[The end of the previous letter is not transcribed here.]

To Dr Winthrop and Lady

Plymouth 1774 [Based on internal evidence, we have assigned the date of "after 11 February 1774" to this letter.]

Will my worthy friends suffer me for a moment to in-
-terrupt their grief and in the plaintive language of disappoint-
-ment tell them that while my heart dilated with the near prospect
of enjoying the pleasing converse of friends (justly held dear) in lieu of
those self gratulations, I expected to indulge on the happy occasion,
instead of the welcome visit and the social intercourse of friendship,
I must pour out the tear of condolence and cry with a celebrated Poet,

"Our dying friends come o'er us like a cloud
"To damp our thoughtless ardors---------
"--------- --------- Yet smitten friends
"Are Angels sent on errands full of love.—

If the voice of sympathy could avail, soon should the arrows of
affliction be drawn which now pierce the bosom of the weeping Parent:
but it is not in the power of so feeble a hand to pour balm into the re
-cent wound and administer consolation in this hour of sorrow,- there-
-fore I can only write and mingle my tears with yours. And while
you are paying the tender tribute which nature demands, while
your melancholy ideas are dwelling on the manes of a hopeful
youth prematurely cut down, and perhaps the busy imagination
pursuing the amiable shade beyond the confines of this lower creation

I will heave a mournful sigh for the condition of humanity that
subjects even the votaries of virtue to such painful conflicts. Friendships
cannot stand by an idle spectator, but is ever ready to bear a part of the
ills that light on the objects of her esteem, or at least to offer her officious
arm to bring relief to the bleeding breast and to endeavour to smooth the brow
of grief.

But a mind naturally firm, strengthened by every philosophic
acquirement and above all buoyed up by the principles of christianity, need
not look abroad for comfort under the most adverse scenes of this vain but
temporary existence;- yet has that allwise being who superintends the happi-
-ness of man seen fit in order to promote that end so to cement our affections
towards our Children, that when the tender tie is dissolved it is like cutting
asunder the cords on which life hangs, and nature even where there is the
greatest degree of fortitude often yields for a time to the mighty pressure.
Though the soul may with heroic patience acquiesce in the darkest des-
-tinations of providence may mount beyond the stars and adore the inscru -table hand which to the contracted ken of human views seems to strike indis-
criminately, yet I tremble for the clay tenement and own myself apprehen-
-sive for the depredations, that this blow may make on the feeble fabrick of an
affectionate Father.

I cannot but regret that in your late excursion
you had not first taken this road, for though I might have been an un-
-happy witness of the sad tidings that assailed the ear of my friends my
willing heart would have exerted its utmost efforts to console, whilst
at the same time I might have learnt better to bear those inevitable
shocks of adversity that hang suspended on futurity: unless this
state of restless vicissitude should wind up before I reach that period
which is at once the wish and the dread of almost all the children of

You Sir I know will candidly excuse the freedom of thus
addressing you instead of my dear Mrs Winthrop alone, for you are sensible
it flows from a heart replete with those sentiments of esteem and sympa-
-thy which forbid it to be silent through diffidence, at a time when in-
-clination and duty urges me to offer at least the poor consolation of weep-
-ing with the afflicted.

With Mr Warrens sincere regards to both Doctor
Winthrop and Lady he joins unfeignedly to lament the breach made on
his family. Your affectionate friend subscribes with much respect and
M Warren