Letter of Phineas Fish to John T. Kirkland

Reverend Sir,

I have delayed making any communication to you on the subject of my mission here, from the circumstance that very little has occurred to make up matter for a letter. But as Esq. Gideon Hawley, expects to call upon you, I thought I would sketch a few lines, just to give an idea of the situation of affairs.  My course of labours here is much the same as heretofore, only as I endeavor to visit the people more in their dwellings and try to inculcate moral and religious instruction by familiar conversation, adapted to their capacities as much as possible. I wish also and hope to be able to pay more attention to children and youth. I am convinced that early education of children and free conversation with all descriptions of persons are necessary to secure the greatest advantages to them from preaching the Gospel. I wish I could say more in commendation of the Indians, than their present condition warrants. I have not accomplished what I hoped to have done. Many of them are in a worse state, than when I first came here, owing to a variety of causes. Yet I hope, I have not laboured altogether in vain. Those who have professed religion, almost without exception continue to live conformably to their obligations. For several years past there has been no addition to the church, except two who were recommended from other churches. But now we have a prospect of three or four, who appear qualified and express a desire to be connected with the church. I think I can perceive the good effect of the attention I have already bestowed upon the young. Some of them appear to be sober-minded and I hope there will be yet greater numbers. Esq. Hawley can give you more particular information respecting the state of affairs here, if you think proper to question him on the subject. Should you have any advice to offer or any instructions to be pursued in the performance of my duties, they will be gratefully received by your much obliged and respectful servant.     

Mashpee, January 25, 1826

Reverend. Dr. Kirkland.


Reverend John T. Kirkland, D.D.

For Gideon Hawley, Esq.