Poor Family Papers, 1791-1921. John and Lucy (Tappan) Pierce. John Pierce to Abiel Aboot, 1794-1817. A-132, folder 3, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

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Your questions with respect Miss E. W. I am happy to answer. Although, as you say, I have had larger acquaintance with the w[...] since I recommended her so highly, I mu[...] sincerely say, I have not altered my opin[...] of her, but for the better. She has lately [...] addressed by a considerably rich merchant [...] Boston. He is handsome, posseses a most r[...] taste in dress, and has apparently, every q[...] cation to please those, who expect happiness [...] high life, equipage, and show. But, in con[...] be it spoken, I feel persuaded, he is not the [...] for Miss E. His bearish airs can not please [...] taste formed by the best authors, and his [...] sipid conversation would be a pitiful su[...] tute for that good sense, which distinguish[...] father's family. Indeed I have had an inti[...] tion from one of the family, that she is a[...] to dismiss him. How happy should I be, and [...] agreeable would it be to our common fr[...] Eben. could she be the partner of my valu[...] friend, Abiel.

You inquire, "what profession would be [...] "able." I am persuaded, she would prefer the D[...] As to your "person", I will not reply. I will [...] if you will but propose to her an alliance, [...] almost ensure you success. At D. I read to [...] what you said, respecting her brother Willia[...]

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Answered May 4. 95. No. 7

Played a little upon the clauses, "most agreeable impr[...] by the way" --- "kindred soul" -- on reading my letter to [...] third person - on a connexion with E - religion a neas[...] qualification in a partner- on my prospects -my plan[...] day of ordination

No. 6. Leicester. 24 April, 1794

8 To be left in Post-Office, Haverhill.

{ Stamp} { Stamp}

Mr. Abiel Abbot, AB. Haverhill.

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of gratitude burst from her eyes. In the course of conversation, I remarked the humble situation of a clergyman. As she suspected no design from a person, whom she heard was engaged, she frankly declared it the most agreeable condition of in life. I mentioned reading part of your letter. You may think, I have betrayed confidence. But I am certain, you will excuse me, when I assure you, I read it with a benevolent design. Do, Abiel, call at D. and think of what I have said. You cannot think, how my feelings are interested. Write me your sentiments upon the subject, as you were not explicit enough, when you proposed it. I hope, you will not think, one I was so simple, as to read to her your last letter. By no means. I boast greater delicacy.

I congratulate you on your agreeable prospects. Pray, write me every thing, repecting your plan of life. &c. Indeed, whatever you write will afford me pleasure.

In my vacation I visited our "Alma Mater." My mind was agitated with the sadly - pleasing recollection of past scenes. I attended the Spring exhibition. The performances were ----- agreeable. The poem "on fancy" by Prentiss almost outroared fancy herself. The English Oration on retiremnt by Hulbert, was a well written essay and will probaby gain him an oration at Commencement. In the tutors, I recognized our friends Stearns, Popkin, & Hedge. Popkin is just passing through the ordeal of College spunk. Pardon my metaphor. He has made some complain of his rigor. But he is "determined to do right and despises their oppinion of him."

Excuse this scrawl, written under the fatigues of a journey, and believe me with much sincerity, your very affectionate Philos.

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No. 7.

Leicester, May 27th. 1795.

Brother William,

I, last evening, recognized with infinite satisfaction a beloved friend in your No. 7. Tho it afforded me a rich fund of pleasure, I could not but regret its tardy conveyance, as it was credited at Haverhill Post-Office May 5th. That I incur not the imputation of unfriendly neglect, I can assure you, I have sent to Worcester P.O. almost every day, this month. I must conclude, therefore, it was retarded by the inattention or forgetfulness of some Post-master. Not hearing from you sooner, I had concluded, that your approaching ordination so engrossed your thoughts, as to suspend, for a while, the offices of friendship. In consideration of this, I had determined on an early opportunity to make another draught on your patience, to see, if I could not tease you from a too inordinate anxiety. But why should I attempt this? You are about to be consecrated to an important, a sacred office. Well may you "pray that, "he, whose yoke it is, may render it easy and light" to you. I am highly pleased with your determinations respecting your mode of preaching, and the employment of your time. Too may, I fear, there are, who make a trade, even an easy trade of preaching the Gospel; who think one Afternoon, with what time they can get on the Sabbath, sufficient to prepare for religious performance on the Lord's day. Hence I apprehend arises, in a great measure, the growing neglect of religion in many places. The people, observing the indifference of their teachers, think they may easily dispense with what appears so unimportant to them. I have more evidence on this head, than I could wish, or dare to communicate. I think, I have before informed you, that many of the principal characters in this vicinity are strangely inclined to -- at least a neglect of religion. On the other hand, I could give you some instances, where the ministers, by a close attention to duty, are blessed with a well-disposed, well-informed, and religious people.

You begin your letter with manifesting a curiosity to know the name*, "at least the initials," of the Dulcina, who has claims on my heart. I thank you for taking so much notice of what so

* The name of the wife of Nabal, the Carmelite; the translation of the Greek word, ἀγάπη with the last letter in your Christian-name doubled, will give you her name in full.

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highly interests me. I fear, you think me too hasty on a subject of such vast importance, considering the uncertainty of my prospects. This last circumstance, I confess, weighed in my mind. But when I considered the danger of losing a "kindred soul," my affection prevailed over my diffidence, and I was led, with the sincerity of a true lover, to ----------------a declaration. Don't laugh at my frankness. To you I feel safe in committing my most confidential affairs. The rather, as I have indubitable evidence of your friendshipy, and flattering hopes, that you will indulge me with the same freedom. This object of my undivided ----------- lives at M. 20 miles to the Westward of my native place. Last fall, she attended the Academy. I had been informed by some good friends, that she was a fine young lady. This made but a faint impression on my mind, as I had determined not to offer my hand to any lady, till I could point to my situation. As her excellencies are those of the mind, it was four or five weeks, before I distinguished her from the other young ladies, who attended my school. I, indeed was pleased with her progress in study; but no opportunity of forming an intimate acquaintance with her presented, till, finding her anxious to visit a sister, with whom I was well acquained, I offered myself as a gallant. (This might appear singular to you, were you not informed, that it is common for ladies 15 to 25 years of age to attend this Academy; and we frequently find them the best companions for our leisure hours.) In this visit I found; she was every thing, that is agreeable. After this no opportunity was omitted to find out her disposition & character. Being assured of her excellence, I procceded, as above mentioned. I will give you a few particulars of her. She posses a soul, formed for religion, tho far from being inclined to gloominess. To this good quality is joined an exquisite sensibility, which lead to participate the joys, and sorrows of her acquaintance. She discovered this disposition in a stricking manner, while at the Academy, which endeared her to the people in town. A neighboring domestic was taken sick with a dangerous fever, and lay on a deathbed at a distance from all her relations. This young lady was so moved at her situation, that she almost constantly atttended her, till her death, and appeared as much grieved for , tho a stranger, as if she had been her sister. I could write you many pages more on this subject. but I cannot persuade myself, that it would be as agreeable to you, as pleasing to me. If you wish to hear any thing more respecting her, you will find me sufficiently verbose at our interview.

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I rejoice to find you so well disposed to E. You say, " I wish only "to be satisfied that she has a soul for religion and a heart for me." I will almost assure you, that she professes both these qualifications; and I shall construe your intimation of repeating a visit to D. as a promise to go & examine for yourself. I have not heard from my friends at D. since I left them; but I shall expect to hear by the very first intelligence, that the mercantile bean is left to seek a mate among his kindred butterflies. It appears to me, as to the article of religion, you can never find a family better disposed. I was exceedingly pleased to hear their encomiums upon the clerical order, when I was last at D. Were they less sincere, I should almost have suspected them of flattery. I think it a great proof of the Eq's sincerity; that he always counts the society of the clergy, and invites such numbers to visit him. O! 'Biel, you can't imagine how happy I should be, could the bonds of our friendship be more closely still allied by your connextion with Miss E! Could you have observed the pleasure visable in her contenance, when I read your letter, and the avidity with which she swallowed every syllable, you would not have indulged the idea, that "it [ ]la[...]ed" you" in a point of light neither advantageous nor just."[...] [...] real in the cause, and, however ridiculous it makes me [...] [...]pute it to the purest motives.

Next Wednesday is your ordination! May you be su[ ]ed on this solemn occasion, and may the reflection, that you are set over a people so happily united make your duty your delight. Write me, the very next day, every particular of the ordination, and you will lay me under indispensable obligations. I thank you kindly for your invitation to attend. It would make me too happy. After Commencement I shall be free from the shackles of a school. I anticipate great pleasure in seeing you with my other friends at Camb. and depend on you accompanying me to D.

You will gratify me so much as to allow, that, this is a dull, unconnected letter. I do not think apologies necessary among friends; but if I did not think this even worse than my letter in general, I should not say, that it was written by scraps, partly in school, and was interrupted by an unusual flow of avocations. But "A friend will bear a friend's infimities." That every happiness may be your's both in public and domestic life is the fervent prayer of your affectionate Philos.

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