The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University reproduces the letter here:
William Shippen to Sarah Pierpont Edwards,3/22/58. ANTS, f. 1756-59C, #1-2. Addressed on back to "M rs Sarah Edwards / at / Stockbridge."
Princeton March 22 d 1758
Most dear & most worthy Madam
I am heartily sorry for the Occasion of my writing to you by this Express, but I know you have been informed by a Line from your Excellent, Lovely & pious Husband, that I was brought here to Inoculate him your dear Daughter Esther, & her children for the small Pox which was then spreading fast in Princeton; and that after the most deliberate & serious Consultation with his nearest & most religious Friends - he was accordingly Inoculated with them ye 23 d Day of last month & althô he has had the Small Pox favourably, yet having a number of them in the Roof of his Mouth & throat he could not possibly Swallow a Sufficient quantity of Drink to keep off a Secondary Fever, which hias proved to many for his feeble Frame, and this after- noon between two & three o’clock it pleased God to let him sleep in that dear Lord Jesus, whose Kingdom & Interest he has been faithfully & painfully Serving all his Life & never did any Mortal Man more fully & clearly evidence the Sincerity of all his Profession, by one continued universal calm, chearful resignation & patient submission to the Divine Will through every Stage of his Disease than he not so much as one discontented Expression nor the least appearance of murmuring thrô ye whole —— and never did any Person expire with more perfect freedom from pain, not so much as one distorted hair but in ye most proper sense of the Words, he really fell asleep - for Death had certainly lost its Sting, as to him; and a very short time before he expired, he Spoke to Lucy to ye following purpose dear Lucy it seems to me to be the Will of God that I must shortly leave you & therefore give my kindest Love to my dear Wife & tell her, that the uncommon Union that has so long subsisted between us has been of such a Nature as I trust is Spiritual and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial & submit chearfully to the Will of God; And as to my Children you are now like to be left Fatherless which I hope will be an Inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you; & as to my Funeral I would have it be like unto Mr Burrs, and any additional Sum of Money that might be expected to be laid out that way, I would have it disposed of to charitable uses —————
Your Daughter Burr & her children through the Mercy of God are Safely over the Disease & she desires me to send her Duty to you the best of Mothers, she has had the Small pox the heaviest of all that I have Inoculated & little Sally [far the] lightest she has but 3 in her face - I am [sure] it will prove serviceable to her future Health. She thinks it will be highly Necessary th[at her] Brother Timothy comes here directly to look after & settle his Fathers affairs ———— I conclude with my hearty prayer that [...] may be enabled to look to that God, whose L[ove &] Goodness, you have experienced a thousand [times] for direction & help under this most afflictive Dispensation of his providence; & every other Diffi- culty you may meet with here; in order to your more perfectly fitted for ye joys of heaven hereafte.
I am dear Madam Your most Sympathizing affectionate F d & very h le Serv
W m Shippen