(seq. 58)




Status: Complete

[fol. 2r]

Brookline, Sep. 30th 1800.

My dear friend,

Your letters have always afforded me pe-
culiar pleasure. But your No 21, from the consolation it breathed
and the sympathy, it expressed, was more than ever accepta-
ble. It did "good, like a medicine." It did not probe the wound,
which the friendly hand of time was beginning to heal; and thus
cause it to bleed afresh. Like a mollifying plaister, it allayed
irritation, and produced a sweet temporary relief. Why is it, that
friends do not oftener come forward in seasons of distress to be-
stow consolation? "A brother is born for adversity." They tell us, 'we
'are sensible; your loss is great; we heartily sympathize with
'you; but on a subject so trite we can say nothing new.' Mis-
taken friends! They have not learned the first lesson in the school
of affliction. Ah! little do they think, that, while the bosom is
swelling with anguish, it is no time to address the head with
novel and dry speculations. Little do they imagine, that the
most effectual sympathy, we can afford, is when "out if the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." I do not say
this to complain of my freinds. Heaven be praised! I have
had all the consolation, which can be derived from sympa-
thy. My parish in particular have for these eight months
quite overwhelmed me with kindness. I feel almost oppressed
with my obligations to gratitude from the fear, that I shall
never properly discharge them. Oh! my friend, I have had
an example, you will permit me to whisper it, I have had
an example in my dear departed wife, which gives me still
greater grounds of despair. How can I ever attain her re-

Notes and Questions

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This letter is written 20 months after the immediately previous letter in the provided correspondence sequence to Abiel Abbot. Letter forms are beginning to change. The author no longer uses the 'long s' to begin words, although it is still used intermittently elsewhere as a nonterminal letter. These changes will be more apparent in the next letter, written 16 years after this letter.