This letter was written by Rev. William Patrick (1773-1862), who graduated from Williams College in 1799, and received his license to preach in 1801. He was an ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Canterbury, New Hampshire in Oct 23, 1803 until 1843. This was his first and only church. Under his leadership the present Congregational Church edifice was built and dedicated in 1825. Rev. Patrick bought land in Canterbury where he lived until 1843. At that time he resigned as pastor of the church and went to Boscawen, NH. He never had a formal appointment again, but continued to preach for several years after that.
Rev. Patrick wrote the letter to Rev. James Hobart (1766-1862) who graduated at Dartmouth College as A. B., in 1794; studied theology with Rev. Asa Burton, of Thetford. The people of Berlin gave him a call to settle as their minister in August, 1798, and November 7, 1798, he was ordained pastor of the Congregational church of Berlin, which position he filled until May, 1829. He afterwards preached in several of the New England states. In the ninety-sixth year of his life he preached well-connected discourses, and was able to walk six or eight miles in a day. He was below the average height, stood erect, and was blessed with a retentive memory, strong voice, and good delivery. In 1804 he married Betsey, daughter of Zachariah Perrin, Esq., of Berlin, and: they had five sons and seven daughters.
Addressed to Rev’d James Hobart, Berlin, Vermont
Canterbury, New Hampshire
February 7, 1844
Rev’d & Dear Sir,
I undertake to write uncertain where you may be, but a subject in which I feel amply interested prompts me to attempt.
I received a pressing invitation from a dear friend & brother in Canada to go and supply the people in the place where he lives. But my circumstances are such that I deem it my duty not to go. His wish is to get some man of age & experience to go into the place and labor at least 3 or 4 months. Their circumstances are truly critical, a small church (mostly from New Hampshire). they had a minister who came from Scotland with whom they were well pleased. He received a portion of his support from Scotland. But suddenly & unexpectedly, he left them and returned to Scotland. They have a meeting house in a good way — i.e. the outside mostly done; but the abrupt manner in which their late pastor left them has proved a discouraging circumstance to those who do not possess the religion of CHrist. They do now exceedingly need some one to go in among them to preach, to advise, and to encourage them to go forward.
Sir, I thought of you, and after consulting with Br. Moody, concluded we knew of no one so suitable, if your health is good and you are not under engagement, to go & assist the little flock of our dear Redeemer. I mentioned your name to Mr. Enoch Goorish, the brother who made the application to me. He lives at a place called St. Amour on Missisquoi Bay. I said the church is small but they are well united in sentiment & harmonious in their little circle. But their spiritual wants are at present very pressing. They need one to advise and to lead them forward in the path of duty.
I suppose they will not be able to afford you a great compensation for your labors. They told me that they would pay my expenses to & from the place and do what more they could. But sir, the greatest compensation which I can now encourage you to expect is the pleasure of doing good. You will find them, I trust, should you go, some who are warm-hearted friends to the cause and who will endeavor to make you comfortable and happy. They stand in some connection with a religious society at a place called Henrysville about 10 miles distant from them. Perhaps they may wish you to go to that place to preach part of the time. Their late pastor preached there some part of his time.
In their own village there is a Methodist Society who they are on friendly terms. There is also in the place an Episcopal Church and it is said the Catholicks expect to erect a church next summer. You see, dear brother, that they are in great need of assistance. They would be glad to have you go as soon as you can, so perhaps by the middle or at the close of next month.
Dear Sir, will you write soon to me & let me know if you can go to their assistance.
Yours in the fellowship of the gospel, — William Patrick