Collections and Personal Papers:

Diaries of Bishop Jesse Truesdell Peck - 1852 Diary

Daily Memoranda
December 1852

WEDNESDAY, December 1
In my study most of the forenoon of today - Went to see the Com. of [___] to ascertain why an appointment was not given to my friend Jackson - Hard work to manage politicians - They seem to have entirely a different set of laws in relative to truth & righteousness from those revealed in the Bible!

Lectured on the Temperance Element in our church.

THURSDAY, December 2
Attended another funeral - a child of Mr. Bayliss First [w___] K H - Began my remarks by saying "If that sweet little girl were mine it nearly break my heart to see her in the coffin, but I should comfort myself by the revelations of the gospel -"

Went to tea with Mrs. P & sister to Br. Barkers - A pleasant family.

FRIDAY, December 3
Had engaged to go today with the agent of the college to call on some of our members to get subscription of scholarships but it rains & I am in my study all day. What a wonder & what a privilege.

Mrs. Dennison [?] an interesting widow lady who is very highly recommended & is without a hope obtained permission to stay with us a week came today.

SATURDAY, December 4
Have reason to doubt whether we shall be able to make ourselves useful to Mrs. D. She seems a real object of charity but her views & feelings are such as to render it difficult if not impossible to do anything for her. But I could not have it said I was a stranger & ye took me not in - Paid the rent of a poor man Dr. J raised half of it spend the evening very agreeably at the home for my dear friend Br. B.

SUNDAY, December 5
Preached this morning on "it is finished" - preparatory to the sacrament - Baptised several children - The sacramental service was one of intense interest - The number of communicants was very large - Many young converts - Power of God upon us from first to last Eve finished discussion

MONDAY, December 6
Spent most of the day in assisting our dear Br. [L___] an agent of Dickinson College in selling scholarships. We shall do something handsome for this object besides the large amount raised for the parsonage & others objects - a noble charge this Foundry charge.

A fine missionary prayer meeting this eve - about 70 out Read & explained from missionary advocate urged to prayer.

TUESDAY, December 7
Spent part of this day in trying to find out the price of some lots - Must try to prepare a little against old age, Dined at Br. Barkers - can have his house & lot for $2800 but can't make the payments perhaps in time we will see. Took tea with several preachers & families at Br. Bs. Was surprised to find wine on the table with desert. Did express my disapprobation.

WEDNESDAY, December 8
Did some pastoral visiting but spent most of the day in my study preparing for evening Lecture topic general rules on slavery buying & selling usury & e. Heavy responsibility - Good audience some curiosity to see how I being a Northern would deal with the vexed question. I believe no "harm" was done - & that is more than can be claimed for most performances on that subject.

THURSDAY, December 9
Took some more pains to find a favorable purchase of lot & spent much of the day in visiting - Our people seem to be on the whole doing well - I find upon reflection this is the day on which we took tea at Br. Bs - I hope our members will not countenance the use of wine at social entertainments.

FRIDAY, December 10
In my study nearly all the forenoon - Went out & called on a Br. & wife both young converts - How thankful they are for grace in affliction. He has been sick for months unable to earn anything but [____]

Saw old Father Lovejoy - one of the most remarkable patriarchs the church affords - identified with the Foundry from its very beginning -

SATURDAY, December 11
A good day but not very pleasant out in the rain nearly all day trying to pay up my little debts in town - I felt most happy to be able to do so. If I do not go into debt again I shall soon be entirely out! How strange the Lord has favored me in everything since I resigned my position in college. Took tea with Br. Keyes & Lady Pleasant.

SUNDAY, December 12
Exchanged this morning with Br. Hamilton - Preached in McKendree Had a full house. Subject sympathy of Jesus, the Lord was with me of a truth People melted down & wept freely as I showed them a sympathizing High Priest - Dined with Br. H.

P.M. preached for colored Presbyterians - On I can do all poor things How glad they were Heard a "mighty weak" performance in my ch. At night from Rev. Dr. J. on "the demise of the great Triumvirate of the Senate"

MONDAY, December 13
Devoted more time this day than usual to reading. I regard my personal privilege as mainly [s___] in the public good. I Know of nothing merely personal which I feel at liberty to entertain for a moment in competition with the claims of the church & the world but I must read & study to meet these claims I have been looking forward to the time where I should be at liberty to spend more time in my study than I have since I came here. I think I may now safely do it.

TUESDAY, December 14
Last Eve. Bishop Ames came to my house spent the night - a very pleasant time. He has many perhaps all of the important qualifications for this sacred office. Went with him to the Senate.

WEDNESDAY, December15
Heard eloquent eulogies on the great Daniel Webster Went to Br. Roszel's with the Bishop stayed to dinner Lectured in the Eve a fine audience for such an occasion. Subject worldly conformity especially "putting on of gold & costly apparel". God gave me strength to speak plainly & I believe all who were there hear with respect & feeling - the prayer meeting after was excellent.

THURSDAY, December 16
Spent nearly all this day in my study but did not accomplish much - Read read too much - could hardly induce myself to desist from reading. An unexpected call from my dear old friend Esq. N. from Sandy Hill N.Y. Glad enough to meet. Some six years since God made me the instrument of his conversion. He seems a very devoted friend.

FRIDAY, December 17
Entered my room with the intention to study my sermons for Sunday but was interrupted by calls - & taken out of my study partly to perform an act of friendship to a poor brother a dear friend & partly to see a little about a lot which it was thot I better buy. Did not buy it - Spent much time in pastoral visiting & saw some dear friends in the Parlor after Leaders meeting.

SATURDAY, December 18
Am again in my study to prepare for Sabbath. Trust by grace I shall be ready.

Time too short but my preparations were thorough - I wished to have a good collection for the bible - Prepared a Sermon on the subject in which I felt confidence - if God should help deliver it - For Evening I took up the passage sent me by Rev. Mr. Hart for his book virtues for families.

SUNDAY, December 19
A lovely morning - for the fifth week it has rained hard toward the last of the week & been clear & delightful on the Sab.

Cong large - interest considerable. God did help to plan the claims of the Bible - A Good collective - Large gathering again in eve - Text "for now all see through a glass darkly - Went in P.M. to see poor Mrs. B. thot to be near death. Poor woman - In two much pain to attend to her soul - In health I entreated her in vain to turn to the Lord.

MONDAY, December 20
Morning spent in reading & went out about 10 with Mrs. P. called our old friends Mr. & Mrs. Ives. He is a member of Congress - We went to other places - found God with us especially at Br. Rs when I called alone. Here devotion & that of her dear husband gives me much pleasure. He is a young convert -

Met Br. Bs. Class - effected a divine - Hope it will work well - Tried to arouse my good friend Mrs. J. to a series of duty.

TUESDAY, December 21
In my study this morning Rains. again. Must time occupied this morning by correspondence. It seems to be nearly lost time but I presume it has its use.

A letter this morning probably provides for Br. Olmsted - a poor but valuable young man for whom I have been trying to provide. His gratitude more than compensates me.

WEDNESDAY, December 22
The first snow of the season fell sometime during the night. A slight skim lies upon the ground & tops of the houses -It looks cold!

All gone directly - glad to see it go. In my early life I used to rejoice when the Snow came bounce into drifts higher than my head with perfect delight - but I have been working further South & now dread the cold.

Lectured on novel reading - seemed to make a strong impression.

THURSDAY, December 23
Had the pleasure of our dear friends Mr. & Mrs Coburn & Mr. & Mrs. Gardner to dine A most agreeable Christian interview. Went to our dear Br. Evans to tea. He has been wading thro trials but thank God he is coming out clean. I shall make him class leader. He is a very nice man.

FRIDAY, December 24
A very rainy day - In nearly all day - Studying my Thanksgiving sermon. Took a little more than ordinary pains. Looks doubtful as to a congregation someday - but hope for the best. According to analogy of past six weeks it will clear off in time for meeting, must try to be ready-

SATURDAY, December 25
A hard night to sleep - before Christmas so much stir and so many fine crackers! Rains a Christmas present of a splendid office chair at a cost of $21.00. I think chiefly through the intermediately of Miss V.G. a choir young Lady - a splendid silver cup from my friend Mr. T - Many other little tokens of love to myself & family. What have I done that I should be thus honored. Preached to a fair audience in spite of the rain. All dined with our dear friend Mr. S - a pleasant time - Rained still - Went to Br. Rs & baptized his dear little child Jesse T Peck.

SUNDAY, December 26
S.M. Thank God it is clear and pleasant as a spring morning. A good audience - Text "Will the Lord cast off forever" & A sermon presented a sad view of the appearances which give rise to the fever that God has abandoned his purpose of mercy to the world.

Eve - finished the dark & presented the bright side of the subject Audience seemed to be very much interested.

MONDAY, December 27
Mond - Did but little seemed inclined to rest - Under took to do something toward laying a plan of a school in Wash. Must yet do something for this obj - The cause of God requires it & I trust we shall see it.

TUESDAY, December 28
A day of very hard labour Rose early & commenced an article for the Beauty of Holiness - on a Holy Ministry - finished it Answered two different correspondents and could only get out in time to call and inquire for Dr. C. go to the P.O. & return to tea at the house of my dear friend Br. D.A. Gardner - Pleasant very.

WEDNESDAY, December 29
Called on Dr. C. took him to see Br Grimes - fear he will not do much for the college - But believe he will try to benefit the church in some other way - May God direct him.

Lectured this eve on doing good to the bodies of men as I sat down a dear brother proposed to make the lecture practical by ranging $50.00 for the poor nearly all raised promptly

THURSDAY, December 30
A day of quiet - Tried to advance a little the project of a school. There is not a single Methodist school in the District of Columbia! It is a shame - a burning shame - a large & wealthy church community, the care of its children to other Denominations! If God spares my life & gives me His blessing it shall not be so long.

FRIDAY, December 31
Spent considerable time after a funeral child of Mr Hooper - with my friend Br. G. who is trying to look in earnest at the question of a Methodist school in Washington. Has authorized me to look but for a suitable lot & mentioned some encouraging things about it - It is my opinion he will make a fine beginning.

Saw this day for the first time a small light stand moving in a circle by laying hands gently upon it - then up & turn in various directions apparently in obedience to the will of persons about it There could be no mistake with regard to the fact - Fanatical people commit the idea of spirits & something supernatural with it. I am inclined to think some occult law of electricity will then develop itself. Must examine it further.

Was called to pray with a poor dying sinner crying for mercy O what an awful scene! May God have mercy on him.

End the year by a watch night. Hon. & Rev. J. Perkins preached & I followed with the Burning tree -