This letter was written by Rev. James M. Davis who was the minister of the Congregationalist Church in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, from 1845-1851. His pastorate is remembered for a member of the church being excommunicated for the crime of adultery.
Rev. Davis wrote the letter to Professor William Cranch Bond (1789 – 1859), an astronomer who served as the first director of the Harvard College Observatory.
Addressed to Professor Bond, Cambridge College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
January 11, 1850
A number of clergymen and laymen in this place and vicinity disagree as to the question “whether half of the present century is now completed” — some maintaining that it is and some equally intelligent maintain it is not and will not be till 1851. We have concluded to leave the question with you and abide your decision. Please respected sir, to give us your opinion and the reasons on which it may be founded. An early reply will greatly gratify & oblige a large circle of the friends of science.
In behalf of the others, your most respectfully, — James M. Davis, Pastor of Cong. Church, Woonsocket, R. I.