Massachusetts

June 1775: Leverett Saltonstall Endures the Siege of Boston

[jpshare]Leverett Saltonstall was unhappily stuck in Boston and missing his mother during the siege in June 1775.

Born in 1754, he was the son of Judge Richard Saltonstall and his third wife, Mary Cooke Saltonstall (later Harrod). He was 20 or 21 and had been apprenticed to a merchant when he wrote a letter from Boston to his mother, then living in Haverhill, Mass., with her second husband.  He wasn't sure how long letters would be allowed to be sent from Boston in 'these dark and terrible times.'

Map of the siege of Boston

Map of the siege of Boston

The 'Mrs. Badger' of whom he refers is his sister, Mary Cooke Saltonstall, who had married the Rev. Moses Badger, also a Loyalist. They were forced to flee Boston with their two children.

In 1778, Leverett Saltonstall joined the British Army as a second lieutenant under Gen. William Howe. He fought under Gen. Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown and was returned to New York as a parolee in 1781. There he was reunited with his sister, Mary Badger. In 1782 he died suddenly at her home.

Despite his concerns for his mother's health, she outlived him by 22 years.

Ever dear and honored Mother

...as to this town, its dull and dismal to see most all the house inhabited either by soldiers or their officers our friends and acquaentances deserting them and the town which is in a Continual alarrum with the [sound?] Sound of war -- our nights disturb'd by Scurmishes of fighting, which we have had many instances of since your departure from us, I'm thankful you are out of the the town for I'm very sure you must have been greatly frightened had you been here -- as to peace pleasure or happiness I dont expect to enjoy, for happiness consists in the peace of the soul. you cannot enjoy the pleasures of the mind, without without the health of the mind, for that person is happy who can clearly Say he has no uneaseness nor trouble upon his mind at this time, there is I be leve but few -- but where am I stroling I did not intend to tire you at this time, but words very willingly drops from my pen and am loth to with hold them but I must. I want very much to See you one more before the Siege begins, for I cand find no pleasure no Injoyment here -- but in what Injoyment I find your danger hangs like the weight of death in my Soul. all my Earthly happiness Seems in Suspense by the uncertainty of your health. I cannot express the tenderness of my affection for you, 'tis the Strongest engagement my heart feels to the world. O! May that Sovereign power who has the Springs of nature in his hand Spare your life, and [hon ]oir it with distinguished favour's. -- But how[ever] [ . . . ] is determined one of the Watches of this night will be imployed to beg that your evidences for immortal happiness may be clear and unquestioned, that the god of all Consotation would make his goodness to pass before you and on this Side of heaven lest out one ray of that glory (I Speak it with full assurance) will open in all its Splendor on you forever, when you have one passed the gloomy thou[ghts] of death. O! [may?] O! May you be refreshed here below with the foretaste of those rivers of pleasure of which you will be Swallowed up in the region of perpetual Joy -- which is the Sincere Wish of your obedient and Dutyfull Son,
Leverett Saltonstall
[Postscript]

Mr. B Mrs. Badger and her little
ones are very [lovely?] well.
Nathl. is a fine Boy, grows finely

Read the whole letter here.

With thanks to the Saltonstall family papers Massachusetts Historical Society

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