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By Thomas E. Buckley

"If you like That woman do not Marry Her" is an engaging choice of nearly letters among John Miller (1819-1895) and Sally Campbell Preston McDowell (1821-1895). Their correspondence begun in early August 1854 and persisted until eventually their marriage in November 1856. The oldest daughter of the past due Governor James McDowell of Virginia, Sally McDowell owned and controlled Colalto, the kinfolk plantation. She used to be thought of a part of the South's social and political elite. John Miller, a widower with children, was once a Presbyterian minister in Philadelphia. Son of Samuel Miller, a founding father of Princeton Theological Seminary, he used to be one of many North's such a lot favourite priests. McDowell and Miller actually fell in love by way of mail, yet one significant problem blocked their marriage: Sally McDowell used to be a divorced girl. She have been wed to Governor Francis Thomas of Maryland, yet his jealousy and cruelty quickly drove her from Annapolis. even though an 1846 legislative divorce freed her to remarry legally, it was once no longer socially appropriate to take action, specifically to not "a guy of the cloth." So whilst Miller and McDowell introduced their plan to marry, social strain fee him his pulpit and made her the thing of utmost feedback from family and acquaintances. even supposing Miller used to be at the beginning decided to wed regardless of any competition, he finally settled for a long term engagement to maintain McDowell's social place. except a number of short visits, Miller and McDowell's courting depended totally upon letters. began in rigorously guarded phrases, those letters quickly developed into intimate explorations in their deepening love, their respective gender roles, the issues created by means of divorce, and spiritual and familial tasks. McDowell offers the weird feminist viewpoint of a divorced lady in mid-nineteenth-century the United States. As she probes her personal internal global, her correspondence with Miller turns into a therapeutic adventure by which she steadily surmounts the restrictions she stories as a lady, her melancholy and the fears as a result of her first marriage, and the stigma of divorce. eventually her self- revelations result in their marriage in November 1856, which lasted until eventually their deaths per week aside virtually 40 years later. as a result of their specific scenario, Miller and McDowell dedicated to paper the non-public concepts and emotions that almost all may have expressed in individual. even though their own dating types the imperative topic of those letters, the couple additionally mentioned such concerns because the starting to be sectional tensions, nationwide and country politics and politicians, literary figures, church conferences and personages, slave administration and behaviour, and family members and group values and attitudes. Eloquently written, those letters supply a special window on American society at the eve of the Civil battle. additionally they exhibit very important information regarding gender roles and dating in nineteenth-century the US. simply because no different ebook like this exists in print, readers all over the place will welcome "If you're keen on That woman do not Marry Her."

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Extra info for “If you love that lady don’t marry her” : the courtship letters of Sally McDowell and John Miller,1854–1856

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Frederick was the site of one of the trials. August 1854–January 1855 3 I came to Lexington with no idea of what has happened, & without the smallest connection with yourself other than as one of a pleasant company of friends that gave it a different appearance to me from the place I left. This I know makes my haste & apparent abruptness of conduct greater but shields me from the weightier charges of repeated dissimulations. I never thought of such a purpose as that you mention. So little have I talked of you to others that I never heard it suggested.

But in your case, (I speak too frankly to be misconceived) I paused, not that my resolution wavered, but because my regard for you indicated a different & a kinder course. I thought you too precipitate. I did not know how you could learn to love me in so short a time. You seemed overtaken & overcome by a feeling, that might exhaust itself in the first outbreak. Yet you were painfully in earnest & I shrank from any semblance of severity in dealing the blow I was forced to give. Thus, as matters cleared up a little, and difficulties, at first obscurely hinted at, were, at length, plainly stated, I spoke freely my views upon these difficulties, & calmly considered yours.

Miss Polly Moore, a frequent houseguest SLAVES Alfred, a house servant, responsible for the mail Edward, a house servant Jenny, a house servant, a great favorite of McDowell John Miller’s World FAMILY Maggie (Margaret) Breckinridge, his niece Sarah Miller Hageman, married to John F. Hageman, an attorney in Princeton Allie (Alamby) Miller, his son. The children live with their grandmother. Dick (J. J. Sarah Sergeant Miller, his mother in Princeton Spence (E. Spencer) Miller, his brother, an attorney in Philadelphia, and his wife, Annie IN-LAWS (BY HIS FIRST MARRIAGE TO MARGARET BENEDICT) “Aunt Hunter” (Margaret Benedict) Hunter, his wife’s aunt The Worlds of Sally McDowell and John Miller xxxiii Sarah Benedict Potter, his sister-in-law, married to Alonzo Potter, the Episcopal bishop of Pennsylvania MINISTERIAL COLLEAGUES Addie (Joseph Addison) Alexander, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary Henry Boardman, a pastor in Philadelphia Charles Hodge, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary Thomas Janeway, a pastor in Princeton John Leyburn, editor of the Presbyterian in Philadelphia John Maclean, president of the College of New Jersey William McLain, secretary of the American Colonization Society William Henry Ruffner, a minister at Harrisonburg, Va.

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