Mary Emma Jocelyn diary, 1851-1852.

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  • UPenn Ms. Codex 1770
  • Born in New Haven, Connecticut to antebellum abolistionist, clergyman, and engraver Simeon Smith Jocelyn (1799-1879) and Harriet Starr (d. 1877). The Jocelyn family moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1844 where Simeon Smith Jocelyn was installed as the pastor of the First Congregational Church. Mary Emma was the fifth of eight children born to the Jocelyns. Her siblings are Harriette Luceannah (1823-), Simeon Starr (1825-), Albert Higley (1827-), Caroline Eliza (1830-1868), Nathaniel (1835-1852), Cornelius Buell (1838-1864), and Frederick Henry (1841-).
  • This volume contains the diary of Mary Emma Jocelyn spanning ten months from November 1851 to September 1852. The first entry in the diary was recorded on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1851. At the top of the page is written "Journal continued." Jocelyn made daily entries in her diary and recorded her life with her family and friends while living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. A brief note on the weather begins each entry. Jocelyn described her daily activities including sewing, reading, seeing family and friends, and distributing tracts. She attended church on Sundays chiefly at her father's church, the First Congregational Church, and singing class with her sisters Carrie (Caroline) and Harriet. She was often visiting or receiving friends including Mary Reeve and Hannah Hudson among others. Jocelyn attended lectures and events at the Lyceum in Brooklyn. She also visited her sister in Brooklyn and mentions ferrying over. The Jocelyn family and the Hudson family appeared to be close friends and the Jocelyn siblings spent much time with brothers George and Henry and their sister Hannah. Jocelyn wrote often of Henry Hudson and worried about his crisis of faith. Major events in the family are described throughout the ten-month period, including the joyous wedding of her sister Harriet to Douglas Murphy on June 30, 1852 and the death of her brother Nathaniel (Natty) in August 1852. Thirty pages in the diary were dedicated to Natty's illness and death. This lengthy entry is dated September 27, 1852 and describes the family's anguish and grief over Natty's passing. Other notable entries include her father Simeon's travels, her lengthy description of a dream, helping a young Irish immigrant, her interest in an essay by Edgar Allen Poe, and the celebration of the founding of Williamsburg in January 1852. The diary is in chronological order from November 27, 1851 through April 1, 1852. After April 1 the diary is arranged as follows: July 8 to August 8, 1852; 23 pages dated September 27, 1852; April 29 to June 8, 1852; April 3 to April 28, 1852; June 9 to July 5, 1852. Bound in at the end are seven pages continuing the September 27th entry. Laid in the volume is a printed flier for an exhibition and sale at Montague Hall, Brooklyn for "articles offered for sale at the Anti Slavery Fair" November 30, 1851 with notes on the verso by Mary Emma Jocelyn.

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    how near was the final event. Starr said nothing to us of his fears, but went immediately to New York for Albert. After Mr Murphy had left the sick-room he said to Father, "you are going to lose him". "No! No! you must'nt say so." Father replied the Doctors give us every encouragement; he will be better soon" still he left us with sad forebodings. Harriet had heard during the morning that Natty was worse, and too ill to come to him herself she spent the day in earnest prayer for him she says she never prayed so for herself that she felt impelled to do so, she hardly knew why, for she also heard that we did not apprehend any serious result -- and that at times when she would stop overcome with the thought that perhaps her prayers would not be heard, she would think of Father and feel comforted with the reflection that God would hear his prayers if He would hear none other. So with me all the morning whatever I was doing, a prayer was ever in my heart and on my lips for him. Shall we not trust that He who at that solemn time gave us the spirit of prayer also lent a gracious ear to our supplications? -- About two o'clock P.M. I fed him for the last time with some broth. Is'nt it good I asked? "I can't taste it" he replied -- When he had finished I kissed his forehead and said, Dear Natty. He started and gazed earnestly and penetratingly into my face as if my words had been but an echo of his fears, but seeing nothing in my countenance but a look of quiet surprise he said nothing and I left him little dreaming that we had talked together for the last time. He seemed quite comfortable for an hour after that. I was busy down stairs when Carrie came and told me that Natty was worse. I hastened to him - he seemed to be in much distress and cried. "Oh I can't live so!- I can't live so!- can't you

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    do something for me? " Father was doing all he could do and had sent for the Doctor. Carrie and I wept in silence - just then Julia Waterman came in, she was much shocked at his altered appearance, at first too much so to come into the room but when she entered a few moments after Natty observed ^ her and said "Julia, Julia and soon after "Come here Julia." she came to him "Talk to me." he said - she was too much distressed to speak and, after waiting a moment for her reply, he said "Julia, I love everybody." He had formerly not been very partial to her and now wished to assure her that all such feelings were forgotten. The Doctor now arrived and did his best to revive his sinking patient - all was done that could be done and with the rapidity that the case required. Dear, kind Mr Murrow what should we have done without him in that moment of hate and despair _ with his bare hands he rubbed Natty's limbs with the burning liquid that none of us could have borne to touch, andquick as thought he brought all that was asked for and did all that was required __ but all in vain, the stimulants failed to rouse the sinking pulse and the stagnate blood refused to flow into the [Dr?] and motionless limbs, but the sufferer had forgotten all bodily pain. Death he knew had come and with that dread knowledge all the energies of human love were roused; his first thought seemed to be of Father who had left the room a moment. "Where's Father?" he exclaimed, "call him back. Father! Father! Father!!" he repeated in accents of entreaty and affection. Father was beside him but still that supplicating cry went up as if that beloved name could shield and save him. Voice strength were failing rapidly but still he repeated it again and again and as he

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    grew weaker substituted the word "Pa" __ "Pa ! Pa ! Pa !" Oh! how sad and entreatying was that cry ! __ Then after a pause he said sorrowfully but resignedly "Dear Father Dear Mother Bye Bye; Bye Bye!" as if speaking to us all _ it was all he had strength to utter. _ This had passed in a very few moments and our attention had been divided between his words and the vain attempts to rouse him into life Was it strange that we still hoped? _ that so sudden was the dreadful shock that we could neither believe nor realize it _ Father was the last to give him up, how could^he with those tones sounding in his ears? The Doctor stopped in despair but Father said "once more" and again he raised the drooping head and poured the brandy into his mouth it gurgled in his throat __ "Try Natty; try to swallow it." he entreated, but the next moment laid him back on his pillow his eyes fixed in death. Never shallI forget the agony of that moment as he dropped helplessly into a chair and covered his face with his hands in all the anguish of despair of a parent's heart. Poor Mother, bending over her dying boy, lifted an imploring glance to the Doctor while the fearful question faltered on her lips - "Can't you save him?" "No earthly power can do that" was the heart-rending answer Oh the agony of that hour to us all! - Carrie and I wringing our hands in the wildest grief that we had yet known, while Cornelius and Frederic with a bitter cry threw themselves to the bed beside their dying brother. Only for a moment did Father forget himself; his child he could not save from the power of the ruthless destroyer, but the immortal soul was still lingering in the land of hope; he sprang up and again

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    bent over the bed of death, "Natty," he said, "we cannot save you, can you trust in the Lord Jesus?" "Yes," was the prompt, clear reply. "Give your heart to God, Natty, cast yourself into the arms of the Saviour can you do this?" "Yes," he again replied and to several other questions of the same nature he likewise replied. Then Father knelt in prayer -- Oh such a prayer -- it was like wrestling with Jehovah, and seemed to take hold of every promise to the faithful, and the dying, and plead them with a merciful and covenant keeping God. -- Doubtless it was heard and accepted. __ When he ceased Natty appeared to be talking to us for some time, but his voice was so feeble and indistinct that we could understand nothing that he said. He was composed and after a pause seemed to be singing to himself, then again he seemed in prayer, but all we could make out were these two words which he pronounced clearly and distinctly -- "Lord Forgive." -- Soon all was hushed, he still breathed, but lay speechless and motionless with his eyes fixed. Father paced the room absorbed in prayer suddenly he stopped, clasped his hand upon his breast exclaiming "I can give him up now - let him go [Dr?] 'The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away and blessed be the name of the Lord"for as he spoke he had within himself the [Dr?] assurance that his prayers were answered and his child was saved. He says it seemed to him like a flood of glory suddenly let in upon his soul __ the most glorious thing this side of heaven - while to us it seemed as if God had spoken to Father and through him to us assuring us all of the eternal happiness of our beloved one. Just as Father uttered the last words Starr and Albert arrived and caught the expression as they entered. What a shock it must have been!

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    They joined the sobbing group around Natty's bedside, and like us begged in vain for one more look, one more word. Twas a scene beyond description -- strong hearted men [Dr?] as children and brothers and sisters, Fatherand Mother mingled their lamentations together, kiss after kiss was pressed to the still burning brow, and words of [Dr?] love, and of hope and heaven were poured into the ear of the dying - we suppose he heard and understood all and was conscious to the last. It was about seven o'clock P.M. as I hung over him Ikissed him and spoke to him, and oh how my heart thrilled! --- there was a movement, and one faint, expiring glance was turned upon me, -- but for an instant however, and it was the last effort of life. I felt that he knew me and for a moment almost hoped -- How vain! Gradually the breath died away -- there was no struggle or sigh but calm as an infant's slumber was the transition from time and sorrow to eternal blessedness. Though I kept close to him till the last I knew not when he drew his last breath But I heard them murmer "he is gone" and Starr shut down the lids over those beautiful eyes, and I turned away with a breaking heart . --- Poor Carrie fainted Father was very calm -- Mother scarcely spoke or moved, and the boys had sobbed themselves into quietness. The room was filled with friends who had gathered in one by one and whom till now I had not noticed. -- Bye and bye we went down stairs and I did not again see the dear inanimate body that evening. Friends came and went and several prayed with us before leaving -- but I scarcely saw or heard anything -- I felt stunned and bewildered, and though every chord of feeling ached I was

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