September 18, 1754

1754 September 18 (Wednesday).  I attended Court.  Din’d at Captain Stearns’s[1] with the Judges:  Judge Sewal[2] not well.  N.B. Messrs. Joseph Green,[3] Nathaniel Bethune,[4] Isaac Winslow,[5] and [blank] Wheelwright din’d with us.  N.B. They Subscribed for my Collection of Poems.  P.M. came on the Cause, upon which I was Summon’d, viz. of Isaac Amsden[6] plaintiff against Abijah Gale[7] Defendant; for that the Said Abijah assaulted the Plaintiffs Wife, attempted to discover her Nakedness and to have Carnal Knowledge of her Body — I was put under solemn Adjuration and was ask’d what I knew of the Cause Depending and especially Whether I had met with anything from Mrs. Amsden that was contrary to the Oath which She had taken?  My answer was to this Effect — That it was Surprizing to me to be summon’d, having had no Knowledge of the Case, till of late, Sometime Since the Prosecution or Complaint before Mr. Justice Liscomb that I know now no otherwise than by Report and Conversation as any other Neighbours might do.  That from what was Said to me at my summoning I had no reason to Suppose any thing would be desir’d of me at this Court more than to be present to hear the Cause (being Mr. Gale’s Pastor) and to give my Testimony of him which I could freely do, and did so, viz. that for any Thing I had ever known of him he was of unblemish’d Reputation till this Affair: and I might Say much the Same of Mrs. Amsden who was brought up in my near Neighborhood, and was of good Character among us.  This Answer of mine was upon Colonel Brattle’s interrogating me as upon Oath whether I knew anything of this Cause, or had heard this Woman Say any Thing different from what She had now Sworn?  And this was also urg’d by the Chief Justice Sewal; to which therefore I further reply’d that I had indeed made Mrs. Amsden a visit and did put Some Questions to her, but I was not prepar’d to Say what her answers to me at that Time were: and that I could not think it fit or just for me to utter what was so brokenly and imperfectly remember’d — So that I was not ripe to Say any thing of the Particular Expressions She us’d.  When the Judge ask’d me whether I remembered that it was Opposite, or Contrary to her Oath?  I answer’d that as I remember’d it was what did not carry the Matter so far as the Complaint She has made upon Oath — but I was not Ripe for offering any More of it.  The Colonel chew’d upon that that I said I was not ripe — that I ought to say what ‘twas — but I told him I would not be impos’d upon.  For I conceiv’d it wrong to utter what was So unshapen in my Mind — and I said I perceiv’d that Mrs. Amsden at the Time of my Discourse with her was in such a Surprize and flutter that I did not know whether what She had answer’d was her real Mind — and She was So uneasy at my putting these sorts of Questions to her that I thought it best not to proceed, and therefore desisted — so that I conceiv’d it unjust for me to declare what I apprehended She did, under these Circumstances, Say.  The Jurys Verdict came in against Gale; for it appear’d there was an Assault.  It was late in the Eve — lodg’d at Mr. Maccartys again.  N.B. Colonel William Ward in Jayl.

[1]Thomas Sterne of Worcester.

[2]Justice Stephen Sewall of the Superior Court of Judicature.

[3]The Reverend Joseph Green (Harvard 1746) of Marshfield.  Sibley, XII, 28-30.

[4](Harvard 1734).  A Boston merchant.  Sibley, IX, 386-389.

[5](Harvard 1727).  A prominent businessman of Boston, who was later a Mandamus Councillor.  Sibley, VIII, 333-339.

[6]Of Southborough.

[7]The innkeeper of Westborough.