February 7, 1739

1739 February 7 (Wednesday).  A great deal of Company here, which together [with] my wife’s exceeding low Circumstances made it a Day of perpetual Hurry and Engagement — for as to my wife, the night was very distressing — full of Pain and anguish and very faint and Weak.  Nurse watch’d last night as well as Sat up the most of the Night before, and my wife was very restless and as if Death could not be very far off.  As to the Company there were especially Mr. (or Captain) Jonathan Sawyer of Harvard with the bitter and grievous Case of Mr. Seccomb[1] their Pastor.  My Advice was That it was not fit for them to expect a Judgment of the Case unless both sides are fully heard, or that I could hear Facts and Allegations that went into the Merits of the Cause unless they were what were well supported and Mr. Seccomb present to make Reply.  Secondly, That none of the Crimes charg’d against Mr. Seccomb (however those false Rumors were that flew about the world) were such but that upon his deep Humiliation and Reformation and endeavoring to Conduct Himself with peculiar Care respecting the Youth of the Flock he might be, nay and ought to be continued their Pastor.  Thirdly, that it was not adviseable, by any means to have a Council of Churches (Seeing that would be Such a mean of further publishing and Spreading the Evil, already too great) if by any good methods they could heal their grievance at Home, and if it were granted, as complain’d, that many new Facts, or horrible Circumstances had arisen which gave Such sad Disquietment to even those members who, knowing no more than they did then, voted his Restoration that they are full of Dissatisfaction, yet perhaps a new Church Meeting and Reconsideration or Review of matters, might Still be Sufficient and Successfull.  And if it should upon Trial be found that it did not or if such Church Meeting could not be obtained I would rather advise that Two or Three Fathers in the Ministry be apply’d to, to go up to Harvard and assist and Direct them in the Affair.  I also told Mr. Sawyer that if Opportunity presented I should acquaint Mr. Seccomb with his having been here, and the Errand he came upon, which he very freely and readily consented to or desir’d.  N.B. There came with Mr. Sawyer, one Mr. Taylor of North Worcester.  Mr. Williams here with Hinges to hang my Front Gate.  Captain Forbush[2] and others here.  Sundry Women to see my Wife.  Brother Hicks return’d from Cambridge.

[1]Rev. John Seccomb (HC 1728), first minister of Harvard, Mass., was charged with unfaithfulness to his marriage vows.  SHG 8:481-490.  Henry S. Nourse, History of the Town of Harvard (Harvard, 1894), 185-87.

[2]Samuel Forbush of Westborough.