This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Reverend and Dear Sir : For more than twelve months past, we, as members of your church and congregation, have profited by your ministrations, and within that period you have greatly endeared yourself to us by your suavity, your amiable character, your earnest devotion to duty, and the hearty interest you have ever manifested in our welfare as a people.
In the sacred desk you have faithfully advocated your religion and ours, have wisely warned us against the evils that beset us in our everyday life, and have earnestly pleaded with us to seek our truest happiness in the paths of rectitude and sobriety.
In our homes you have been our sincere and sympathizing counselor and friend. In our hours of pain and sorrow you have spoken gentle and soothing words to our troubled hearts; our children have profited by your instruction; you have united our sons and daughters in holy wedlock; your benediction has rested upon us in our domestic and business affairs, and in all things you have proven yourself our competent and loving pastor.
With a deep sense of your many benefactions, those assembled here have requested me, in their name, to present to you this watch, as a token of our mutual and increasing admiration and esteem for yourself, and of our gratitude for your labors in our behalf. We ask you, dear sir, to accept it as freely as we offer it; for it is fitting that you who are daily and hourly preparing us for the joys of Eternity, should bear about you this monitor of passing Time, ever marking, as we sincerely hope, hours, days and many years of happiness for you and yours.
Friends and Brethren: Rapidly as time has passed with me since I first came among you, a perfect stranger, you have in one short year become very near and dear to me, and we are no more strangers. On the contrary, you have so freely bestowed upon me your confidence and generosity that it seems as if I had always known and loved you in the bonds of gospel truth. Busy as I have been in forwarding the interests of this church and society, I have received from you so many tokens of esteem and affection that my duties have been greatly lightened, and I have found time to institute new labors in your behalf. At all times your sympathy and encouragement has been freely given, and gratefully appreciated. As I receive this beautiful watch, which all must greatly admire, my heart warms with renewed joy in your service, for it assures me that your friendship is not for an hour, or a day, or a year, but for all time; and it shall be my heart's endeavor to merit in future, with renewed energy, the esteem which you have thus so bountifully expressed. I pray you to accept my thanks for your beautiful gift and the kind words accompanying it. As pastor and people, may our ties unite us closer and closer in the bonds of Christian love throughout time and eternity.