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the numerous brief extracts which will be found interspersed through the volume.
Many of the letters her brother were written during the excitement controversy which existed in the Society of Friends, previous to the separation in that body. In these, frequent allusion was made to the then existing state of things, which would not now be either interesting or instructive. It was therefore thought best, not unnecessarily to contribute to the revival of the excited feelings which grew out of that unhappy contest, by giving those allusions a permanent form. There were, nevertheless, some statements and observations relating to that controversy, which it was deemed expedient to retain, in order that the reader might be made more fully acquainted with her character and peculiar position at that period. There is, also, a considerable quantity of remark and observation upon other topics, not in themselves of any importance to the public, but being intimately connected with sentiments and precepts of general utility and application, from which they could not be separated without injury to the sense, they have therefore been inserted.
It may not be improper also here to remark, that as those letters were written in the confidence of friendship, of the affections of propinquity, withoat the slightest viefto theitever being made public, they have not been composedang tinerally, with that strict regard to diction and accuracy which might have been given them.; andalthough some slight alterations and cor.
rections have been made in their style and language, not affecting the sense, it was thought best to let them appear as nearly in their original state as would be proper. Yet, notwithstanding those defects, there will be found amongst them specimens of simple, yet beautiful and forcible eloquence, which manifest no ordinary talent for composition.
It has been our aim to embody in this work, through the medium of her own sentiments and actions as many of the traits and features of her general character as lay within our reach, without trespassing upon the private and domestic relations of life; believing that all which has emanated from her with reference to the general interest and benefit of society, will be found useful, practical, and worthy the deepest attention.
We have thus honestly, and to the best of our ability, acquitted ourselves of the charge committed to us; and should it be found that the selection has not been made as judiciously as it might have been; that any thing has been included which ought not to have met the public eye; inexperience in such matters, and a strong personal attachment for the writer, must plead our
Solebury, 9th mo. 2, 1843.
MARTHA SMITH, the writer of these Letters, was born the 8th of Second month, 1787. She was the daughter of Josiah and Deborah Brown, of Plumstead, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, members of the Society of Friends.
When young, she possessed a lively imagination, tempered with a serious, thoughtful turn of mind, of which the early productions of her pen, in an epistolary correspondence with her young friends, give abundant evidence, although her opportunities of acquiring school learning had been rather limited. One striking characteristic of her mind, which was early developed, was her love for the real and substantial, in preference to the fictitious and frivolous.
She grew up to maturity amongst her cotemporaries, and mingled with them in their juvenile sports and entertainments, with the ordinary alacrity of her age, but was rather a follower than a leader in the gay circles of mirth. Her taciturn and meditative disposition somewhat disqualified her for the companion of levity, and made it apparent that hilarity was not her conge
nial element. She imbibed, during her youthful age, a tase for reading and literature, and a quick relish for poetry, particularly that of a moral and sentimental character; and Young, Cowper, and Milton, were her favorite authors. As she advanced further in life, however, those early appetites and habits subsided, and her mind seemed busy with other objects. She was then, most likely, receiving and fostering the germs of those deep and sublime views and sentiments of the purity and perfection of the Christian character, which in due time were proclaimed in the exercise of her public ministry.
She appeared in public testimony in the meetings of Friends about the year 1819 and received encouragement to proceed in that line, when duty required; but her mind expanding beyond the boundaries set by those who were appointed judges in that matter, she was not acknowledged a minister until the separation of the Society; soon after which, she was recommended, and remained an approved minister until her death, a period of about thirteen years; during which time, she travelled much in the middle and western States, for the promotion of truth and righteousness on the earth, which she was frequently enabled to advocate in a lucid and unsophisticated manner, to the edification of
; being free from an affected solemnity of tone or
Most especially was the example of practical righteousness, which shone forth in her