Excerpt from a letter by Fanny Ruggles Sarget to her Mother-in-Law


Background Notes

This letter was sent to Abiel Sargent in York, Maine from his daughter-in law, Fanny Fuggles Sargent at Fort Independence, Boston Harbor, December 12, 1813. Although the letter was addressed to her father-in-law, it was intended for her mother-in-law.

Fanny was married to Dr. James Hovey Sargent, an army surgeon, who is described as the "Head of Fort Independence, Boston Harbor." She writes of shortages, high prices and general gloomy attitudes caused by the War of 1812. She also implies that some Americans are aiding the enemy by supplying them.

Transcription of Primary Source

Fort Independence December 20th 1813

Dear Mother your letter with the continuation and conclusion of your journey home; came safe to hand we were extremely sorry to hear of the many accidents you met with and we all have reason to be thankfull[sic] that you reached home safe at last and that it did not happen on a night of such dreadful conflagration as the Inhabitants of Porthsmouth[sic] have experienced since it must have appeared to you at York as if half the world were in flames if it were visible sixty miles what must it have been at the shorter distance of eight I should have felt for the poor sufferers at any time but especially at this inclement season when the inhabitants of our country feel sensibly the miseries and distress incident of War — The times are gloomy indeed what we shall all do I cannot tell the produce of our own Country is equal to foreign articles and they are all enormous beyond account we all sigh in concert, I am glad the embargo has taken place it will prevent their supplying the enemy which they have done to their shame ever since they were stationed on our coast — I told James the other day by way of a joke that I believed I should go down and see you and beg a little tea as you observed when here you had enough to last you some time we have given up using tea and most coffee soon souchong was two dollars per pound last week and since the embargo they have put on 50 cents more, Coffee is from 30 to 40 cents per pound and sugar is dreadful indeed — I could not persuade my husband that every thing would be so high and when he could have laid it in he did not — I pray to heaven there may be Peace before long, there is no prospect at present — I never went off the Island much and I have less desire than ever, for the people look so gloomy and groan and complain that make me feel low spirited — The farmers are the best off of any class of people they have their winters stock to live upon and milk from their Cows butter is 25 cents by the firken They say before winter is out it will be 50 -- ...

F. Sargent

Curator Notes

Exact Title: 
Fanny Ruggles Sargent. Letter to Abiel Sargent.
Probable Date: 
December 20
Fanny Ruggles Sargent
Old Sturbridge Village
Catalog Code: 
Bullard Family Papers. (1985.10.32.1c, correspondence, Box 41, Folder 7)