Eliza) is with me. she is 19 this month
& is entirely thrown upon my hands to provide
for as one of my own Children, poor Girl I
have put her Apprentice to a Mantua Maker
which was the best I could do for her, & indeed
it cost me money enough for I gave with her
30 Guineas, & have bound myself & heirs to
Cloath Wash & find her Tea for 4 Years & in
case of sickness to take her home or if I had
not Room for her, as I let part of my house for

(page ten)

Lodgings; to pay 5 Shillings a Week for a Room
& find her a Nurse & Doctor; so you will think
I have sufficient upon my hands: I am continually
plagued to take the eldest Shopland, I who have
two of my own growing up & must give them
a good Education, for without it they never will be
respected or taken the least notice of, it is all that is
considered in this part of the World. — & none will give
me the least assistance I do not expect it from my
Brother but that Arthur Browne who has six hundred
a Year never to send her anything not even a Poplin
it was in consequence of my writing to him to send
a Trifle that I was abused in the manner I have before
mention’d to you, as he promised before I took her
he would allow me 15 Pounds a Year, but since she
came he has never sent me one halfpenny of it. —
I have beg’d President Sullivan to try & get theirs for
them, as thee have [^] it [^] not in their power to send a power
of Attorney, neither can I afford it being a very expensive
thing in this part of the World. — should be obliged to
you if you would desire Sullivan to get an order
from Foxcraft upon John Vassle, for if I had any
thing to show against him I could recover it here:
as he told Parker he would some time ago, because
he borrow’d it for John Vassel, who lives within a
few Streets of me, but we never take the least notice
of each other. — I am certain your patience by this
time is quite exhausted, must beg it a little longer
& will then have done; Oh’ my Dr Betsy could we
but meet have many things to say to you, which I

(page eleven)

cannot on paper, but must rest contented with hearing
from you, which I hope I shall often as to Mrs.
Livermore have quite given her up, she no doubt
has forgot me long ago, tho’ I have not her, but
if Betsy will write; it will make us very happy
am glad to hear she is so good a Girl, but little
thought of her having Hitsy Crockers Son, however
hope he will make her a deserving Husband. —
am exceeding sorry to hear of the declining Way
poor Mrs. Bass is in, am surprized Mr. Bass never
answer’d my letter which I wrote to him so long ago,
as full as it could hold; but suppose he has forgot
there was such a being as myself. — Major St Loe
Has been dead these many Years, that is all
I know of him, Nancys last Husband is now
living in Dublin, Surgeon Kelly, he used her
very Ill & has never taken the least notice
of the Children since her Death, she had a
great deal of valuable good Cloaths which he

Took & gave to a Woman that he kept, as likewise
her Watch & Picture set round with Brilliants, tho’ he
assured her when she was dying that they should have
them. — I often long for some of our Indian Meal &
chestnuts, they have them here but they taste no better
than Acorns, Indian Corn they raise here in Hot houses,
but it is above my pocket, therefore I see & long but
cannot taste, the same with Cranberrys they are the
size here of a pins head, & are extravagently Dear —
but if you have a mind to send me some, direct them
to the care of [^] Mr [^] Walter Jacks Merchant at Bristol
To be sent to Bath by [crossed out] the first opportunity —

(page twelve)

writing me a Letter some time before that I may know,
or by a friend would be much better. shall leave it to
yourself — & now necessity obliges me to conclude beging
you will write soon. & tell me all the news for I think
I have done you Justice, Mary and Betsy desire their Duty
& most Affte Love to all their relations present me most
Affectionately to my Dr Jenny & all my Nephews & Neices they
will excuse my not naming them every one for my
paper will not let me; pray write soon my Dearest
Dr sister it will soften in a degree the pain of Absence
& believe me to be with the truest Affection unalterably
Your Mary Serjeant.

P.S. best Love & & Compts to Mr & Mrs.
Bass & to all friends if I have any; should esteem it a favour
[?] if Mr. Bafs would write; answer all my Questions soon adieu

Direct to me Mrs. Mary Serjeant Lansdown Road
Bath – to the care of the Revd Samuel Peters Lower
Grosvenor Place Pimlico London. – if you love me pray
write soon, as our letters are so long coming over we should
answer them instantly to lessen if possible the length of the time

Letter from George (Adament?) (26 March 1840)

Dear Sir
Herewith you will receive a
parcel of old letters of the Brown Family
which you will please return after perousal
as I am accountable for them to Mr. O. T. Rogers.
very respectfully
Your obt Servt
Geo. [Alanents?]

Revd Doct Burroughs

March 26

(page two, address)

Revd Doct Burroughs

Thank you to the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati for funding the digitization and transcription of the Serjeant Family Letters, 1769 – 1840.