April 5, 1727

1727 April 5 (Wednesday).  I sent to Mr. Fays but was disappointed, and in the afternoon I went away alone; To Mr. Swifts[1] first, the Association not being dispers’d.  Thence I rode to Mr. Peabodys[2] with Mr. Baxter[3] and Wife,[4] and Mrs. Peabody and Mr. Bucknam.[5]  At Mr. Peabodys was Major Quincy[6] of Braintree.

[1]Reverend John Swift of Framingham.

[2]Oliver Peabody, minister of the Indian Church of Natick.

[3]Reverend Joseph Baxter (Harvard 1693), minister of Medfleld, 1694-1745.  Sibley, IV, 146-153.

[4]Baxter’s third wife, Mercy Bridgham.

[5]Reverend Nathan Bucknam (Harvard 1721), minister of the First Church in East Medway (now Millis), 1724-1795.  Sibley, VI, 434-437.

[6]Edmund Quincy (Harvard 1699), Councillor and justice of the Superior Court.  Sibley, IV, 49I-495.

April 6, 1727

1727 April 6 (Thursday).  I rode to Boston to gain Information concerning my Brother, and I was Certify’d that on the 27th of the Last Month My Brother John Parkman was coming in from Anguilla (having been at Barbadoes to which port he came from Cork) in a Vessel built by him at Dighton, And with the Building, fraughted rigged and mann’d at his Father’s his Brethren’s and his own charge.  He was now laden with Cotton, Rhum and diverse valuable articles, no small quantity of Gold, but the Heavy and greatest part of his Lading was Salt.  But that this (27th) Day proving very Stormy they were driven near Cape Ann and finding that all that remain’d for them to do was to shift for their Life because of the Dangers they were come into upon the Rocks, especially being nigh Normans Woe (a great Rock So call’d which they now drove upon).  My Brother endeavoured by the help of the Fore tack, and taking the advantage of the heaving of the vessell, to swing off from the Vessell, if possible on upon the Rock.  But the vessel unexpectedly and Suddenly hove back and brought him into the deep.  The Tumultuating and raging Sea foaming upon him, and frustrating all Endeavours to recover him (though they threw out Ropes to him that slip’d through his hands and though the Mate had him once by the hand as he came along by the fore Chains) Swallow’d him up, and he perish’d in the Deep.  Alas!  My Brother!  that Sucked the Breast of my Mother, that was brought up with me, is Separated from me and his Eyes clos’d in the night of Death.  But I would not utter my plaints as if I mourned without hope.  I trust that Living and Especially that Dying he was the Lords.  Neither would I do otherwise than humbly own and Submissively acknowledge the Sovereign Power and Dominion of God, and bow my Self down before the unsearchable wisdom, the reproachless holyness, and with all the infinite Goodness and Divine Tenderness of my heavenly Father, and would dutifully and reverently Say that it is the Lord — and since it is he, Let him do what Seemeth him good.  His wayes though full of wonder yet holy are they all, and righteous are they all, and Every of his Works for the honour of his glorious Name, and all his Dispensations towards us for our highest Benefit if we will duely Improve the Same.  How broken was his Body and batter’d against the Rocks when the people of the Place found the lifeless Corps on the fatal shore in the morning!  When I see the Blood afresh trickling down from his wounds my heart is again Set ableeding, and when I see his Ruddy Countenance and his athletick Constitution so soon triumph’d over and Subdued!  But let me go back again and See what comes of the Rest of the Company and not let all my Care waste itself here.  They were wondrously Sav’d on the large Rock (on which they had dropt from the Bowsprit of the vessel before She stove) and here they remain’d through the night though in the greatest Danger all the while of being wash’d away with the Sea that broke over them.  The vesell being broken to pieces Some of the Goods were wafted along by the Rock and the Men Sav’d Some Baggs of Wool.  The rest of the Cargo Goods, etc. was Lost.  On the 29th our People receiv’d the Message in the Evening.  On the 30th (being Fast Day) My Remaining Brethren went to Cape Ann but could not get there timely enough to do anything to purpose.  On the 31 They Solemnized the Funerall, and buried him in that Town.  On Saturday (April 1) they returned home.  This is a Brief and Melancholly account.  I Beseach God to make it Spiritually advantagious, though outwardly it is So grievous to us.

April 7, 8, 1727

1727 April 7, 8 (Friday, Saturday).  I Attended Mr. Thatchers[1] Lecture.  Mr. Waldron[2] desired me to preach for him.  I would fain have flattly Deny’d him, but my Father was by, and I knew his mind was Set.  I did not dare to refuse.  I was obliged to Study very hard to prepare my Self for the Publick Exercises.  With much Labour I finished my Sermon before Bed time.  But I could not but be greatly concern’d about So hasty Compositions.

[1]Reverend Peter Thatcher of Boston.

[2]Reverend William Waldron (Harvard 1717), first minister of the New Brick Church of Boston.  Sibley, VI, 214-219.

April 9, 1727

1727 April 9 (Sunday).  I attended at Mr. Thatchers in the forenoon, therein embracing an Opportunity to Communicate with the Church I had relation to.  It was a Sacred joyfull Season.  I would hope my Soul was refresh’d therewith.  I din’d at Mr. Waldrons and preach’d (though in a poor, lame manner truly) to his Congregation upon the Text 1 King 13.30.  It met with some kind acceptance in the Family and at their Request I repeated it in the Evening.

April 12, 1727

1727 April 12 (Wednesday).  It being Lecture at Mr. Stantons[1] I tarried beyond my Design in this Town.  I din’d at Mr. Stantons where was Mr. Blowers,[2] Mr. Fisk,[3] Mr. Ward,[4] Mr. Chever[5] of Manchester, and Mr. Jeffords,[6] the last of which preach’d on Mat. 11.30.  Presently after Lecture Brother Willard and Mrs. Grafton rode with me to Boston.

[1]Reverend Robert Stanton (Harvard 1712), minister of the Second Church of Salem.  Sibley, V, 647-648.

[2]Reverend Thomas Blowers (Harvard 1695), minister of First Church at Beverly, 1701-1729.  Sibley, IV, 225-228.

[3]Reverend Samuel Fiske (Harvard 1708), minister of the First Church at Salem, 1718-1735.  Sibley, V, 413-424.

[4]Reverend Robert Ward (Harvard 1719), minister at Wenham, 1722-1732. Sibley, VI, 350-352.

[5]Reverend Ames Cheever (Harvard 1707), minister at Manchester, Mass., 1716-1743.  Sibley, V, 326-329.

[6]Reverend Samuel Jefferds (Harvard 1722), minister at Wells, Maine, 1725-1752.  Sibley, VII, 83-85.

April 21, 1727

1727 April 21 (Friday).  Sometime after Sun down Lieutenant Forbush[1] came and requested me to go down to See his Wife who they thought was drawing near her End and wanted to See Me.  I went down.  When I Entered I Said Mrs. Forbush I am Sorry to See you So ill; I am come at your Desire; which way can I become the most Serviceable to you?  She reply’d She was under apprehension of the approach of Death and she could not but be under fears on So great an Occasion.  Upon which I proceeded to enquire into the grounds of her Fears telling withal that I should endeavour to remove them and (receiving Some very generall answers) to promote the matter the more readily I began to Say Something concerning true Repentance, universal Obedience and the unfeigned Love of God and to the People of God which finding in her might Shew to her the Truth of Grace to be wrought in her, which being demonstrated must necessarily make all things bright and clear and comfortable.  But this process I managed in such as easy and familiar manner as this following.


  1. I am hoping (Mrs. Forbush) you have freely reprented of any sin that you have known your Self guilty of. She answer’d that She trusted she had, and was heartily willing to, of all that she had been chargeable with that she had not particularly known of, etc.


  1. You have told me heretofore that you have us’d your utmost to keep the Commands of God universally but especially now Since you have openly dedicated your Self to God, and join’d your Self to the Communion of the Lords people and waited upon Christ Table I conclude you have much ground for Satisfaction and Comfort. (You Should have if you have Sincerely and uprightly done your Duty.)  To which she [said] It has indeed been a Comfort to me and I am now glad that I have not that work to reproach my Self with the commission of, (or in these words) I am glad havn’t that work to do now (having some reference I believe to the Trouble that many have been in at such an hour that they had never obey’d the Comand of Christ) etc., etc., etc.


  1. Well, Mrs. Forbush but to let you see things more plainly Still. Let Us a little further enquire.  Don’t you find in you Such a Love to God as has made you both repent of Sin and Obey his Comands from a Desire of his Glory? etc. etc.


But to find out some further proof of all this and to have some stronger evidence of your Love to God and Christ, have you a pure love to the Godly; do you love the Disciples of Christ, those that you think bear the Image of God unfeignedly?


She. I hope really that I do.


N.B. Mr. Thomas Forbush[2] and wife, Captain Byles[3] and wife, and Jedediah How[4] were in the Room, besides the family.  But the person being look’d upon as near expiring I thought not to thrust those persons So well acquainted with the woman, as nearer She has not (except one), out of the room, and Seeing my discourse was generall and what anyone might hear.  Yet when under any of those heads any particular private matters have occurr’d it has then been usuall with me to desire the Company to withdraw.  But here I apprehended would be such things spoken as might be very profitable and suitable for all that heard, as I concluded these near Relatives were gratify’d not a little by them.  However, upon some account or other it Seems Old Mr. Forbush[5] is displeased and though at the most awfull time when every thought was profoundly Serious and solemn Yet he thinks fit to [illegible] upon us in a sad passionate manner upon the last Sentence, spoken thus.  Sir, We are grown folks.  I turned about in great Surprize and calmly looking upon him and then as calmly Speaking asked what he had said.  He repeated the Same words as before.  I asked him what then?  (Now raising my Self up in my Chair) why then (says he) we understand these things already have read in the Bible and Some other Books, and ourselves know these things being grown folks and come into years.  Here up I Spoke the words following (his Wife, his Sisters, especially the apprehended Dying person besought him not to open his mouth any further, they being astonished as well as I and the woman declaring it much to her Comfort and benefit that I had proceeded as I had and that it was the End of her sending for me, etc.).  Mr. Forbush, I am astonish’d at such an interruption at such a season, when I come upon my Commission and Charge to minister in the name of God to a Servant of his ready to leave to world, etc., etc.  Says he, If I had been in your place I would not have asked Such Questions.  I reply’d in defence of them.  He Said Mr. Breck would not ask Such.  I answer’d I was not now to enquire what Mr. Breck would ask, but I was able to affirm that the most Learned, the most pious and the most Judicious ministers would.  I therewith pray’d him to Say which were improper and wherein.  He appear’d not able to tell so much as what any one Question was that I had asked.  Well, Said I, Seeing you won’t or can’t tell me which, etc., I’ll endeavour to recollect all that I have said, though I did not Study before I came down what I should say, nor had I time; neither did I confine my Self strictly to any Method but Said what I thought of the greatest weight in the Case before me.  I then recapitulated and demanded as I went along what exceptions he had to make and wherein they were so grossly injudicious as to be foundation enough for his So Strange interposition.  1.  He Suppos’d She had repented before now and she had examin’d her Self before this time o’Day often and often no doubt.  And then I had liv’d in the house and knew the woman long ago.  So that I had no need to ask Questions now.  Besides I had or Should have ask’d her when She was admitted into the Church.  Truly, said he, if it was my wife you Should not have asked her whether she had repented of her sins.  We hope She has done it long ago.  To which I Said, This Person I knew So Well as that I Saw no danger from my asking generall Questions.  She had had nothing Scandlaous in all her Life that I know of, neither could any one think that I desir’d to rake into all the particulars of her past conversation in the world and managements in the Familie (not but that If I had made Such enquries She might I believe have produc’d what would have been very instructing).  Were I examining a person that had been notoriously vicious and demanding a particular confession and before So many witnesses it had been another thing; but I have been endeavouring to assist this person in preparing actually to give up her account to the great Judge, and though she may have view’d it numberless times and we may have review’d and examin’d it together yet now at the awfull juncture before delivering it into his hands we act most wisely to look all over as carefully as possible to find out whatever escapes or flaws there may be, Since it can never be done after, throughout Eternity, and Eternity depends upon this account.  Mr. Forbush those Questions appear injudicious to you; yet they are so far from being a reflection upon your Sister that the most advanc’d Christian that is on Earth won’t Scruple to ask them and they are the very questions therefore that the gravest and profoundest Divines in the Christian Church do put in these Cases, etc.  etc.  2. You ask (Say’d he) whether she had not comfort in her having been at the Sacrament.  How needless that question.  What do you think She went to it for, Sir?  I admire at you Mr. Forbush.  Your Sister’s End was to testifie her Obedience to the Command of Christ, and to obtain of her Lord Divine Grace and Support under all Troubles and difficulties, to Engage Gods mercifull presence in a time of Extremity, especially when Death approaches.  She has been I Say, for these great and important things and now when She needs them most of all I ask whether she has got her Errand and how she is Sure She has these things and This is impertinent, etc., etc.  3. And You asked whether She lov’d the Godly?  What a Question that is!  I know what you mean whether She loves all that Appear professedly to be Christians.  I havn’t a Charity for everybody because they make a profession.  There is some that I know of that I won’t have a Charity for though they have join’d to the Church.  To which I rejoin’d Mr. Forbush in trying whether true Grace be in the heart love to Christ’s Disciples is always enquir’d into.  I doubted not but your Sister doth So, yet it is ask’d to make all things as clear and fair as possible.  By Christ’s Disciples I mean the Same as Saint John doth by the Brethren by which are understood all that any way bear the Image and Resemblence of Christ, and Mr. Forbush notwithstanding what you have last Said as to your Charity I’ll tell you mine is So extensive that there is not a person in all Westborough but I would charitably hope he may be a subject for the Divine Grace to work upon.  Well, he would not, etc.  It was time I should do what I could for the woman.  I told him he had prevented me and unfitted me, etc., but I turn’d about and went on.  Mr. Forbush ask’d I’d forgive him if he had said anything wrong but he thought he would not ask Such questions.  So that I So far lost my labour with him.  I told him if he was So much disturb’d about them, I would submitt them to the Judgement to whatsoever ministers in the Country he should Choose.  I pray’d him to consider his sister.  He was willing with all Saying that he knew not how soon he should need me on the Same account and therefore again desire me to forgive his bluntness, but yet He could not desire me if ever I should to ask him such sort of Questions.  Thus did he in a strange manner keep up the flame by throwing in oil when he pretended to cast in water to quench it.  No, Mr. Forbush Said I with some earnestness, I’m afraid you would not care that I should deal feelingly with your soul.  I now told him of my being oblig’d in Conscience to do my utmost for persons when as his Sister, etc.  I shall take no further notice of the Strange reply he made me nor the long discourse he further occasion’d.  I was griev’d heartily to See So much of his ignorance and passions.  It grew very late.  It was well the woman (it may be through her fright) was reviv’d.  We came into So amicable a Compositon as to go to prayer and we parted Friends.  But both my Head and heart were full.  It was Twelve when I got home.  Sister Ruth discern’d my Trouble.  I went to bed but could not Sleep for a long time.  I beseach God to quicken me hereby in my work, and make me more diligent to accomplish my Self lest I meet with worse trialls than this. I remember and would take notice of it that the Suddenness and lateness of Lieutenant’s coming for me prevented my usual address to heaven before such Ministrations.  I would be humbled for my Sin and take the Punishment God inflicted for it.

[1]Samuel Forbush of Westborough.

[2]Selectman of Westborough, brother of Samuel.

[3]Joseph Byles, an original settler of Westborough.

[4]Of Westborough.

[5]The oldest Forbush in Westborough at this time was Thomas Forbush.