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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as I imitate your example. My intention is to devote but little time to society. Great self denial, you may well imagine, I must exercise, or devote myself too much to Esq; W's family. That cordial reception and polite treatment of friends together with domestic enjoyment which ever dwells in that household, are irresistable temptations to one, who consults merely his happiness. I hope, however, when my friend Williams pays his an- nual visits there, I shall be able to participate with him, at least, some of his pleasures.

After our last parting, I returned to the company, and, presenting your farewell, endeavored as much, as possible after such a loss, to resume sociability. There was soon the addition of several gentlemen and ladies. But conversation seemed to grow formal, and flag with the increase of numbers. On my taking leave, the Esq; followed me to the door, and with the frankness, which he usually indulges toward with me, related what had passed between him and you. He knew, by your [ ] suggestions, that I was a confident in the affair, and endeavored, I sup-

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pose, to obtain informationfrom me too delicate for him to ask, or for you give. Lest I should do mischief, I avoided telling him even my suspicions of the matter; supposing that you had hinted enough for him, at present, to know.

I will not forget to mention a trifling circumstance, which may make your smile. On a late visit at the Esquire's, as I was sitting with Miss E. in the long entry in a brisk tête à tête, wine being poured out, I was desired by E. to give a toast. Having anticipated one, with the roguish design of betraying her into confusion; I instantly whispered into her ear, May friendship ripen into love. Feeling its force, [ ] not suspecting the artifice, nor how she s[ ] betray herself, she as readily drank ditt[ ] would have been diverted to have seen the various emotions, she discovered, after a moments pause. [...]

I have proceeded thus far, without a word of my visit to my A. Last week is almost lost in my calendar by being devoted to her. Every thing, that promises happiness in a connexion, I find in her. My greatest concern now is, how I shall make her as happy, as she deserves. I mean not to rush into the bands of matrimony; but deliberately to seek a moderate, and retired situation, where I may aspire to domestic happiness. Wherever I may be, oh! let me be esteemed your invariable and affectionate,

Φίλος.

P.S. Do tell me, where you intend to pay your next annual visit. Pray let me see you soon.

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N. 9 Dorchester, 28 July, 1795.

R [...] Ans.d Aug 3. 95

[...] Abiel Abbot, AM. Haverhill.

Mr [...]

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No. 10. D. You know where. August 13th. 1795.

רעמוב[ ] No words can fully express the pleasure, your unnumbered favor of the 3d. instant produced. You see, I have hardly been able to repay your warm addresses in the sacred language of the Hebrews. Lest your Lexicon should not contain such words, as I have chosen for my address, I would inform you, that , in the sense I intended it, signifies Socius, Sodalis, Amicus, Familiaris; and Thûle, Bonus, Suowis, Jucundus, amabilis; and, sometimes, Benignus, Sinis, Humanus, Pulcher. Now, if you can find sufficient signification in any or all of these terms to clear me of the inputation of Stoicism, I shall rejoice at my success in language. I cannot, however, expect to express feelings, which, I feel, are incommunicable thro' the comparatively gross medium of Letters. That you may not, at first sight, throw away my letter, as addressed to microscopic eyes, suffer me to offer in apology, that I feel great compunction for contracting so large, so just a debt, and am determined, at one payment, to discharge all arrearages. As it would demand a quire of my usual coin, you will be pleased to accept this bill, even should it prove to be issued from a suspicious bank; considering that, should you insist on such, as is of undisputed value, you would reduce your debtor to the necessity of stealing.

Had I not the most unequivocal evidence of your friendship, both in our personal and epistolary intercourse; the following sentences in your last favor would seem to me suspicious. You say "There are a few triffles on the side of your friend, which, in his "mind, are arguments of some weight. They address themselves, however, not to the reas"oning part of man," &c. Now the natural and most obvious meaning of these words appears to be, that, should you become serious in your addresses to E. you should suspect me of the presumption of condsidering myself your rival. Fie! My friend could not mean this. He only intended to excite my curiousity by ambiguous, or perhaps, unmeaning expressions. I confess, had I not delcared to you the whole of my soul, you might almost conclude me her professed lover by my warm recommendation of her person, disposition, and character; but when you consider, that I have found one, to whom I have unreservedly pledged my heart, you will not suspect me so mad, as to offer my hand, where, on every consideration, I should have so little hope of success. A few strokes of your pen would set this matter to rights.

I feel grateful for the vaious arguments you use to reconcile me to my situation. At my first disappointment at Mr P.'s, I felt a little peevish, My situation, I find is not only much more favorable for study, than I could reasonably expect; but I have the additional satisfaction of hearing it universally commended by my literary friends. Even several clergymen have declaried it vastly preferable to studying with any minister. With respect to visiting I have adopted a plan of going into company no more, than is absolutely necessary for exercise and recreation. The best authors are not wanting to allure me to stay at home. I have just finished the first volume of Foster on Natural Religion. The author is a liberal soul, and seems to be transported with his subject. Much of his reasoning, and, indeed, of every author on the subject, is to me obscure, particularly on the excistence of God by arguments 'a priori.' Writers on the subject appear to me to impute too much to the light of nature. Our reason is sufficiently feeble with the assistance of revelation. Could we suppose ourselves to derive no assistance from this source, I believe, we should speedily find the necessity of Divine illumination to bring "life and immortality" as well, as

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as many other truths, "to light." Paley's moral philosophy I am now perusing. His reasoning is plain and conclusive. They tell me, however, that his system is entirely subverted by Ginborne. I shall feel very small, if this author disproves the justness of his reason to my satisfaction. Avast!--- I am upon a plan wholly new in our correspondence. We commonly write for relaxation. I am invoking the manes of departed authors. There, I told a lie to complete my period. Paley is still living. But, as I have so much to do, I am glad of any assistance. While I am on literary subjects, I will detail you a piece of information, I lately derived from Pater West. It may be old to you. I will venture to communicate it. You may have heard, that the Hopkinsians build their system of disinterested benevolence almost wholly on that passage in Romans IX. 3. where St. Paul says, "For I could wish, "that myself were accursed for Christ for my brethren." &c. They also depend on this text to keep them in countenance, when they ask the sick, if they are willing to be damned. The word rendered I could wish, you may observe in the G.T. is Ηύχόμην. Now, as this is in the imperfect, indicative, the most accurate interpretation is I did wish;that is, says the Doctor, before I was converted. This may appear, at least very plausible, if not the most just, when we consider that the connexion does not forbid this construction, and that St. Paul was much more devoted to the Jews, in particular, before than after his conversion. I cannot see, on any other interpretations, why we may not be willing to be damned, in the language of the Hops. if it should tend to promote the interest of our friends, much more for the glory of God. I will give you another piece of information, which I, this day obtained from a large Greek Lexicon in my possesion, by Scapula. You may know it already. At College, however, I never could get satisfaction respecting it. The remark is this, Attica dialectus semper passivis verbis pro activis utitur, ut γραφομας pro γραφω : & πσιȣμς pro ποιῶ. I have very frequently observed in Homer, Xenophon, but espcially in G.T. this use of word, and never could account for it. This, I think, removes all difficulties. But I spare you.

We both appear to express ourselves obscurely in some instances. You are ambiguous from design; I from misfortune. By design, do not misunderstand me. You have doubtless, no object, but what can be pursued by means perfectly innocent. You request an explanation of "endeavored to obtain information from me, too delicate for him to ask, or you "to give", in my letter. I believe, I raised your curiosity more, than I intended. You say, "I had scarcely a thought in my heart, which I did "not express to him." Very well. Then there is no meaning in the said clause of my Letter. I supposed, you had been coy, as you are remark-

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ably "timid", and had but obscurely intimated your design. I have since thought, the Esquire mentioned the matter to me, as he knew; by your information, I was acquainted with it, to shew me, how heartily he acceded to your proposal. You may rely on it, from what he then said and from what I have since gathered, that ------ you may guess. Never was I acquainted with a warmer Christian. I hope, on your next visit, you will have an opportunity to know his religious sentiments. They are the very essence of catholicism. You will find him ready, on most points of religion. You will be persuaded, that his religion is not the cold and barren offspring of speculation, but the warm and generous effusion of a heart warmed by practical piety. That he is not hypocritical is almost demonstrable from his courting the society of religious characters, and, at all times, producing those fruits, which are our Savior's criterion of sincere Christians. Need I subjoin any thing respecting his daughter. I will not. My pen would "grow wanton in her praise." Excuse the figure. You take the idea. "The second Sabbath in Sept. I expect to keep in Menotomy. If circumstances befriend, I shall see you." I exult at the idea. My heart will be open to every emotion of friendship. Pray first impressions; the one with modest assurance; the other with downcast eyes, blushing the deepest friendship. To be spectator of such a scene will qualilfy me to become an accomplished actor!

I thank you for the account of your correspondence. My heart vibrated in unison with your emotions. You were kind in appealing to my own experience. I realized every throb. To see friendship gradually ripen into love from [ ] friend to your's entirely ah! and to feel it too! What can be more enrapturing? I wish I could prevail on you to bring E's letters in your pocket book. I will shew you letters, as interesting to me. Come, do now. Let us be confidential friends. It will heighten our pleasure. And I do not see the sin or impropriety; especially as they are, probably on similiar subjects.

At the close of my letter, I will make a proposal, in which my heart is uncommonly interested. I think of attending Providence commencement, which will be on the first Wednesday in Sept. Now, if you can possibly contrive to ride to Dorch. on Monday & spend the evening at---in the bosom of friendship, embark with me on Tuesday, for Providence, attend com. return on Thurs. via M. and see my beloved--you might easily reach Haverhill by the Sabbath. And oh! Hhow we might enjoy ourselves! Think seriously of this. Let no commonly difficulties hinder. Well, my eyes ache smartly, and if you have read thus far, your eyes will sparkle with joy to see the known signature of your

Φίλος.

P.S. Pray write by the young lady, you mention; and sooner, if convenient. This I shall have at the Esquire's, to be delivered to the care of Mr Stimpson.

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No. 10 Dorchester, 13 Aug. 1795.

8

N.10 { Stamp} { Stamp} Ansd. Aug. 26.

Rev. Abiel Abbot, A.M. Haverhill.

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