For the latest news on Judith Sargent Murray, please "Friend" her on Facebook!
This essay appeared in the April 1793 edition of the Massachusetts Magazine
under the name "Constantia."
The Repository. No. VIII.
This moment a little female presents herself before me. Not above ten years hath she been a subject of the ills which are concomitants of mortality. In her countenance is a mixture of innocence and sweetness -- and her face is shaded by the most heart affecting distress. Her well patched garments proclaim industrious poverty; and the neatness of her figure is descriptive of the fairness of her mind. She informs me that she is the eldest of a number of orphans; that her grandmother is a widow; that she is old and poor; that she hath all the rest of the little family with her; and that as she can no longer provide for them all, she hath therefore sent her out to seek another protector. She prettily adds, that if I will let her abide with me, she will do every thing to serve me. -- Amiable simplicity! sweet child -- peace be with thee. Alas! it is not in my power to shield thee. How exquisitely painful are the sensations of those, who find in themselves a disposition to relieve the sons and daughters of penury, to cover the naked, to afford an asylum to the destitute, to bring home to their hospitable dwellings the desolate wanderer -- and yet, circumscribed by niggard fortune, they are denied the felicity of executing any one of those benevolent plans which their liberal souls are so fruitful in devising! Surely such persons are objects of commiseration; and it may with propriety be asked, to what purpose is a heart, susceptible of the ills of all about them given to such impotent beings! Upon the inmost recesses of my soul regret is deeply imprinted -- and the silent tear of sorrow descends upon my cheek!!
2007 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths
a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history
-- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community
outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.