When manual laborers fell ill or experienced financial difficulties, they sometimes petitioned to have their taxes “abated” or lessened for a period until they were able to get back on their feet financially. This letter from a neighbor explains the hardship experienced by Mr. Clarke and his family in the Sandy Bay (Rockport) section of Gloucester.
The bearer, Mr. William P. Clarke living a neighbor to me, I am knowing to his having been confined with the Rhumatism1, which has deprived him of his labor for about three Months during the Fishing season, and as he has a Family consisting of Six persons depending on his earnings for a support. I am of an opinion under these circumstances, that if you should abate2 his Taxes for the year 1829, you would give him encouragement to strive3 in future to pay them,
Respectfully, Winthrop Pool
Sandy-Bay Feby. 5th, 1830
1 Rhumatism = ”rheumatism” a painful stiffness of the joints
2 Abate = decrease
3 Strive = work hard to
Letter for Tax Abatement, (1830). Gloucester Archives, Gloucester, MA.
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