Correspondence from Grace (Cook) Denny:
I write this as an explanation of some things in your father's last will a copy whereof is now sent you whereas you will see that the codicil alters several gifts in the will You must understand the cause of that was because several of you had received the value in your father's lifetime but this you will find pretty plainly expressed in the codicil but then there are some gifts quite altered as you will find that you may not see a reason for as that the overplus after discharging the debts and legacies was to have been to three of you children that is Thomas Daniel & Deborah now the overplus is by the codicil given to me which you at a distance may suppose to have been a great advantage to me but if I had given up all and renounced my Executorship and gone away with only my annuity without a bed to lie upon I count I should have been better of it but then perhaps things could not have been so well made out as they are now for though I am but a poor manager I know how to manage some of the affairs perhaps better than some others I desired that nobody should be a loser by your father and for ought I know I have paid all that anybody could justly demand if not more for where I thought money had been owing us I have had money to pay Indeed I did not pay one man that had a demand The reason was this it was a balance of account betwixt your father and he and I had heard your father say in his life time that he would not pay his bill for he did not know that he owed him one farthing upon a just account else I had paid him without any scruple however I gave him a meeting and we compared books and I found by the books that there was if any difference rather money due to me But things had been of such a long standing and some without date so that we could come at no certainty However I offered to put it to one or two honest men and agreed to stand at their determination in order to which the man was to make further inquiry about the matter and then come to me again but he never came and is since dead Thus much about paying debts as Executor But there are some other things want explaining as first why the hundred pounds of which son William was to have had the interest is (nearly a page of the original correspondence marked by these parentheses is mutilated) to let you see that the letter of Attorney is by a turn of property in Mr Cutting made to Mr M of your brother Thomas so that you must when you send it give me orders to keep the money to pay that which I borrowed to pay for your goods
COMBS 18 Feb 1719
DEAR SON DANIEL
Yours of 13th Dec came to my hand 13th Feby with a great deal of joy to hear of your health and the health of my other children It found me and the rest of my family here in a comfortable measure of health I had waited a long time to hear of you and had sent away some letters for New England just a week before I recd that I know not to whom to direct by reason Mrs Conally told me she was going out of town She indeed told me that Mr Prince was willing to serve me and mine in that affair but understanding he designed to go to Leicester in order to enter upon a new courtship I was not willing to give him the trouble at least until I knew how that would issue But neighbor Knock and goodman Hervie being to send to their daughters I desired the liberty to enclose one in that which was for Mr James Southgate to you and your sister if she was with you and one in goodmau Hervie's to your brother Sam1 and your sister if she were with him I know not whether this or the other may come first to your hand but if this come first you may desire your sister if you have opportunity so to do to break open Mr James South gate's and take yours out and seal it again I write this because you seem to intimate that you are come away from Leicester in that letter You will find I was under the same concern as before because I had no letter from you but now that yon tell me it was only a backwardness in you and own it as a fault I forgive it and am daily hoping you will not any more in my life time be again guilty of such a fault You tell me you think some of my letters have been lost or miscarried which I am sorry for I dont find but that I have recd all that have been sent to me from New England but I want a friend at London to take care and see that mine are put aboard a ship that sails directly for NE for that I suppose they may sometimes be put aboard a ship that goes a trading voyage or sometimes put into a ship's bag that is not to sail for some weeks or it may be some months These it may be the reasons why some of my letters come so slow You tell me that mine of the 20th is not come to your hand but I believe your brother Sam1 has it I wrote about 8th July as I remember In that I gave you an account of daughter Denny's death &c I wrote to Sam1 in answer to one I had from him when he came back from Leicester I wrote again in answer to your sister's to me it had no date but suppose it was wrote in July Mine in answer was put aboard 8th of October and my porter told me the ship sailed that day They were directed to Margaret Southgate at old Dr Mather's for the reasons abovementioned In that I gave you an account of my coming back to Combs &c The contents of yours was very surprising I think both Mr Prince and your brother Sam1 had forgot I was living I do not blame your sister for I had told her that if she was not Mrs of herself I gave her leave to have him rather than lose her life for him I presume she did not let him know that I am not at all lifted up at the high post and great things he tells me she is advanced unto No far be it from me I have been convinced that such things are rather dangerous and troublesome snares than comfortable happinesses both with respect to soul and body Neither poverty nor riches but goods convenient seems by the Prophet's request to be the happiest life I wish if it had been the pleasure of God he had settled at Hingham I should have been much easier and as it seems to me they much happier but it was not to be so I think she is now in a very difficult place My heart aches when I think about her I pray God give her grace and wisdom that she may in all things adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour That alone that satisfies me in this affair is that God is the Almighty disposer of all persons and things to whom I hope I have been enabled to commit her and have chosen him to choose for her as was most for his glory and her good and I desire to hope in his mercy who is able to perform all things for her but oh alas I am ready to mistrust and be caring and caring for her and you and the rest Oh may I be persuaded and enabled with respect to myself and every one of you to live by the faith of the Son of God even with respect to soul and body Oh may we all trust ir him at all times and pour out our hearts before him who a l ne can be a refuge for us your sister tells me she hears a good character of son Sana's wife for a sober woman which I am glad to hear I pray God to bless them and make them heirs together of the grace of life You tell me that you want to know about the land that fell to you Your brother had your letter of Attorney but you spake of coming over so we did nothing about it judging it best you should do it yourself which the Steward of the court agreed to. And as to sending goods over I think it much better for yon to carry them over with you and I hope by that time the passage will be safer for here is great talk now that peace is at hand and then I hope his Majesty will take a fresh care to curb the pirates We had it lately in the news that they are very busy and take all the ships they can happen of and for this reason I am in fear of your going a trading voyage I pray God direct you for the best Now if you want money I was thinking you might take Mr Watson's money which is in your brother Samls hands He said he made no use of it and would be glad to be rid of it so I thought it might do very well for you to make use of it and so when you come over you might either pay Mr Watson here or else pay it back to him at your return if it please God to spare your life and return you safe and if not I suppose you have enough there to answer it to your brother so that he will be in no danger pray give my love to him and his spouse unbeknown I have just wrote to him and when I receive a letter from him intend to write again God willing Here is abundance of people besides your relations say they long to see you We have often looked and looked hoping to see you but all in vain and here are some talk of going back with you and I for one if I live so long but then I must live with you and may be you will by that time have an housekeeper of your own and so will have no room for me and if so then I may not go over for your sister is married so I cannot live with her nor do that fine town suit me Your brother is married so I may not live with him nor have I a mind to live with a daughter in law But why do I talk of living with this or that relation when my advanced age loudly speaks my death to be apace aproaching Old must die but young may Oh may you and I be found ready by an implantation into Christ and so being clothed with his righteousness and thereby being justified we may have a title unto and having the sanctifying operations of his Spirit and grace purging and sanctifying our hearts and natures we may be meet for the inheritance of the saints in light I told you in my last that here have been a great mortality Your Master Mills and his wife are dead Master Fenn is dead My sister Whincopp and her oldest daughter died both in about a fortnight Mr Gosse of Brainford is dead and abundance more in this and the town adjacent And iwV here is a great death of cattle both cows and hogs Itft supposed to be the effect of the very hot dry summer scarcity of meat and want of water both summer and winter though we have water now pretty plentiful having had some floods yet very lately there was cracks in the ground so big that a man might put his foot in indeed since the summer and I know not but it may be so still and ditches dry up again as if it were summer The earth is so dry within that the judgments of God are abroad in the earth Oh may the inhabitants of the earth learn righteousness We have had a very open winter in the general and 3 or 4 times a light in the northeast and northwest rising up and playing as a great blaze of fire in an oven and with an appearance of smoke betwixt us and the appearance of blaze But those times that I saw it the appearance of it was like the light of a candle for paleness but my son's man being upon the road with his wagon about half an hour after 12 at night I think in NOv 1719 began to see the same appearance and it was then very red and amazing and held until the day broke We had also last winter or rather last spring an amazing appearance of fiery light which the beholders partly through surprise and partly by reason of the dazzling light could not give but a very imperfect account either of the manner or place where it began to appear or in what part of the heavens it made its progress or where it disappeared I was no further an eye witness than as I only saw the light of it as it glanced in at our windows What these things may portend God only knows May we be prepared for all the events of providence If we have interest in the all wise disposer of all things and may have his presence with us whether in the fire or water all will be well But I must hasten to a close The neighbors &c send their service to you and the rest wishing you all happiness If you have opportunity you are desired to ask her that was Rebecah Hervie if she desires her sister Mary should come over to her She seems resolved for to do it if she desires her so to do when you return especially if I go with you And you may also inform yourself about the price of tanned leather and sole leather both at Boston and Arrowsick and whether there is a tax excise or duty to be paid there for leather imported or brought from other countries I write this because your sister Green say that if I go over so will she and so shall your brother Thomas Indeed his trade as all others here is very bad a trusting trade and the country poor and not too honest and many of his debtors not too willing or very able to pay and the duty must be paid sell or not sell and whether ever the leather be paid for or not so that he finds it pretty difficult for butchers &c must have ready money nay many times money beforehand and the trade seems as if it might be worse instead of better for there have been talk of a new tax is to be laid upon leather so upon the whole I do not know yet how many there may be to help Myself and all my affairs I leave to the All wise disposal of Providence according to the following directions cast both thyself and thine affairs on God with perfect trust and thou shalt see with patience the effect both sure and just But this we must be ever willing to do for without the help and assistance of our glorious Lord we can do nothing but sin against him and provoke the of his Glory Thus the time calls me off I must conclude committing you to God and begging his Spirit and grace may at all times be afforded you that he would direct you in your ways and grant that to you that may be most for his glory and your good both for soul and body I am your loving mother to my power.
This answered the 3 of May 1719/20 Mr Daniel Denny
The following letter was copied from the original by Parkman T. Denny retaining the original spelling and punctuation Most of the other letters are from copies made by Joseph A Denny from the originals
HAUGHLEY Feb 18 1723/24
DEARE SONN DANIELL.
Yrs of the 25 Nobr came to my hand on the day of the date of this it came to me by the way of bury from yarmouth whare madam Lorkin now lives I understand by a letter from madam that mr Lorkiu would have seen me and sonn Thomas but time being short and something else in the way have prevented our seeing him indeed madam was so kind as to lett sonn Thomas know that her sonn would be at Ipswich on the 19 instant in the evening at the kings head in his Return to London but alass the small poxx have Raged soe much there that I dard not advise him to goe upon noe account soe that I must content my selfe with hearing from you onely by letters some of which have come very slow as I hinted in one of mine to you however I am gladd to Rec any and would desire you to wright a few lines to me now and then as long as I live I rejoyce to heare of your helth and the helth of your spouse and children and in particular am glad that your dear little boy takes soe to learning if it be the pleasure of God to use him in the sacred worke of the ministry I hope one way or other he will in his providence make out a way for a sutable edducation for him had I abbillity I thinke I should be willing to assist in it but you must accept the will for the deed I am sorry to heare things goe soe bad in the affairs of the Churches I pray God the candlestick may not be Removed out of his place I find by yrs that the congrega tionall intrest much declines I pray the most high to plead the cause that is his own as I judg that intrest is wch I heare is declining at presant however may you my deare children and old neighbours be of that happy number who sigh and cry for the abominations that are committed in the land the case is indeed very threttning and was as it seem to me the immediate forerunner of the misserable destruction of Jerusalem daniell 9 27 later part of the verse weh is Referd unto mathew 24 15 16 &c may you be enabled to keep close to God in such a declining day seek meekness seek Righteousnes it may be you shall be hid in the day of the Lords anger Zephaniah 2 2 later part begg strength that through Christ you may be enabled to Resolve with Joshua that what ever others doe yett you and your house will serve the Lord may you be inabled to sett the Lord always before you may he be at your Right hand that so you may not be sinfully moved Commit y1 way unto the Lord trust also in him and he will dyrect yr paths and bring that to pass wch he see best for you and most for his glory may I and all mine be inabled first to seeke the kingdom of God and the Righteousness there of and then in the use of lawfull and honnest means to depend on God for the addition of the things of this life I have lately been incouraged by reading that scripture whare it is said turn at my Reproff and I will power out my spiritt upon you and my blessing upon yr ofspring I hoped I had Reason to conclude that both my selfe and you my children are the offspring of such parents as God had enabled to turn at his Reprofe and soe had incoragement to plead with God for the best of blessings for my selfe and you even to plead with him who is a godhearing prayer may you continue to Read the scripturs dayly and begg daily that you may Read them with understanding Right application and due affection may it please the most high to make the Reading & hearing his word purely preached a means of quickn ing and sanctifiing to that end begg we may Rec it in the love of it and in the authorrity of it least we provoke the Lord to send us strong delntions to believe a lye &c wch Judgment it may be thousands of this sinf nil laud are now in danger of as is Reported a certain man named woollston have put out 4 books of blasphemies against our Glorious Saviour he have indeed Recd a slite punishment from the Gouvanment and one of the bishops and some clergymen have appeard and printed against him and some desenting ministers particularly one M Landner wch booke is very much to the purpose and unanswerable yett it is feerd abundance of our Gentry are too much pleased with itt as being full of witt and drollery as they call itt but the sacred scriptures are not to be drolled as they will one day know I pray that if it is the will of God they and we may have Repentance given by him who hath said all sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto man if not wrath will come upon them to the uttermost Oh may you and I have our faith keept close to the scripturs that sacred word of the Great God whome I begg to enable us that with purpose of heart we may cleave unto the Lord and not deny his name oh we need to be kept by his almighty power through unto salvation for by reason of our weaknes satans subtilty the sinfullness of our natures we are in danger of head heart errors and life errors oh begg for faith to live with faith to dye with without which tis imposible please God praying almighty God to bless you both and make you together of the Grace of life may the increase of yr family be blessing to you both may you both be inabled to bring them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and be very watchful and carefull not to sett any bad example before them for children are more apt to imitate the failings than the examples of their parents it have been and is a very sickly dyeing time in this parte of the world the small poxx carried of many and many dye very suddenly off what is not known well and dead in a few hours Mr Green of Fram lingham died of the small poxx have been dead some time but I forgett how long old goodman Hervie and his wife I heare are both dead and goodman Damsey and his wife I heard were like to dye but whether living or dead I know not I desire you to give my kind love to my old neighbours I now and then heare of them by my son and daughter Prince I wish all helth and happiness to them and theirs I thinke I told you that she that was Mary Southgat is dead the widow Southgat have been ill with an ague a long time her children I thiuke are well the oldest was heer yesterday the youngest daughter was at London in a very good place the son is at service in the country I sent your brother Thomas your letter to me but whether he cann doe any thing for you or not I cannot tell I think he and his family are now pretty well but have been very bad with ague and feaver he named two children of your name but it pleased God to take them both away through mercy I enjoy a comfortable messure of helth son and daughter Peirson are now pretty well but the three children are now ill with coughs and agues and indeed the 2 boys are seldom both well the girl is more helthy son Wm and family were lately well and also sister Welham at this time as far as I know but have had a great deale of illness within 2 or 3 years & co2en Catty two who have had the ague a good while This with my deare love to you both and also to your children and love and service to you both from son and daughter Peirson I remaine your loving mother to my power
MILDENHALL July 5 1727
DEAR SON DANIEL.
Yours of the 7th of May 1726 came not unto my hand until June or latter end of May 1727 for that it was about a year in coming to my hand However I was glad to see a letter from you though it was long in coming but by reason son & daughter Prince have since the date of that at several times been so kind as to let me know you were well when they or either of them write to me I was the less concerned I am always so glad to see a letter from my children You tell me in yours of the loss of your first born and that loss being in part made up in the gift of another concernning whom I wish with you that as he bears his Grandfather Denny's name so he may have like precious faith as he had which I doubt not but is now swallowed up in vision and his hope in fruition I suppose before this you have another added to your family Son Prince in a letter to son Feirson let me know your spouse waited her time but I have forgot the exact day of the date of that letter but think it was latter end of April I sent you a letter about the 15th of Sept 1726 and as I remember another in Feby 1726 I hope they are come to your hand Through mercy I am now in a tolerable measure of health though still under some indisposition but nothing but what is common to old age I have had an uneasy left arm great pain and weakness so that I was unable for to be drest and undrest for many weeks I desired to submit to the pleasure of God but feared I grew weary of his correction May it please his Majesty to fit me for his will and pleasure in all respects I was afraid I should not have been able to write to my children any more my lameness grew upon me so fast but through mercy I can still write though with much pain Through mercy my children here and at Combs with other relations are well so far as I know as I hope these will find you and yours Oh may we be enabled to bless God for all his mercies Blessed be God for all bis preserving mercy in the time of War and that he has now given peace to you in that land and that peace is continued in these nations notwithstanding we have lost King George yet we are still in peace and King George the Second have given great assurances that he designs to maintain the civil and religious rights of all his subjects have taken the oath to preserve and maintain the Church of Scotland as by law established and there seems to be a very good understanding betwixt King and Parliament but the present Parliament is quickly to be dissolved and how the new election will issue we know not We are a sinful and unworthy people deserving the worst but mercy pleaseth our great preserver So there is encouragement for us poor sinful creatures to pray and wait for mercy still though unworthy of either for soul or body Pray give my kind love to your spouse and son and to your neighbors Tell them the widow Southgate and family were lately well Your brother Thomas have buried his youngest son whose name was Daniel Your brother Ws youngest daughter is near her time if not brought to bed He is I think grown pretty well again and keeps school in Battisford I go where he is sometimes out of the noise William Manning is dead Was much concerned about his soul and died advising his brother to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ of which never any repented in a dying hour Oh may you and I be found of that happy number who are enabled to repent and believe the gospel To that end pray daily to him who is exalted to give repentance and pardon and who is the author and finisher of faith and make the Scriptures your daily study This with dear love to thee my child and son and daughter Peirson's service to you both I am your loving mother
I have a little mind to know what your spouses Christian name is and whether you now live in the same place you did when your sister lived with you so no more
To Mr Daniel Denny
MILDENHALL Jany 5th 1727/28
DEAR SON DANIEL.
Yours of the 30th of May last came not to my hand until about the 20th of December As you remember however I was glad to see another of your writings and that it left you then in health with your spouse and children and through mercy I had heard of your health once or twice since the date of that by daughter Prince who with her consort are so kind that they always tell me how both Samuel and you do and also how my old neighbors do when they write so far as they then trow for which I am much obliged to them and I desire to be thankful to that God in whom our breath is for that comfortable measure of health which from time to time I had heard you enjoyed together with your spouse though you had a very long and dangerous illness since I saw you and your spouse was also brought very low in her first lying in yet it pleased God out of his infinite goodness to restore you both again and that your spouse had been carried through two dangerous times since and comfortably restored to health and strength again when many in that case travel to their long home Oh we should bless the Lord for his mercy endureth forever and not suffer his benefits to slip out of our minds more especially if we have good ground to hope as is mentioned who forgiveth all thine iniquities and who healeth all thy diseases I pray God the increase of your family may be for the enlargement of the kingdom of the glorious Jesus and that you and your spouse may not be wanting on your part I desire you both to endeavor to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and may you teach them the fear of the Lord and back your instructions by setting them good examples which the good Lord help you both to do Now as to your child's name I am as well pleased with it as it is as I should have been had it been Grace and better for my name being given me on a particular account I neither named any of mine nor desired any of mine should name any of theirs of my name However I am obliged to my daughter your spouse for being desirous it should have been of my name I count it was to show her respect to me though unknown I am very well pleased to hear your son is of your father's name which is a name I always liked and as to the place where you lire I think you told me last year you thought you should fix as you home and not move again but now you speak as though you were inclined to remove again I pray God to direct you for the best I cannot give my advice about it being both ignorant of your reasons and at a great distance from you but I think if we are middling as poor Caty Read used to say we had as good be content as we are lest upon changing we change for the worse but I have this to say if you remove be sure you do not remove from the means of grace for what is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul In speaking of the gospel as God's ordinance we go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and as such we should value all and as such daily attend upon it for how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation or the appointed means of it for if we desire to obtain the end we ought to use the appointed means else we trifle with God and are in danger of ruining our own soul and the souls of ours that is our children &c.
Now as to what you tell me of the state of religion with you I am much concerned about that I fear a division I fear lest Satan have got an advantage whose maxim is divide and overcome God has mercifully given you peace with a cruel and merciless enemy and now oh now you are divided amongst yourselves and the apostle says where contention and division is there is every evil work I tremble as it were for you my children and old neighbors and the rest of the people with you whether good or bad for such a hardship as this has a tendency to chain the power of religion amongst the good and to harden others Oh it is an awful saying of a poor criminal at the place of execution who says that there was a division amongst the church where he attended and which led to his ruin Division discourages prayer and preaching and every good work. Where there is division there ministers and people often leave off praying together and for each other and for the rising generation and for the success of the gospel And as for preaching that is like to be of little use if persons have a prejudice against their minister I have seen oh I have seen more than one or two that have indulged sleep and did not care to be awaked even when the minister had been preaching very good doctrine and eo preaching became in vain to the hearers unless God of his great mercy take off the prejudice as it pleased him once to do to all with me I being at a friend's house The minister that preached at their meeting was a person against whom I felt a prejudice and I went to hear more because I would not be seen to refuse going than out of conscience that I might be profited by hearing for that I did not expect But when he took his text which was the word preached it did not profit not being mixed with faith with them that heard it Then I quickly saw cause to turn my eyes inward upon my own heart and so my prejudice went off But where it does not please God thus to deal prejudice puts an end to edification and to conviction and conversion too for where the religious part of a people slight the preaching or the preacher poor sinners are apt to turn off all impressions that are at any time made upon them by the word preached and prejudice against a minister too often prevails so far that it ends in dismissing him which is very dreadful as may be seen in that awful text he that despiseth whomsoever I send despiseth me saith our Saviour and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me Luke X 16.
Now it seems plain to me that God had sent that minister whom he had made use of for conviction conversion and edification Oh have a care and remember the leprosy of Miriam Numbers XII 10 though herself was a Prophetess and Moses own sister yet for despising Moses though faulty she was smitten with leprosy Ministers are but men but earthern vessels yet God has put his treasure in those vessels Elias was a man subject to like passions and Jonas an angry prophet but yet both prophets of God and we are bid not to rebuke an elder but entreat him as a father and instead of espying one another's faults and blaming each other if persons would confess their faults one to another and pray one for another that they might be healed may be both ministers and people might be enabled to live more to the honor of God and the good of their own souls and be more beneficial in the place where God has set them.
But I speak not these things as charging you or my old neighbors with being guilty in these respects but as my beloved children and friends I warn you having seen in my day the gradual leprosy of divisions I hope your differences may by this time be composed and desire it may be so in all other parts of our country May the people of God be of one heart though by reason they know but in part They are not of our way which I judge most agreeable to rule yet would be a companion to all them that fear God and as the difference between them and the Presbyterians at first was but in one particular worn out The Presbyterians allowed a power in the elders or messengers of other churches to determine the matter the other wonld have it that a church might call the elders &c of other churches to advise with but the power of determining was in themselves for which reason they were called Independents But I must conclude I pray the late awful earthquake which I heard was in II H may be so sanctified to God's people as to be a means to reconcile their differences and useful to poor sinners to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God I pray God that neither ordinances nor providences may be in vain to any of us Last week I heard from most of your near relations here Through mercy I have enjoyed a comfortable measure of health ever since I wrote to you last which was about 1st of September 1727 Brother Denny died as 1 remember the beginning of October I do not know what day I was not at the burying None of this family were bidden which son Peirson resented pretty much but I was easy You were born November 30 1694 Thus with dear love to you and spouse and babes begging Almighty God to bless you and yours in all respects I am your loving mother to my power
Mr Daniell Denny Mass
HAUGHLY Sept 29 1730.
DEAR SON DANIEL Yours of December came to my hand as I remember Feb 18 17 which I answered about the 25th of the same which I hope is come safe to your hand since which I have not received any from you nor writ any to you excepting that I sent my love to you in mine to son Prince in July which was in answer to his to me dated May 1 by which I then heard you were all pretty well which was pleasant news to me I through mercy have enjoyed a comfortable measure of health for the most part for many months past though not without some disorders attending old age I pretty generally have a cough and have been told I am consumptive but as long as I continue hearty to my victuals it do not much prevail and through mercy I am hearty to my victuals for the most part Daughter Peirson was brought to bed of a son about 26 August who is since dead A little before the death of the babe we had a sickly family daughter had something of a fever nurse was taken ill Also Mr Cheifer's maid servant and the girl who helped to nurse the children but now they are through mercy well After that my cough came to be pretty violent and I found such an inward faintness and weakness that I had reason to think my dissolution was at hand but through mercy I am bravely recovered again May the renewing of my life be spent more to the glory of God than formerly We are now well in this family except the youngest boy who has the third ague Relations at Combs are but ill that is son Wln and wife and son Thomas knee is out of order again so that he cant walk as far as Stow and his wife has been indisposed a great while The rest I think are pretty well Grace and her husband are now going to live in your sister's little house at the hill the fields that are part of her joynture are laid to that so as the rent is 17 a year Richard Hayward went out there now this day into Barons his brother Thomas being dead and Robert Martin Richard's brother I learnt is married to Thomas Hayward's niece and gone into Cumberland I should be glad to hear that the contentions and divisions are over with you about your minister They have cost me many a sigh and according to my poor measure have put up many requests to him who is a God hearing prayer to heal the divisions and keep you and yours and my old neighbors from the evils that generally attend contention and division We are not fit to pray when our spirits are inflamed and yet then we have most need we are not fit to hear for we should with meekness receive the ingrafted word which is able to save our souls and our grand enemy gets advantage aye great advantage upon us and we then give place to him Its very difficult to be angry and not sin The Lord pardon what has been amiss in your hearts and lives and carry on his work in you and yours where it is begun and begin it where it is not begun May we all be enabled first to seek the Kingdom of God May his government be set up in our souls and the righteousness thereof viz the righteousness of Christ imputed to us for the justification of our persons and his Spirit granted unto us for the sanctification of our natures and the conveniences of this life be added as is most for his glory and your good is the prayer of her who is your loving mother to my power till death
My dear love to yourself spouse and children and my respects to my old neighbors desiring the best of blessings to attend you all people are pretty much ill and many die My neighbor Southgate is dead have been a mighty good harvest season but not BO plentiful crop as last year yet all sorts of grain is very cheap so farmers cant so well make it out land is letting BO Daughter's love to you and your spouse Son is not at home.
HAUGHLEY Sept 20 1731.
DEAR SON DANIEL.
I hope these lines will find you your spouse & children in health especially in your souls if not oh may you be found fleeing to the great physician for cure and be not afraid to apply to him for he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them and I have heard tis not only an ability of power but of readiness and willingness Oh may we all be enabled to come to him aright and then we shall not be cast out We must not think to bring any worthiness with us but come naked and undone as indeed we are It's the great command of God that we believe in him whom he hath sent Oh may we be enabled so to do Faith is the gift of God Oh may I and all mine have this gift bestowed on us that to us to live may be christ and that to die will be gain When our hearts are overwhelmed within us as may be it might have been is now or may be your case as well as it has been the case of your poor mother may we then be led to the Rock that is higher than we even to the Rock of ages as prisoners of hope even to him whose name is a strong tower whither the righteous flee and are safe and we must apply to him to be made righteous both with the righteousness of justification and sanctification May we seek the Lord and his strength and seek his face evermore Amen
Now as to the case of Leicester with respect to the minister I should be glad to hear the difference is well ended and that you have an able minister settled amongst you that is enabled so to live and so to preach as instrumentally he may save himself and them that hear him Now as to the case of your country with respect to the difference betwixt the General Court and your Governor I have been much troubled about it thinking it looked with a bad aspect every way but of late I hope I have been enabled to commit the case to the allwise disposer of all things since which I have been easy He can bring good out of evil light out of darkness with him I desire to leave it Now as to the case of myself and family in Old England it stands that son Wm and family were lastly in health but go on but poorly as to the things of this life and as to the concerns of their souls I am ignorant but fear however I ought always to pray and not faint Tis said his wife made away what she can to Suke and that she and her husband take but a poor course to live They have two boys the oldest is named John and the youngest Wm Denny Grace and her husband viz Thomas Francis tis said take a course to live tis said she makes a very good wife is very tidy and makes the best of what is under her hand that a ragged colt makes a gx d horse They live in the little house where your brother reen died and the land that your sister is jointered in is laid to that little farm Son Thomas is pretty well as far as I know I heard of him last week but his wife has been ill a long time and one of his children viz Samuel and lately all the four children had the measles but as I think are all got over it again but the mother held ill still As to the family where I live they are at present pretty well only the second son by this man has the third ague and has had it off and on 3 or 4 years As to myself I am through mercy stirring about but have always pretty much of a cough which at times abates and then increases again as is the manner of a consumption I reckon mine a slow consumption which is with some other disorders gradually wasting me away but mixed with abundance of mercy I can still for the most part walk about the yards and fields I cant some days I at times walk in the whole a mile or two in a day I think it best for me so to do as long as I can I also have a good stomach to my victuals and am much refreshed in eating but if I fast long I am sometimes so faint I know not how to live I did think in the spring I should not have lived to get on May Hill as they call it but I am now better than I was in the spring through mercy Now as to the season of the year we have had a dry summer and the spring was also dry so that the poor cattle have suffered for want of grass and water and it was feared the corn would be a very poor crop but now the harvest is over they find the crop of corn especially wheat better than was feared and corn is now very cheap which hurts some farmers pretty much It has pleased God to send a very fine harvest season I think as ever I remember Oh may the goodness of God lead us to repentance and by his judgments may we learn righteousness As to Battisford meeting it held a pretty full meeting as long as Mr Boumond lived but is now almost lost I lately heard Mr Goss and the Baptist party were trying to get supplies for once a fortnight and Mr Goss to get two to their one but it is thought he cant hold it Give my love to my old neighbors Mrs Southgate and her family I think are well Her son is a servant here but I think will go away at Michaelmas he is something wild but carries it handsomely to me Deacon Harrion has been at death's door with a dropsy but I hear he is better again Both his sons are ministers the oldest at London the youngest is assistant to the Congregational minister at Colchester I think I have not been at Combs but once this 7 years its almost a new town by death and removals Both the Martin Robinsons are dead My neighbor Southgate and William Root are dead Robert Martin lives at Kimberly Hall and is married to Thos Hay ward's kinswoman Tlnr Hayward is dead I think her name was Betty Farrold Justice Bridgman and Mr Hammond are both dead and I suppose more that I do not know of W Southgate your old shop mate lives at Mildenhall they viz he and his wife are sober people of a good report She taught a school Your sister's children have gone to school with her when their healths and the season permitted I know not whether I told you that Mr Cross is dead and that V his oldest son is a wild young man as too many are here in this land Sin & wickedness prevails and religion and even morality are come to a low ebb May it be better with you Oh may you be enabled to sanctify the Sabbath The Sabbath is almost lost here so tis no wonder we grow so bad Another thing I think is much wanting here among professors is a want of religious conversation a want of family instruction & family worship Oh may you and your spouse be heirs together of the grace of life May your children be the Lord's children and your servants his servants that your whole family may be the Lord's which is the daily prayer of your poor mother I have not received a letter from you a long time even so long that I forget how long but I think it wants but about a quarter of two years since I received one from you Indeed I have once heard of you by Steward Southgate's letter to his cousin Mrs Betty Southgate and your brother & sister Prince used to tell me in their letters how you do but they have also almost left off writing to me The last I received from either of them will the next month be a year since the date of theirs Thus committing you to the most high God possessor of Heaven & earth I am with dear love to you all your loving mother
HAUGHLEY, Mar 26 1732
DEAR SON DANIEL.
I hope these lines will find you and your spouse and children in a comfortable measure of health through mercy they leave me though I have still my cough am not this spring so inwardly weak and faint as I was spring My stomach is very good and I can stir about a little. My hearing is impaired but my sight is still so good that I can read without spectacles if I have a good print and suitable light and am writing this without spectacles These are great mercies for which I ought to be very thankful The family where I live are now most of them pretty well except the apprentice who it's feared is falling into a consumption The two little boys are pretty often ill and Billy has been ill lately but they are now pretty well Your sister is not very well adays but there is a reason for that Relations at Combs that are living were generally pretty well except son Thomas wife who is seldom well But death has prevailed there In the night betwixt the 3d & 4th of December son William's wife died The day before he buried his wife whom he buried very handsomely though not extravagantly he was taken ill with what he thought was a colic in his stomach he was ill on the funeral day and did not go to the grave with his wife His illness continued and prevailed he was apprehensive he should die and made his own will He was his own Doctor and for ease took a pretty deal of sleeping medicine and yet his senses continued to the last He expired the 15th of December about 8 at night He came down I think every day and died below in his dwelling room Sister Welham was with him and his children and I think a neighbor or so He took a glass of something and drank to them all at once and desired to go to or towards the door to which they led him but before he got to the door he reeled upon which they sat him down on a seat and he expired presently I understand they asked him in the time of his illness if he had not a mind to see his mother his answer was she can t come she can t come but seemed something fond of Thomas but he was not with him when he died being gone to Bury from whence he sent me word his brother was very bad Son Pierson and daughter went next day to see him but he died the night before just about the time I received the account from Bury of his being so bad When son and daughter came home I said 2 or 3 times is my son dead At last son Pierson said yes he is gone I said if his soul be safe all is well He said he understood there was some grounds to hope his soul was safe Something he declared to sister Welham & something to Thomas and I was glad of a crevice of hope Poor man his life had been a very uncomfortable one for the most part of it and had he lived still it seems to me it would have been a fatiguing life on many accounts But he has gone from all things here and our times viz yours and mine may be very short in this world I advise all my children to take such notice of this providence as to be stirred up in the first place to seek for what will stand you in stead in a dying hour and before a judgment seat Oh seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof and shun everything that has any tendency to make a death bed uneasy To die is a work by itself and such a work as we have need have no other work to do Oh labor to make your calling aud election sure and in the second place endeavor so to settle your temporal affairs as that they may not then trouble you or be any disadvantage to those you leave behind you Your poor brother left his circumstances so much in the dark as that it's a disadvantage to his family I have still more melancholy news to tell you viz that one of my best friends also died the 31st of December that is my cousin Harrion which is a great loss to me and mine We have lost a praying relation who daily prayed for me and mine His death seems also a great loss to the Congregational interest in London and elsewhere for he was a man whose interest in London was great His funeral text was He was a burning and a shining light &c His two sons are both very promising ministers which he had the satisfaction to see before he left the world I have also lost another desirable friend viz our Mr Ellington who was son Pierson's apprentice who when his time was out went to live at London and was very serviceable to me in all respects particularly in taking care of my letters for NE But he is gone and now I am at a loss how to send He had thoughts of settling in NE but the person he had placed his affections upon was not willing to cross the seas upon which he having the offer of a place to set up the apothecary's business at London where he was mightly beloved he had just entered upon it a few weeks and died so suddenly that his mistress who is Mrs Southgate's oldest daughter nor his other relations in the country did not hear of his illness till he was dead Indeed I believe it is their and my loss not his He was a very pious ingenious kind and affable learned young man and I question not his happiness But I must conclude after that I have told you that I am something concerned that my two sons in NE have left off writing to their aged mother The last I rec d from you was dated Dec 30 1728 even 3 years ago last December if I mistake not Since I received that I have written I do not know how often But to conclude my time being gone with love to you and all yours viz spouse and children & kind respects to my old neighbors.
I am your loving mother to my power
HAUGHLY Sept 14th 1733.
DEAR SON DANIELL.
I once more give you the trouble of a lines but whether they will be acceptable to you I cant tell have writt and writt again and again but have not Recd. any from you of several years that I remember it is some affliction to me that I have outlived the love and respect of my children but may be I have some way or other given you offence & that is the reason of your silence if so I aske your pardon though I doe not know that I have yett I may and not know it tis one of the most difficult things in the world to know ones selfe so as above I aske yr pardon for whatever offence I have given you I am now in the 78 yeare of my age and cant in reason expect to be long in this world and if you keep resentment till I leave the world may be you will have some melancolly thoughts wch you have not now but may be you have writt and your letters are miscarried I am willing to think the best and should be glad to Rec a line or 2 once in a while I have indeed heard of you by Mr Prince and your sister and by your brother Samuel who tell me he see you the latter end of June and that you and your family were then well and that you had then 5 children 2 sons & 3 daughters I was glad to hear of the health of you and yours which I beg may be continued & that you and your yoak fellow may be heirs together of the grace of life & that all your children may be taught of the Lord and be his children & that your servants may be his servants & that you both may have wisdom given you from above to direct you in all things & in particular that you may bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord giving them good councill restraining them from vice & setting a good example before them & may the most high bless you in your basket & store & give you the good things of this life soe farr as may be most for his glory & your good is the request of your aged mother Pray give my kind respects to my old neighbors & tell Mr Richard Southgate that his old servant blotted Miller is now the preacher at Battisford one Lord's day & at Biddeston on the other with great approbation I heard a person say that he delivered such good matter and in such handsome language and with such a good voyce as it might be thought almost a miracle considering what he was a few years back and now I have mallancolly news to tell viz that good Mr Hicks is dead he was seized with a lethergy on his return from his own country was brought home in a coach I think on Friday and died on the Lords day following was buried in Denton meeting house in a place where himself chose in the time of his health bis funeral sermon was preached by the Rev Mr Heard of Bury out of Genesis 5 24 a great number of people attended his funerall who made great lamentation he left an extraordinary good carracter behind him and p1 of his carracter is said to be that he was an exceeding accomplish man both with respect to grace & learning but himself did not know it but he is taken away from the evil to come The case of the nation is very malancolly our high people are exceeding high & it is thought there is some grand design on foot they strick openly against Sr B W ll but its thought they design to wound if not to kill his great master they insinuate that both houses of p are bribed to act for the court interest the names of whigg and torye are out of use now tis said to be king and country and thus they putt out the eyes of the people whilst they pretend to open them they now digg deep to hide their councill from the Lord but he behold it all but whether he will again turn it headlong who can tell Many a time has he delivered this land but we have highly provokt him by our multiply11 transgressions soe that he may justly turn to be our enemy and fight against us May we be fitted for whatsoever his pleasure is Now aa to the common affairs of the nation things are very discouraging land is rented very dear & its produce very cheap they talke of 8 shillings a Comb for wheat & other things pretty much in proportion soe that farmers cant hold it much longer unless those that have estates besides their farms Yr brother Pierson tooke a lease of this farm in wch he now lives for 6 years 4 of which are just now expird so he must hold it 2 more & then if he goe away but worse than when he came into it twill be better than he expected Now as to the state of my health I have been as well as could be expected since that illness I had in the spring (which I gave you an account of in mine of the latter end of Aprill) though I have always a cough and some other complaints common to old age and now for some days a little disorder in my head & stomach thus abundance of mercy is mixt with light afflictions This with kind love to you and your spouse and dear children I subscribe your loving mother
OLD NEWTON 24 April 1738.
DEAR SON DANIEL.
These may serve to let you know that both myself and those relations here are at present in a comfortable measure of health also that those at Combs were lately pretty well which are great mercies The winter has been open and the weather very changeable and now the spring begins to be very sickly and persons are ill but a little while and then die I pray God fit us all for what is appointed for us to see or suffer May we be built upon the Rock Then though storms and tempests come upon us we shall not be overthrown I have not rec da letter from you a great while only have heard of you by Mr Prince & son Samuel but they write but very seldom I have reason to think every letter I receive from any of you my distant children may be my last I am entered into the 83d. year born in 55 of my age and am declining I am somewhat weaker lately and more deaf I had this spring 2 or 3 of the ague and took the bark and so it went away but daughter feared it's return but through mercy I hold well but my advanced age forbids me counting to live long am like a tottering wall which a little blasting wind may overturn yet design to write to you my dear children twice a as long as life health and sight be continued and would be so often at least to receive letters from all of you I thank for telling me in yours the names and ages of your children were then born but I think you have more now and when write tell me the names and age of them all I pray God bless them and make them his in an everlasting covenant is ordered in all things and sure and I beg it may please to enable you both who are their parents to bring them up in nurture and admonition of the Lord We have sustained great loss in the death of the excellent Queen But the reigns and I think things are carried on in the Government they used to be The difference betwixt the King & Prince not yet reconciled that I heard but whether it do endanger state policy time must unfold We are told the Princess is lie in in June Pray give my kind love to my old neighbors tell them their relations here are pretty well I think or at were when I heard of them which was lately Many have died that you know which when I know of I think I write this to my distant children but when I come to write have forgot who and what only now I remember that old Thos Rought and his wife are both dead and many others at Combs and those that 1 forget who I am desired to go to my son's Combs for a week to see all my relations there once more so from thence to Watchfield for a while as I have desired to do that so I may be near a meeting which I have desired to do some years past and hitherto have been prevented but now it please God and life and health be still granted I think shall go in a few weeks in so doing I must expect not to be well of it in some respects as I have been in this family I have rec d so much kindness both in health and sickness fourteen years but I think it my duty to attend upon preaching of the word as long as life and health be continued but now I am so far from a meeting that I cannot attend very seldom for journeying does not very well agree with me and then I belong to that church though unworthy but while thus write I ought to remember I am upon the brink of grave and may remove to that instead of going elsewhere hope you enjoy the preaching of the word in its power purity and that you and yours duly attend thereupon it God's ordinance for the beginning and increase of faith which 'tis impossible to please God or benefit our own souls. There are so many errors broke out in this bad age that we need to beg to be kept from all filthiness both of the flesh and the spirit had need beg to be kept by the mighty power of through faith to salvation nothing else will do it I have encouraged by that Scripture promise for myself and mine Isaiah 44 3 I hope I and all mine are the seed and of God's people also of that in 19 Luke 10 I am sure we all of the lost number May it please the Great Saviour seek us up & save us to the uttermost even bless us in every one of us from Acts 3 26 our iniquities may our hearts may give us repentance and pardon there is suitable good and enough in him to supply all our wants in respects May we have grace from him to apply to him we be his and he be ours May we be supplied with grace him to serve him and live to him and may it please him stand by us in a dying hour Thus begging the best of for you and all yours and love and service to you all I your loving mother
GRACE DENNY .
Copied from the original in the possession of Miss Mary McFarland.
old newton march 2d 1736
deare sonn Daniell
these may serve to Lett you know that I am bravly Recover11 out of a greatt illness I was taken ill the 2d of Oct 1736 should be 1735 and held me aboute 15 weeks I had some Reviveings but Relapst againe and was brought very low yett a great deel of mercy was mixt with my affliction I had not much paine nor much heart sickness yet had a complication of distempers viz feavour worn a violent cough shortness of breath and a little Dropsicall I had the advice of a docktor and tooke abundance of medicine but the distemper prevaild and Life was despaird of for sum time but through mercy I am Recover11 beyound expectation considering my advanced age I now want but about a week of 81 also considering how long I was ill and how Low I was brought I had a fresh experience that all our dependance is upon God if we have ever such a plenty of food and Raiment w in themselves are Great m yet we cannot Rec any benifitt by them unless it please to bless them to us even our sleape w h is the nurse of n will doe us noe good of itselfe the Little sleape that I in my illness for some time did me hurt it made me faint and ill but through mercy by taking night drops got sum Refreshing sleape I was obluidgd to take them ag while but through mercy I cann now sleap without them I now have a prety good appetite to sum particular sorts of diet whereas before I one line worn out I could not take a spoonfull of wine nor cordiall nor scarce any thing to support me when I was yett soe faint for of support that I could but Just Live soe that what I want is a thankfull heart and Grace to enable me to Live a thankf to the honnour of the God of my mercys the Little time I have yett to live in this world I find I have such such a deceitfull & wicked hearte and such a corrupt natur that I want to be saved from my selfe as well as from the Devill and the world and am crying out with ana Reason then paul O wreched creture that am who shall deiver me from this body of sinn and death but wo nott be discouraged ing there is who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob to h I desire to be ind ed to flee for Refuge and with him to Leave my soul and to him to bring the souls of every branch of my numerous family for salvation even all manner of salvation not being willing that any one should perish but that all may come to the knowledg of the truth he is that onely saviour who can save us from our sins wch is a great parte of salvation he can save us from the Love and Liking of sinn and from the dominion of sinn from the guilt and punishment from the filth and defilement and at Last from the being of sinn oh therefore pray that we all may be inabled to aplye to him in all our wants who is able to save to to the utmost all that come to God by him I mett with this passage in a sermon that for us to complain of our multitude of wants and yett not applye to the blesed Saviour for supplys instead of humility is Rather pride I pray God to bless you and yours with the best of blessings may they be taught of God and soe be inabled to come to Christ soe as not to be cast out and may you be inabled to bring them up in nurture and admonition of the Lord take care to keep them from bad company and be very carfull to instruct them in the principles of true Relidgion and dayly to Read Gods word w011 may make them wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus also indeavour to make them mind the saboth and attend the preaching of the word and I pray God inable you to sett them a good example and pray with them and for them &c thus I have once more writt to all my distant children wch is more than I thought I should ever doe more yet had a mind when very ill to have pen inke and paper brought me just to wright a Line to give my Love to each of you my distant children and soe sumbody else to finish the Letters when I was Dead but it have pleased God to spare my Life to wright to you my selfe pray Give my kind Love to all my old neighbours and tell them there near Relations heer are well as far as I know & soe are yours heere and at Combs onely one or 2 children have ague and colds soe I conclude with due Eespects from Relations heer to yon and all yTM I subscrib with my deare Love to you and your spouse and children and am yr Loving
mother till death GRACE DENNY
Dear sonn I thinke I have not Recd a Letter from you of three years I have I think for the most parte writ t twice every yeare in that which I writt Last Sept I desird yon to aske your sister prince a question and give me in wrighting what her answer is but I have Recd. none
Copy of a part of a letter written on the back of the above by Daniel Denny.
honnoured and dere mother these after my duty to you are to let you know that I together with my family are in a comfortable measurer of helth at this time thanks be to the god of all our mercyes I have Receved several Letters from you for which I give you my thanks the which with pleasure and delit I often due Read and now I return you my harty thanks for your good counsill and ad vice to me therein given and I pray the god of all grace to give me wisdom and grace duely to pay a due regard thereunto so that it may not be as pearls cast before swine and may he who is the stay and staf of the aged espetially of those who put their trust in him and of his elect and chosen be your stay and staff and may he grant unto you the comforting influ ances and Consolations of his holy sperit together with an undouted interest in his covenant marcyes and the Redemeing Love of Jesus Christ to your soule and o may your love your consern and your tender Regard to and for us your children be blessed of god for good to us and may your many prayers to god at the throne of grace for us be heard by him who has him self a god hearing prayer and may he grant to us the sperit of grace and suppilication that together with your prayers we may strive to enter into that rest which remains for the people of god and may we be enabled to fly for refuge to Lay hold on the hope set before us that so we may Lay hold on eteruall Life.