Nathan Hale: Yale 1773 :: Curator: Richard E. Mooney mssa exhibition

Hale's Life in Connecticut  |  The Years At Yale  |  In The Revolutionary War  |  How Sculptors Saw Him  |  George Dudley Seymour  |  Images & Namesakes  

In The Revolutionary War: One year and a fateful final fortnight
Richard Hale letter
click image for additional information
previous button next button
A father's sadness

In March 1777 Richard Hale [Nathan's father] wrote to his brother Samuel [Nathan's uncle] in response to a letter from Samuel seeking information about Nathan. Samuel had written a few days after a February 13 newspaper report blamed a Tory cousin - another Samuel Hale - for Nathan's capture. The Tory Samuel was raised in the home of the elder Samuel, a respected New Hampshire schoolmaster and staunch patriot.

An interesting letter, it speaks of God and worldly troubles before Richard's heartbreak. [Some 18th century spelling updated for clarity.]

Dear Brother
   I recd your favor of the 17th of February Last and rejoice to hear that you and your Famley were well. Your obversation [sic] as to the Dificulty of the times is very just, so gloomey a day wee niver saw before but I trust our cause is just and for our Consolation in the times of greatest distress we have this to support us, that there is a God that jugeth in the earth if wee can but take the Comfert of it. As to our being far advanced in life if it but serve to wean us from this present troublesome world and stir us up to prepare for a world of peace and Rest it is well. The calls in Providence are loud to prepare to meet our God and O that he would prepare us. You desired me to inform you about my son Nathan. You have doutless seen the Newbery Port [Newburyport, Massachusetts] paper that gives the acount of the conduct of our kinsman Samll Hale [the Tory cousin] toward him in New York…. Betraied he doutless was by somebody. He was executed about the 22nd of September Last by the aconts we have had. A Child I set much by but he is gone. I think the second trial I ever met with…. My wife joins in love to you and Mrs. Hale and your children
     Your loving Brother
     Richard Hale
Coventry March 28th 1777