BENJAMIN PRINGLE, JANUARY 1864


From Benjamin Pringle to his son George Pringle 

Comments: The granddaughter mentioned in this letter is Nellie Pringle, who was born in October 1863.  In an era of instant communication, it is hard to imagine waiting ten weeks or more for news of a birth!

The Civil War was ongoing at this time, and it must have been difficult for Benjamin Pringle - who had served as a Whig in Congress in the 1850s - to be overseas while the conflict that would determine his country's fate raged.

Here is a scan of this letter.

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Capetown, Africa
January 20, 1864

Dear George,

Your letter of 9 November is received. I am right glad to have a granddaughter and I congratulate you and Fannie on the happy event and pray that the little one may have health and happiness and be so well brought up as to do good in her generation and be an honor to her parents. By the next mail I shall expect to learn her name and that she has been baptised, and in the future I shall expect to learn that she is being instructed in all that was promised at her baptism. I wish that you could see it your duty to join Fannie in all the services of the church. Could you do so it would be a source of thankfulness in time and eternity - God bless you all!

I regret to learn of the destruction by fire of so much property in Batavia. I suppose however that better buildings will be erected and in the end that the appearance of the village will be improved and that the loss will not be ruinous to any one -

Benjamin Pringle, date unknown

The result of the elections in the different States is very gratifying. All through the North with the exception of New Jersey there appears to be Union victories and even in New Jersey it does not appear to be quite as bad as last year. She will come right by and by. I notice that our Legislature is strongly Union. With all the other State officers and a majority of the Legislation on the right side, a disloyal governor will not have it in his power to do fatal mischief. Tell me what you know of political movements generally and particularly. Whenever any thing appears in the village papers which you think would interest me have the goodness to send copies. How do you progress in your profession? Do not be discouraged if you get but little to do. Study as much as you are able. Be a good historian and learn French and German. If you qualify yourself for a high position and your health is spared, you may rest assured that your services will be in requisition and your mind appreciated. There are too few competent men in the public service and our chief reason of it is their scarcity. You have a good mind and have laid the foundation of good education. You have learned how to study to advantage and by study and reflection you will become wise. An elevated rank around the leading men of the country is within your reach if you retain your health and have a wish for distinction. Make it your aim to be an honest and honorable man and though you may by your integrity occasionally lose what appears to be a temporary advantage, yet in the end you will net your reward. I have received your former letter giving me a copy of the Kimland's letter and gave it attention at the time. The advertisement of the "Wine and Cider Mill" I will show to some of the owners of vineyards and should they wish they can order them in time for the next year's winemaking. The grapes are beginning to ripen and in the months of February and March the wine will be made. I wish that you would pay the note to J.A. Clark out of the money collected and it is no matter how soon it is done to stop interest.

Should any thing happen to me it would be well to inquire at Messengers Baring Brothers, Co. (No. 8, Bishop Gate Street, within) London and at Messengers Thomson, Watson Co. Capetown and ascertain whether I have any funds remaining with them.

Kiss the baby. Give my love to Fannie and believe me

Affectionately your Father

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