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Alonzo and Melissa The Unfeeling Father   By: (1759?-1812)

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[Transcriber's Note:

This e text is based on the 1851 Boston edition of Alonzo and Melissa . The story originally appeared in 1804 as a serial in the weekly Political Barometer of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., written by the newspaper's editor, Isaac Mitchell. Pirated versions began to appear in 1811, giving Daniel Jackson, Jr., as author.

The book was printed as a single unit, without chapter divisions. The breaks in the e text represent the 22 installments of the serial version.

Note that the standard punctuation for dialogue is

"To this place, said Melissa, have I taken many a solitary walk...."

The following are listed at the end of the e text:

Chronology of the Story Quotations Other Editions Errors and Inconsistencies]






In every varied posture, place, and hour, How widowed every thought of every joy!



Boston: Printed for the Publishers. 1851.


Whether the story of Alonzo and Melissa will generally please, the writer knows not; if, however, he is not mistaken, it is not unfriendly to religion and to virtue. One thing was aimed to be shown, that a firm reliance on Providence, however the affections might be at war with its dispensations, is the only source of consolation in the gloomy hours of affliction; and that generally such dependence, though crossed by difficulties and perplexities, will be crowned with victory at last.

It is also believed that the story contains no indecorous stimulants; nor is it filled with unmeaning and inexplicated incidents sounding upon the sense, but imperceptible to the understanding. When anxieties have been excited by involved and doubtful events, they are afterwards elucidated by the consequences.

The writer believes that generally he has copied nature. In the ardent prospects raised in youthful bosoms, the almost consummation of their wishes, their sudden and unexpected disappointment, the sorrows of separation, the joyous and unlooked for meeting in the poignant feelings of Alonzo, when, at the grave of Melissa, he poured the feelings of his anguished soul over her miniature by the "moon's pale ray;" when Melissa, sinking on her knees before her father, was received to his bosom as a beloved daughter risen from the dead.

If these scenes are not imperfectly drawn, they will not fail to interest the refined sensibilities of the reader.



In the time of the late revolution, two young gentlemen of Connecticut, who had formed an indissoluble friendship, graduated at Yale College in New Haven: their names were Edgar and Alonzo. Edgar was the son of a respectable farmer. Alonzo's father was an eminent merchant. Edgar was designed for the desk, Alonzo for the bar; but as they were allowed some vacant time after their graduation before they entered upon their professional studies, they improved this interim in mutual, friendly visits, mingling with select parties in the amusements of the day, and in travelling through some parts of the United States.

Edgar had a sister who, for some time, had resided with her cousin at New London. She was now about to return, and it was designed that Edgar should go and attend her home. Previous to the day on which he was to set out, he was unfortunately thrown from his horse, which so much injured him as to prevent his prosecuting his intended journey: he therefore invited Alonzo to supply his place; which invitation he readily accepted, and on the day appointed set out for New London, where he arrived, delivered his introductory letters to Edgar's cousin, and was received with the most friendly politeness.

Melissa, the sister of Edgar, was about sixteen years of age. She was not what is esteemed a striking beauty, but her appearance was pleasingly interesting... Continue reading book >>

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