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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No. 7. Leicester, 27 May, 1795.

To be left at the Post-Office, Haverhill. N'7 { Stamp} { Stamp} 8 Answered June 12

Mr Abiel Abbot, AB. Haverhill.

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No. 8 Leicester, June 3.d '95.

Rev. Sir,

I congratulate you on your happy settlement in the Gospel ministry over a united and welldisposed people. You are now, without doubt, revolving in your mind the solemnities of the day, and the importance of the office, into which you are inducted. Methinks I see you in the company of a few chosen friends; but yet so absorbed in meditation, as to be scarcely able to render yourself sociable. Chesterfield would say, that nothing can atone for absence of mind in company. But on such an occasion who could command himself? I shudder to think how unprepared I am, how exceedingly slow is my progress in this sacred profession! Within a year begin to preach! Impossible. I shall not be prepared. A clergyman, to whom I made this complaint, the other day, told me, if I waited to get ready, I should never preach. Perhaps, then, within a year or so, I may have an invitation to preach, and attempt it, to the hazard of writing two sermons a week. My stars! What could I do to two discourses? My barren imagination would sink under the burden. But why do I trouble you with my complaints? I cannot expect you to relieve me of them.

You need nothing to render you happy except "more virtue, more knowledge, and a companion." The two former you are constantly accumulating. The latter

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O! let it be E.W! I know not what would have been the consequence, ere now, had I not esteemed her too deserving. Mistake not this for love. We cannot sincerely love but one. Call it the next to love, and I am contented. Think, how happy I should be to have a dear friend connected with one, for whol I have the warmest friendship.

Yesterday I attended a musical entertainment at Brookfield, for Fiske's parish. The music was both instrumental and vocal, performed by the most noted musical characters in this and the neighboring towns. The number of performers was about sixty. There were three bass-viols, a bassoon, three violins, half a dozen flutes, a clarinet and a hautboy, to regulate the voices. The pieces were mostly modern, American productions. Denmark, Amesbury, &c. were, however, were performed to show how infinitely we are exceeded by Europeans in musical taste. Among the musicians, and as a performer on the clarinet I with pleasure recognized our brother Baxter. My heart beat in unison with to every note he played. Brother! Methinks, there is something uncommonly alluring in the term. We may feel the ardor friendship for those of the same society. We may be closely allied by similarity of profession. But a union with sisters souls must form a more endearing tie.

Next month, Heaven support me! I

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expect to commence the study of Divinity. My face now turned toward Cambridge. I have thought much on the subject. Do give me your opinion, with your reason, for and against studying at C. and with some private gentleman. You have tried both situations, and can give me important advice. From present view, I confess a preference to my Alma Mater; but there may exist inconveniences in that situation, which I do not realize. Classmates Fletcher and Whitney advise me by a no means to study at C. Can it be that[ ] they wish to diminish the number of candidates at College? Charity forbids me to decide.

I will not forbear to mention to my benovolent friend the havoc made among the youth of this vicinity by the by the canker-rash, as it is called. In many instances 3 or 4 have died in a family. Its rage is, however, abating. In some small towns there have died to the number of 30 and 40.

Do give me every particular of your ordination.

I am with much cordiality your sincere Philos.

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No. 8. Leicester, 3 June, 1795.

To be left in the Post Office, Haverhill. June 9 Way 12h { Stamp}

Rev. Abiel Abbot, Recieved & answered June 12. 95 In No. 9, Haverhill.

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No. 9. Dorchester, July 28th. 1795.

Brother William,

You see by the date, where I am. Soon after parted, I rode to M. and carried letters to Rev. Mr P. with the prospect of studying under his direction. Unfortunately for me, the number of his students and the unfinished state of his house rendered it highly inconvenient to admit me into his family. Considering the fame of this gentleman, the pleasantness of the town, and its proximity to my Lavinia, you may naturally conceive my disappointment. This fails my second plan. Will not the world think me fickle? My mind, however, is fixed upon a third plan, a dernier resort; which is to board at my father's, and solicit the patronage of Mr Harris, Messrs Mores and Oliver Everett (cidevant clergymen,) and in short of every one, who has books to lend and a disposition to communicate. In this I expect your approbation,

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