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Stockbridge, 7th Feby 1782.
We were sensibly affected by the news of the
unhappy illness of poor Bille; and very sincerely sympathise
with you and your afflicted family under this trying dispensati
=on of divine providence. May you experience those consolations
and supports which arise only from a lively view and conviction
of the wisdom and perfection of the divine government. And, may
you and your children learn submission to Godís holy will; and
be engaged, under every trouble, to take sanctuary in
the name of the Lord! Our last accounts from Deerfield
were more incouraging: May God perfect his hopefully begun
We have lately been alarmed for Stephen. He had a
fall, in the barn, which for some time deprived him of all remem
=brance of what he had been about: and though he seemed, in other
respects to have his reason, yet for near the space of an hour, he
knew nothing of any fall that he had had, or that anything
ailed him. The effects that we feared however, did not take place:
and soon, again he appeared as well as usual.
In other respects I am still exercised about him. He ought
now to be at his books; but we have no school: and I am not
able to send him abroad. I hope we shall, by and by, have a
school; but I know not when. I beg the power of your advice
respecting him; my poverty being such that I cannot do so
much for him as I could wish.
His behaviour is very orderly and dutiful: he inclines to read,
and we supply him with what books we can.
Wishing you the divine presence and supports under
all your trials, with cordial salutations to you and yours,
I am, Dear Madam, Your Affectionate Friend & Servt
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The recipient of the letter, Esther Williams, was Mrs. Thomas Williams of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Her husband (1718-1775) was half-brother to the wife of Stephen West who had settled in Stockbridge as minister. This marriage strengthened an established Stockbridge connection with the Williams family. Two sons of Esther and Thomas: William Stoddard (b.1762) and Stephen West (b.1769) studied in Stockbridge and became physicians. The two names mentioned in the letter, "Bille" and "Stephen" might refer to those two sons.
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Letter to Esther Williams
| author Stephen West (1735-1819)
| date Feb 7, 1782
| location Stockbridge, Massachusetts
| height 12.5"
| width 8.25"
| process/materials manuscript, paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L99.147
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