July 2, 1768

1768 July 2 (Saturday).  Brother Daniel Forbes comes to talk with me (as Brother Constantine Hardy had called a few Hours before on the Same Account) to talk with me about the Case of Deacon Wood (the Birth of his Child).  When he leaves me, he says he is going up there to talk with him.  I am very Cautious of all I say to him.  Alexander and Suse return from Ashby.  In going they lodged at Mr. Harringtons at Lancaster; in returning dined there; and last night lodged at Mr. Morse’s, North Shrewsbury.

July 3, 1768

1768 July 3 (Sunday).  Read Jer. 25.  Preached on 1 Tim. 3.16 — “Seen of Angels.”  Capt. Jamison dined here.  P.M. read Act. 26.  Preached on Col. 3.4.  N.B. used what I formerly delivered on this Text — but that preparation being unfinished, I composed Addition to it, and the whole of the Improvement.  My Daughter Baldwin is with us, but was not in such Comfort as to go to Meeting.

July 6, 1768

1768 July 6 (Wednesday).  My Daughter Baldwin leaves usSarah goes with her.  They have my Mare and Dr. Hawes Chaise.  Mr. Isaac Johnson here in his Return from Council at Grafton (or meeting of Churches — for they did not form).  Messrs. Stone, Smith and Steward here in their Return.  They went up yesterday.  These 3 last dined here.  Deacon Wood came here, and proposes to me something relating to his Case — that is to have the Church meet at his House, for him and his wife to offer what may satisfie them — but I Can’t approve of it.  He asks me to advise with Mr. Smith about it — is sorry Mr. Stone is gone.  I consult Mr. Smith accordingly.  At Eve came Mr. Moore who tells me he has given his Answer to Rochester, and that he accepts their Call.

July 9, 1768

1768 July 9 (Saturday).  Suse informs me that Mr. Nathan Ball of Northborough dyed suddenly the night before last.  May God sanctifie this to us!  Sarah returned from Brookfield, and Mr. Cushing comes with her to preach for me.  N.B. He has received a Call from Ashburnham.  Mr. Jacob Rice, not knowing of Mr. Cushings coming, came also to preach for me.  They both lodge here.  Enoch goes home at Eve, as usual.  Mr. Moore’s Horse has got out of the Pasture and is gone.  He has Mr. Whipple’s to go to Roxbury.

July 11, 1768

1768 July 11 (Monday).  In the Morning came Enoch, and appeared very Singular in his Behaviour and positive in his Demands, which if he could not have he would stay no longer — he would go off.  I answered him that I did abide by the Agreement and would fulfill it, so that he must go to work.  He went.  Received a Letter from Dr. Hill of Boston concerning a stone which some Brookfield man had carryed him to try it.  I Suppose it was Mr. Adam Rice.  Mr. Gale calls and talks about the Deacon’s Case.  I visit Mrs. Bellows (wife of Ithamar) who has had a bad fall and broke her Leg.  Prayed there, as well as dined with them.  Visit Mrs. Belknap, who is low in Body, but in a good spiritual Frame.  Prayed with her.  Called at the other Houses on the Road.  Especially Mr. Bradish who gave me a promissory Note for the Money he owes me, viz. 12/5 lawful.

July 12, 1768

1768 July 12 (Tuesday).  I walked up the Street to Mr. Zebulon Rice’s with a Letter which I received from Dr. John Hill of Boston concerning a sort of fossile which tis Supposed by some is the Cobelt, found in Brookfield.  Went to Deacon Woods — saw his Wife, but not him, though I much desired it, he being too far off; so that though I waited some Time, he came not.  And there was a Woman of his Acquaintance came (Mrs. Whipple, who was Coleman) and took her up.  So that I took leave.  I also expected Company at my House, viz. Mr. Barrett, Wife and son from Leicester — who came p.m. but when I got home, found Mr. Steward and Miss Mary Stone from Marlborough.  They take Sarah into their Company and go over to Mr. Whitneys.  Mr. Barrett etc. after Tea returned home.  At Eve came Mr. Ballantine of Westfield.

July 13, 1768

1768 July 13 (Wednesday).  Mr. Ballantine leaves us; by him I wrote to Mr. Brown and to my son Alexander concerning my present uncommon Distress, left so Shamefully to look out for help at a Time when we want to use it, and every body may be supposed to be engaged; and besides, must give so much greater Price for Labour.  Enoch indeed works with me Still, mowing, tending, and got in one load of, my Cook Island Clover.  In my perplexity I rode forth in search of Help — To Mr. Ebenezer Maynard and hoped he would get the Hay of the Swamp I bought of him, for part of it in pay — but he could not.  Went to Mr. Hannaniah Parker and got him to ride to Shrewsbury to hire one Jonathan Drury (but this proved in Vain).  Went over to Mrs. Martyns and dined there.  Lay in for a man to serve me a month — use a Variety of Means besides, bespeaking Help if I Should not light of a man.  Mr. Stephen Stimpson of Hopkinton here and informs me of his Kinsman Alexander Stimpson.  Mrs. P________ visits Mrs. Wood.

July 14, 1768

1768 July 14 (Thursday).  Went to Deacon Wood and shewed him a Line I had received from Rev. Messrs. Stone and Smith, containing their Judgment of what is expected to be done in his Case.  He appears humble and willing to Submit to make an Acknowledgment.  I thought it necessary to make Mr. Rice and his Wife acquainted with Enochs Conduct: went therefore and read a Draught I have made of the Substance of the Matter.  Mr. Rice says he has a mind to go to my House to talk with him.  I told him I Should Stand by our agreement.  Said it before witness — his wife and Levi heard.  But as I have now little or no Hope of recovering Enoch, I mounted for Hopkinton p.m. to hire a man, viz. that Stimson beforesaid.  Rode to him.  Agreed with him at his Fathers — for 8 Dollars the month ensuing, to begin next Monday morning, if he heard nothing from me to the Contrary.  Visit Mr. Barrett — consult him about Deacon Woods unhappy Case.  He advises to take the advice of the Church, but he thinks Confession before the Church many Suffice.  In returning home have Capt. Joseph Woods Company part of the way — who himself speaks of his Brother and the anguish of his mind about him, Some time agoe.  Capt. Benjamin Fay has brought up Mr. Whipple’s Horse from Mr. Moore.  The Charge to him, for his keeping and pains, is 18/ old Tenor.  Mr. Nurse has brought my Oxen and new Cart, from Ashby.

July 16, 1768

1768 July 16 (Saturday).  Mr. Cushing going to Weston calls here.  Deacon Wood came to confer about his Duty — Shews me an acknowledgment (and no sufficient Acknowledgment) which I can’t accept.  I propose to him to stop the Church tomorrow — unless he prevents it by being willing to go according to our Custom with Penitents.  P.M. The Weather beats off Enoch from hoeing and he comes up to Me to reckon.  I read him my Draught of his Case and Conduct.  He asks me 20£ for his work.  I refuse to settle now.  He asks pardon for his unsuitable Expressions.  We defer the Affair for Consideration.  And he goes home.

July 17, 1768

1768 July 17 (Sunday).  Read Jer. 27.  Preached again on 1 Tim. 3.16 a. and p.m.  P.M. read Act. 28.  After the Exercise (no appointment having been made of the Communion as might have been expected), the Brethren of the Church were Stay’d, to conferr about the Sorrowful Affair of Deacon Wood.  He offered the Same Paper of Acknowledgment abovementioned — but it was Soon Returned to him.  We could do nothing to purpose without longer Time — and therefore adjourned to this Day se’nnight.

July 18, 1768

1768 July 18 (Monday).  I was much worryed yesterday, and had but a poor night and faint morning.  Sent John to Mr. Hawkins at Northborough for a blew, Cloth Coat which he has made for me: and he brings it.  Had a Young Mare of Lt. Baker to try in my Journey.  Sat out about 11 a.m.  Dined at Mr. Stones, who tells me Deacon Wood was there early this morning to advise with him upon his Case; and that he plainly Counselled him to make a Public Confession.  I called at Coll. Buckminsters.  Proceeded to Mr. Brown’s, where Alex is at work.  It being late in the Day I went no farther than Mr. Roberts’s at Weston, where I lodged.

July 19, 1768

1768 July 19 (Tuesday).  In pursuing my Journey I called at Mr. Hastings’s at Newtown, and thence to Mr. William Parks to See the famous Spring and Bath.  Din’d at Mr. Storers, but he was not at home.  P.M. to College to Mr. Moore and thence to Charlestown to visit Mrs. Stays who was Dench and Capt. Jonathan Goodenow in the Jayl, for his Wickedness with a bad Woman — but yet is wholly in self Vindication.  May the Lord pitty and convince him!  Return to Cambridge.  Go into the Library.  At Eve visit Sister Barrett, who is so delirious that She does not own me.  I lodge with Mr. Moore.

July 20, 1768

1768 July 20 (Wednesday).  Attend the Commencement Exercises.  Dine in the Hall.  Was chiefly at Mr. Moore’s, Sir Sayer’s,[1] where I had besides Dr. Sayer,[2] the Company of Dr. Coffin of Newbury and Eliphalet and Peter Coffin of Exeter — also Mrs. Gilman, Dr. Sayers Sister.  Was also at Sir Ballantine’s etc.  Lodged at Sister Barretts.  Heartily Pity Sister Lydia who has the chief Trouble of tending upon her.

[1]Ebenezer Sayer (1751-1778), Harvard 1768); SHG 17:87-89.

[2]Dr. Joseph Sayer (c. 1706-1774) of Wells, Maine.

July 22, 1768

1768 July 22 (Friday).  Called to See Mr. Eliot.  Dined at Cousen Bradfords.  Visit at Mr. Surcombs.  My Horse was kept at Mr. May’s under the Care of my Cousen Procter.  Past 5 Mounted and rode to Dedham to see Mr. Holbrook, who, with his Wife, lives at Deacon Avery’s, by reason of his Lameness and Languishment.  I lodged there.

July 23, 1768

1768 July 23 (Saturday).  Took leave of Mr. Holbrook, Commending his Case to God.  Called at Mr. Havens.  At Mr. Caryls.  At Mr. Badgers.  Dined at Mr. Peabodys.  One Mr. Jonathan Leland of Sherbourn rides in Company and asks me into his House, where therefore I stop a little.  Call at Coll. Buckminsters and Mr. Stones.  My Dwelling I find in Peace.  Here are Capt. Fay, and his Brother Deacon Wood.  N.B. Mr. Zebulun Rice had secretly met me before I got home to apprize me that many of the Church were of the Mind that Deacon Wood must make Public Confession.

July 24, 1768

1768 July 24 (Sunday).  Mr. Whitney kindly came from Northborough to preach for me: his Father being come to keep Sabbath at his Place, and preach for him.  I read Jer. 28 a.m., Rom. 1 p.m.  Mr. Whitney preached a. and p.m. on Gen. 6.3.  Which many God grant may be of saving Advantage to us!  After the Exercises the Brethren of the Church were stopped, according to adjournment to consider Deacon Woods Case.  Deacon asked leave for his Wife to be present, which was granted.  He offered a Paper containing a Confession of Incontinence and Unchastity — of Breach of the Seventh Commandment, which was read.  I asked him and then her, in presence of the Church, whether we were to understand thereby the Sin of Fornication?  and they answered yes.  A number of Expressions in the Confession were excepted against, as tending to palliate and Smooth things in an unsafe Manner.  The Deacon desired me in his own and Wife’s Name to make certain Alterations which were proposed and which he and She consented to.  It was agreed that with those alterations and if it be read next Lords Day before the Congregation, the Church accepts it, and they are restored to Charity — and he is also expected to Continue in his Office.  These were Voted, I think, unanimously, and They were likewise desired to Speak if there was any thing on the Contrary: but nothing was offered.  After Prayer we were dismissed with Blessing.  However when I spoke to the Deacon as we were coming out of the Meeting House, of Peace and Reconcilement between him and me, he hesitated somewhat — till I insisted that we must be in perfect Love and Harmony — then upon such insisting, he gave me his Hand.

July 28, 1768

1768 July 28 (Thursday).  Mr. Moses Harrington comes from Boston and dines here.  P.M. I made a visit to Deacon Wood and his Wife, and carry my Draught of his Address to the Church, being the alteration of his according to what was agreed upon in the Church Meeting.  I talk to them both — but he does not seem to be satisfyed with me, whereas my Fault, I think, lies in too far favouring and Smoothing their Case; and can’t but be sorry for it.