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Friday, December 25, 1829

He never paid, so says the wife and mother, one cent for John H. Hauser's children, nor never gave one copper for the use of the land or slaves. He gave them food from his table after he had done eating, though his own victuals was prepared in the utensils of the deceased father. He ate on the table and drank out of the furniture, legitimately or justly belonging to them.They disturbed none of this property except the food and house that sheltered them as before indicated. When they were married, he told her that all these things should go to her children as they became of age, as he had pleanty , and all he wanted was her declaring it was the property of their father, and they ought to have it. Now, was he speaking what he really intended, or was he acting hypocritically in order to gain the widow? If it was the former, then we have the changes of his goodness by the alteration of circumstances, and if it was deception, we have the villain and a character in which no dependence can be placed any further than bonds will show. But my own opinion is that he really intended at the moment to do as he said.

Well, the desired union took place agreeable to his wish, and we will now see how punctual he has been to his word. Soon after I was married, my brother-in-law, living with J. Conrad, proposed to have the estate settled. I never mentioned it myself. Why this was not before done, I believe, they were all afraid of the stepfather, and believing that now the blame would fall on me, and they themselves would have no responsibility; and in this they were not mistaken, though I do most solemnly aver I had nothing to do with commencing it. But as it had been eight years in the hands of the administrator, I could not object to such a course, believing it to be not only proper, but justice really required it. I did not expect that any individual could be offended or injured by doing an act of justice. However, here I was much disappointed. Mr. A. Conrad became exceeding offended, placing all the blame on me and abused his wife very much, and declared he would not give up one thing, as it was his by law and he would have one-fourth of all, and that if the Negroes were hired out, he would not hire them about him. But I was appointed as guardian for the youngest child. I said not one word, but knowing I was acting justly, I proceeded to discharge my two, and as I wanted one, the boy he had before said could  not earn his board, he now run up considerable just from pure revenge.But his pleasure and happiness I envy not. Now here is a man, a pretended good man, falsifying his word. All his own obligations, made of his own accord, are set at nought and disregarded; there is no soundness in such a man; no reliance can be placed when such changes take place. Add to this picture the treatment of his wife, which was such as produced a severe nervous disease, or at best roused it into action, as she is a woman of very delicate health that threatens for a while her life.

Now to me it appears impossible that Mr. Conrad can, in the sober moments of relection, feel that pleasant sensation always the accompaniment of just and upright actions. Is this the fruit of a mind filled with religion? Can he, when he reclines on his pillow, ask of his God forgivness, when he has taken from the fatherless, their mother and property while he has more than enough? No, I must answer. No goodness, no common morality dwells here. Not the first dawning of a Christian feeling can here be discovered. The pungent stings of conscience must haunt his midnight dreams. I hope that you, my children, will never follow the example here set down, but as you hope to live happy and peaceable in this life, shun it as you would the fatal precipice. Always reflect well before you promise, and when you have passed your word, abide by the consequences and let it be said your word can be relied on. Sooner suffer your own indiscretion than to do wrong or act unjustly.

I now leave it with you to decide on the whole affair and pronounce the judgement, whether he acted justly or unjustly, even as a man of correct principle, not to say a stepfather. To me it seems evident that none, no not one, of the whole human family, let them be ever so abandoned, will say his conduct was correct or justified as a moral man, much less as a christian and a father. I am sorry that I have felt bound thus to represent Mr. C. I have the information from the wife and mother.

Having dismissed one disagreeable subject, the noise and confusion on the streets tells me from former experience that Christmas is here, and in this place has parted with none of its former folly. As I dislike everything kept not in accordance with the original intention of its institution, it will be presumed that I do not approve of the way this night is celebrated here. I am equally opposed to all traditions calculated to perpetuate superstition among mankind, because I believe it to be our duty to diminish all this folly as fast as we can, and in consequence of this belief, I cannot join in the improper mirth here used. I am well aware that there are those who stand far above me in scientific depth and education, nevertheless mingle with and recommend these scenes, but my own idea of this whole affair is that they act from interest to advance themselves and sanction these proceedings in order the more effectually to draw from the weak and ignorant. The day originally may have been consecrated for good purposes to teach people that they should regard with veneration everything relating to our Saviour, and as such it should be commemorated. But instead of this, it is now made subservient to every species of vice and the advancement of ignorance and superstition. Those denominations who use this day for self-interest (or more properly, those divines which inculcate the ideas) make it a crime to do any labor on this day. Yet grant free indulgences to every vicious, as well as innocent, amusements.

Here in this place to refuce a compliance is to subject yourself to denunciation; and the only reason assigned, you do not act with us. It makes no difference how exemplary your deportment or how upright your conduct in every particular, this all-important participation obliterates the sins of the past year, if you but comply with OUR views. Now the reason this is so considered by the uninformed people is because they place all their confidence in the minister who directs the whole movement and saves them the trouble of thinking for themselves. He is looked up to as the supreme director and head of all goodness and his word the law; consequently, he is viewed as infallible and they will tell you it be right because our preache says so. I admire as much as any individual a minister of the Gospel whose life and actions all proceed from the love of goodness, one whose whole aim is to point out the road to all mankind, not only for a future and better state of existence, but also for a better state of living while here; one that will frown on all species of injustice and not endeavor to palliate in his followers misdominions which he condemns in others, not hold out a prize for those professing the same faith with himself whose only goodness consists entirely in observing this day and attendance at church on the Sabbath. Though both these are not improper, yet they make not a Christian.