April 4, 1748

1748 April 4 (Monday).  Dr. Gott here.  Wrote by him to Mr. Martyn not to come over (as proposed) on Tuesday to visit us, but to come on Thursday, and prepared to preach at the private meeting at Lieutenant Tainter’s.  P.M. I walked to Captain Maynard’s and thence over to Mr. Seth Rice’s on purpose to visit his mother and wife.  N.B. I sent word about that the appointed Catechetical Exercise is put by.  My wife rode to Deacon Forbush’s.

April 5, 1748

1748 April 5 (Tuesday).  An Important Time!  When this precinct met upon the affair of my sallery and a new Meeting House — Mr. Grout and Lieutenant Tainter being sent to me to desire me to Pray with them.  I went after prayer.  They passed no vote about the former article respecting me, but they desired the Committee of the Precinct would at evening come and Confer with me, and enquire of me what I thought my Circumstances would require, and I could chearfully go on in the work of the Ministry with — and so adjourned that affair to the 18th Instant.  And accordingly at evening the said Committee (4 of whom, viz. Edward Baker, Esquire, Captain Warrin, Lieutenant Forbush and Mr. Benjamin Fay) came to me and insisted upon my saying what would suffice maintenance.  Note well, they said the precinct would Expect that if the Precinct should comply and make a grant of what I should say would suffice for the Year Currant, then I should give ‘em a Receipt in full.  I answered that I was averse to saying anything of a particular Sum — but they insisted that I would.  I replyed that I insisted on it that the Precinct would Explain their Expression (in their Votes at the Contract) wherein they say that the “Yearly sallery 55£ New Tenor money so called, not Soldier money, so called” and as to the Present State of Things — what I would have.  I said there was a very different manner of Maintaining the Gospel — There was what would barely do it; there was also what would do it with some handsomeness and Decency; and there was a manner of doing it with a Generousness, when persons were in their Hearts enlarged unto Bountifullness.  I did not therefore care to proscribe, nor go about to set a summ.  However, upon their further insisting, for they said they must make some Report to them that had sent them, I told them I could offer thus much to their Consideration, that as all the Necessarys of Life had so exceedingly risen as they had for several years past especially, I humbly conceived that it would take double or nigh it (in Denomination of Bills) to do the same as used to be done.  Esquire Baker answered that then they understood me that it would not take 440£ old Tenor to have the same done which 220£ used to do.  I answered that it could not take less than 400£.  Mr. Fay undrstood me that if the precinct should vote that summ, yet I could not do the whole work nor should go on Chearfully.  I replyed to this that if they should vote that I would endeavor (as God should please to enable me) to go on with all parts of the work and would go on chearfully — at least would try this year — and if it would well do I should, I hoped given God the Glory and them all suitable Thanks, and if it did not so, I would let them know.  But it growing late, I told ‘em that I would take the matter into Consideration, and they should have Some Return from me when they should sit again.  This Concluded the present Conference.  As to the other important matter upon which the precinct met today, viz. The Meeting House, they voted that a New Meeting House should be built upon the South Great Road, a little below the Burying place.

April 7, 1748

1748 April 7 (Thursday).  Mr. Martyn (whom I expected to visit me today and go with me to the Family Meeting) sent me a line that he could not come.  I preached at Lieutenant Tainter’s on Gen. 17.7, to the end of page 12.  My wife was with me.  After Exercises Captain Baker discoursed with me about our precinct Transactions with me and respecting the 500£ vote in special.  My wife and I visited Neighbour Eliezer Rice’s wife (who is sick) at Evening.

April 12, 1748

1748 April 12 (Tuesday).  Mr. Wellman (having lodged here) rode with me to the Ministers Meeting at Marlborough early in the Morning.  I went so early because of an appointment made at Southborough by the other members of the Committee to meet at 6 o’clock this morning to finish our Report.  But they did not come in season nor did Mr. Loring come till nigh 11 o’clock today.  So that we could accomplish but very little before Dinner and the association Exercises came on.  See the minutes of the Association.[1]  At Eve a most unhappy occurrence!  It was this, Mr. Jenison had sent a letter to Mr. Smith[2] to be communicated to the association, and he came himself.  As the Moderator (Mr. Loring)[3] began to read the letter, came in his son Jonathan.[4]  Mr. Buckminster,[5] perceiving that there was in the room one who did not belong to the association (viz. said Mr. Jonathan Loring) and knowing our practice not to read letters or transact association business while any stranger was present, stepped up to the Moderator and put the question to him, whether it was fit to go on till his son was retired.  Mr. Jonathan Loring, mistaking him and not knowing our custom, flew into a sudden and violent passion with him — reproached him bitterly.  Mr. Davis[6] offered to speak — Mr. Loring fell upon him also.  Insulted the whole association at very intolerable Rate, nor did his own worthy and venerable father escape, who could do nothing to Effect in stilling him.  But we saw how grievous and wounding it was to the good man, and for his sake we could not but forebear the Resentment which Jonathan deserved.  We hardly ever saw such an Evening, any of us in all our lives.  Mr. Jenison’s letter was voted to be read tomorrow morning.  Yet was it afterwards read to a number that remained to lodge at Mr. Smith’s — because of Mr. Jenison’s frequent and strong insisting — his plea that he was to go to Watertown early in the Morning.  I lodged at Mr. Smith’s but my horse was kept at Mr. Samuel Wards.

[1]Among other things Mr. Morse of Boylston told the ministers he had not had any salary for more than a year.  Allen, Worcester Association, p. 28.

[2]Aaron Smith of Southborough.

[3]Israel Loring of Sudbury.

[4]Jonathan Loring (Harvard 1738) was a lawyer of Marlborough.  Sibley, X, 288-289.

[5]Joseph Buckminster of Rutland.

[6]Joseph Davis of Holden.

April 13, 1748

1748 April 13 (Wednesday).  Mr. Jenison sent another letter to the association and demanded a Categorical answer.  There was much debate about whether he should be answered and how.[1]  Mr. Cushing preached the public Lecture on 2 Pet. 1.10.  N.B. Mr. Mills[2] late of Bellingham there.  N.B. Heard the sorrowful News yesterday of Mr. Bridghams[3] house at Brimfield, burnt to the ground and little saved.  P.M. Letter to Mr. Jenison drawn up by Mr. Morse and after many readings, voted.  Mr. Loring goes from us to Grafton to preach there tomorrow.  Mr. Cushing chose moderator in his room.  Mr. Wellman rode home with me.

[1]The Association records note “A Contemptuous letter of Mr. William Jennison was treated with the neglect it deserved.”  Allen, Worcester Association, p. 28.

[2]Jonathan Mills (Harvard 1723), the minister of Bellingham, 1727-1737.  Sibley, VII, 239-241.

[3]The Reverend Mr. James Bridgham.

April 14, 1748

1748 April 14 (Thursday).  Mr. Wellman went home.  Mr. Barrett was to have preached my Lecture but he disappoints me, as he has done several Times, and I was obliged to preach myself.  Text, Gen. 17.7, latter part.  After Meeting the Committee of the Precinct at my Desire came So that I might have a Word of Conference with them.  James Bradish and Mary Whitney were married.  Ebenezer ploughed in the forenoon.

April 18, 1748

1748 April 18 (Monday).  This was the Day of the Adjournment of the precinct meeting on the affair of my sallery at which I had great hopes the people would have considered my Circumstances Committing the matter however to the Glorious God to do his pleasure.  I drew up a paper of answer to the Committee’s request to me in behalf of the precinct that I would say what I would have to support my Family?  This paper I gave ‘em, and it was read to the precinct.  Yet they did nothing — adjourned again to the last Monday in Next Month.  It was very provoking to me that they should trifle with me and abuse me at this rate, and this under colour of the most slender pretence which was this — that “They had not a Discharge for their part (which they had paid) of the 82.10 whereas it was expressly inserted in my paper of Reply to the Committee this Day — as a Postscript to it — (but I understood afterward that it was excepted against because it was said “this precinct.”  This precinct not having a Being at That Time).  Whereas no Quibble could be more trifling than this, What I had written in said P.S. being only to intimate my sense of what I was ready to do, respecting those who now make up this precinct, not as if they were to be considered as Precinct in the Instrument of Discharge, but Inhabitants of the Town.  But I saw that Anything would serve ‘em to shift this unacceptable Business off.  Divers of the Committee came in here after the adjournment.  Deacon Newton, Esquire Baker and Mr. Benjamin Fay who acquainted me with the adjournment.  I was in some Chagrin and hastily stepped aside and wrote and signed a paper by itself assuring them of my readiness to give full Discharge.  God grant me patience, Humility, Resignation to his holy Will and grace to improve the Frown of his providence upon me!

April 20, 1748

1748 April 20 (Wednesday).  Catachized at the Meeting House a. and p.m.  N.B. There were about 8 girls besides my own.  They were Lavinia Baker, Susanna Newton, Hephzibah Rice, Persis Crosby, Jemima Maynard, Ruhamah Pratt, Rachel Pratt, Jemima Brigham.  I hope the warm admonitions etc., especially in the forenoon were not without some Effect.  The Lord bless these means for their highest good!  A very warm day — and it proves a very dry Time.  Noah How works here.

April 23, 1748

1748 April 23 (Saturday).  Mr. Eleazer Pratt here to desire me to attend the funeral of Mr. Francis Whitney who was taken suddenly ill the Day before yesterday — was soon after insensible — and yesterday p.m. deceased.  The Lord sanctify such sudden strokes!  I went accordingly though, it being Saturday, I went not quite to the Grave.

April 24, 1748

1748 April 24 (Sunday).  A.M. on Mat.  P.M. On Hos. 6.6, but repeated Sermon John 17.3, from page 23 to 28.  Deacon Woodberry[1] of Sutton on his journey from the General Court dined here.  O, that God would grant to us the true, influential, affective Knowledge of Him!  That we may both know God and be and do accordingly.  N.B. Very refreshing, merciful Rain last night after a very dry Time.

[1]Benjamin Woodberry.

April 27, 1748

1748 April 27 (Wednesday).  My Colt came home of himself from Mr. Grouts.[1]  Noah How brought a plough which he had made for me at Ebenezer’s Desire, though we had one of Captain Warrin’s make.  P.M. Mr. Barns here.[2]  I told him his new Fence had come in upon me about the North East corner of my new piece of woodland.  We agreed to review our marks and plotts.  Very sweet refreshing Rain.  N.B. Ebenezer planted Beans and Cucumbers in the back yard — But may my mind and Heart be turned from Earthly things and be suitably prepared for the Solemnity approaching!

[1]Joseph Grout.

[2]Richard Barnes.

April 28, 1748

1748 April 28[1] (Thursday).  Public Fast.  I preached all Day upon Hos. 6.6, composed on the occasion though for the Exercises on the last Sabbaths from this Text I repeated as before is said.  N.B. A number of Gentlemen at Meeting who sat in Captain Maynard’s and other seats.  May God accept our offerings and teach us the true, influential Knowledge of Him!

[1][Additional note: given as 29 in the published version.]

April 29, 1748

1748 April 29 (Friday).  I went to Captain Maynard’s and understood that Dr. Joseph Pyncheon[1] was one of the Gentlemen that Kept Fast with us, but he was gone upon his journey homeward.  Mr. Martyn came to see me.  I went down to the woodland, joining on to Mr. Barns, and Mr. Martyn and Ebenezer with me.  I called also my Neighbour Stephen Maynard and we all saw that my marked Tree was cutt down and laid into Mr. Barns’s New Fence.  Mr. Martyn dined with us.

[1]The physician of Springfield.

April 30, 1748

1748 April 30 (Saturday).  I have sent a letter to Mr. Smith about our changing (He had mentioned it at the Time of the Minister’s Meeting without Determining what Day).  I rode to Marlborough, calling at Judge Ward’s[1] to consult him about my Plott which he had drawn of my land joining to Mr. Barns, and he discovered to me that Mr. Barns had not trespassed etc.  Was at Mr. Smith’s, but as to our changing, tomorrow is appointed to be a Sacrament Day with them.  At Dr. Gott’s.  There I obtained Mr. Wilson[2] to preach for me tomorrow.  Mr. David Warrin shod my Colt.  Dr. Gott gave the shoes; Mr. Loring paid for the work and engaged to treat the workman.  Went to see my son Thomas.  Mr. Williams not at home.  Returned at Eve to Westborough.

[1]William Ward of Southborough, a justice of the peace.

[2]John Wilson (Harvard 1743), a physician of Natick, who settled in Hopkinton in 1750.  The doctor occasionally preached in nearby pulpits.  Sibley, XI, 96-97.