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    Isaac Watts Autograph Letter Signed "I. Watts." Three pages, 3.5" x 6", London, April 25, 1729. Watts, the great English hymn writer sends this lively and witty letter to Reverend Mather Biles [Byles], a grandson of Increase Mather, of Boston. In part:

    "I know not what returns to make for the Poems in manuscript and in print which you favor me with. I have published none these many years but the enclosed, which I know not whether you have seen. 'Tis the only copy that I have had left this 12 month, for it has been long sold off. Give me leave as that has had some experience, Sir, to entreat you that the gayer Airs and mirthfull Turns of some sorts of Poesy may not so far posess your Spirit as to take off anything of that Gravity that becomes your character, since I have heard that you are a Brother in the Ministry. I was in danger in my younger years, and I bless God that he has so far preserved me. I can hardly excuse to myself the writing an Ode with so little of Religion in it at my age as that which is here enclosed. If I had any embers of the Muse's fire left it should be consecrated to Piety; and I am well assured that Lyric Odes are most suited to awaken the pious passions, to which end I thank God I have devoted far the greatest part of my verse."

    Isaac Watts (1674-1748), known as the father of English hymnody, corresponded often with Mather Byles (1706-1788), himself a wit and author, who, during the Revolutionary War, remained true to the English Crown. Watts' letter is written in bold ink and affixed to the pages of a small notebook (4" x 6"). A previous collector has written biographical notes of Watts and Byles on other pages of the notebook, also affixing a newspaper article that includes the transcription of the letter.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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