1774 December 1 (Thursday). Miss Suse Brigham here still. Mr. Daniel Forbes here and brings a Paper signed by Eleven Church Members to request a Church-Meeting to bear Testimony against the “Considerations of the Convention last Year, and against private Combinations and Signing Papers against a neighbouring Church etc.” (meaning I suppose what Our Association did with respect to Bolton Brethren when they had run to Exremitys in their Contentions). But Mr. Forbes said they had no Design to raise up any Contention, nor prevent the appointment of the Communion. At Eve Ezra Bellows and Ruth Harrington were married. Master Waters and Master May were present. These latter lodge here.
1774 December 2 (Friday). Mr. Nathaniel Whitney here. He judges it best to defer the Petition (to which he was the first signer) till after Thanksgiving. Suse Brigham goes home. Master May Sups and lodges here. Lieut. Bruce dies about 2 o’Clock p.m. He was nigh 81. Was born Nov. 27 O.S. 1693.
1774 December 3 (Saturday). Mr. Artemas Bruce here, to acquaint me with his Aged Fathers Death, and Desire that I would attend the Funeral next Monday at 12 o’Clock. Mr. Hutchinson going to preach at Carlisle, calls and dines. Mr. Isaac Adams also dines here.
1774 December 4 (Sunday). Preached a.m. on Joh. V.40. Which may God succeed! Master Jenison, and Maynard (of Framingham, an undergraduate), School-Master at Warrin-school House, dined here. P.M. on Occasion of Lt. Bruce’s Death, I delivered an Exercise collected from divers parts of Sermon on James 5.9, but read therewith v. 8, as being Similar to it. May I be duely affected with it, and prepare for the Coming of the Lord!
1774 December 5 (Monday). Attended the Funeral of Lieut. Bruce. His Widow is bowed down with Infirmitys, being 7 years older than her late Husband
1774 December 6 (Tuesday). The Soldiers have a Meeting at Capt. Edmund Brighams. John Parkman from Lancaster at Evening.
1774 December 7 (Wednesday). Mr. Sumner preached my Lecture on Act 4.12, those words, “Neither is there Salvation in any Other.” May God grant Success! Consult Mr. Sumner with regard to the Petition which I lately received. He thinks that as soon as they are informed in true State of Things they will not insist. N.B. John returned to Lancaster a.m.
1774 December 8 (Thursday). Sermonizing. At Eve, by request, went to Deacon Bonds and marryed his Daughter Lucy to Timothy Parker. I supped there. N.B. I called to see old Mr. Warrin and his Wife, who are under very great Infirmities, but as to the woman, not greater, ‘tis thought, than She has been Exercised by for some Years.
1774 December 9 (Friday). Sermon — and my mind and Heart much impressed with the most important Things. May the Lord graciously Support me and direct me!
1774 December 10 (Saturday). Neighbour Keenes in Difficulty by Reason of the Illness of his Wife. Mrs. Lucy Sever, wife of Moses Sever, is here in Tears; and protests her Innocence as to her Husbands Stealing, whether the Cosset, or any thing else.
1774 December 11 (Sunday). I have spent my time so much on my forenoon preparations it provided Sufficient for two Exercises, but I could not divide it; and therefore delivered the whole in one. It was on Mat. 26.35. Administered the Lords Supper. May God graciously accept us, manifest Himself to us, and raise up in us a grateful Sense of His Goodness! May He also guard us against self-Confidence, arm us with Vigilance, and keep us in the Hour of Temptation! Mrs. Maynard, Mrs. Sever, and Miss Suse Brigham dined here. P.M. Delivered my sermon on Prov. 23.5. May it Serve to wean my Heart from this transitory world!
1774 December 12 (Monday). My Son Baldwin from the Congress (which was dissolved on the 10th) and lodges here.
1774 December 13 (Tuesday). Settle with him as to his fat Cow at 17d, Hide, Beef and Tallow. Pay him 4 Dollars and 9£ 10/ on Watsons Note, which I delivered to him to carry to Alexander and he leaves us for Brookfield. Joshua Hemingway from Mr. Cushings, came, dined and p.m. left us. Am engaged from Day to Day in My preparations. Dr. Hawes delivered to [me] a paper from the Congress to be read Publickly. The first part contains their Recommendation of Contribution for the poor of Boston and Charlestown; The second part was a Letter to me to recommend to my people Complyance with the Resolves of the general Congress.
1774 December 14 (Wednesday). Closely engaged in my preparations for the Solemnity approching.
1774 December 15 (Thursday). Thanksgiving. Preached on Isa. 64.5, in the Close of which I gave some vindication of my self as to my Conduct about the public State, with which the people have seemed to be offended. Read what I had received from the Congress, and added my Enforcements as is Requested of me therein. At Eve Mr. Spring and his Wife here. I rode over to Mr. Seth Morse’s and marryed him and Miss Lydia Belknap. Supped there. He gave me an half Guinea for my Service therein.
1774 December 16 (Friday). Visited old Mrs. Sarah Forbush who has a bad Cancer in her side, and a terrible sore in her Foot. P.M. by Request of Lt. Thomas Bond rode over to dine at his House. The Company of Minute Men trained and were entertained there.
1774 December 17 (Saturday). Read Cotton on the Keyes etc.
1774 December 18 (Sunday). Having Sent a Letter to Mr. Whitney to change, I rode to Northborough. Mr. Whitney did not receive it, but was gone to Worcester, that Mr. Maccarty might go to Brookfield for Mr. Forbes (who is still at Gloucester). Mr. Edward Brooks of Medford was to preach at Northborough, but he supplyed my Pulpit. I preached at Northborough on Judg. 10,6,7,9,10,16 a. and p.m. Lodged at Mr. Whitneys with Mr. Brooks. His Text here was Ps. 112.4, former part. N.B. Mr. [Potter?] and his Wife are gone to his Fathers at Roxbury, by the help of Some of his Relations.
1774 December 19 (Monday). Went to Mr. Samuel Allens. Dined at Capt. Maynards and called to see Mrs. Kelly at Beetons. Return home in safety — Thanks to God.
1774 December 20 (Tuesday). So Cold I could not visit old Mrs. Woods as I desired. My good Brother Stone made me a very Seasonable, Supporting Visit. Dined here etc. He brought the Chauxit Result. Read part of what he delivered on Thanksgiving. Mr. Thomas Twitchel pays me 45£ old Tenor. Miss Abigail Woods, a Tayloress (Daughter of Solomon deceased), works for Breck; making Cloths for him, but diets and lodges here.
1774 December 21 (Wednesday). A very cold time. I am obliged to keep House. Read Cotton of the Keyes. Breck goes to Lancaster.
1774 December 22 (Thursday). Am much engaged in my preparations. Am concerned about Breck who does not come home till night, it being difficult Weather, and the night dark — till at length he came with his Mare in his Hand, Strangely and Suddenly distempered. Has been obliged to Send Nehemiah Maynard to Mr. Job Carly’s — but he did not come.
1774 December 23 (Friday). Elias goes to hasten Mr. Carly. He came, dined. We killed a large Sow, and Mr. Carly uses it as a Medicine against the Mares Disorders. He designs also to give her Oyl of Turpentine. These being good Remedys against the Botts. He leads the Mare to his House beyond Northborough.
1774 December 24 (Saturday). My mind much exercised about appointing a Church Meeting — but several Things obstruct my doing it, viz. Mrs. Rice, a principal party, Should be sent to; or spoke with that she might be apprized of it. The Town are also to have their Meeting; and yet our Church meeting should not be deferred much further.
1774 December 25 (Sunday). A.M. on Ps. 89.47. P.M. on Joh. 5.40. Cousen Davis, and Miss Molly Badcock dined here. N.B. at noon I spoke with Mr. Daniel Forbes about the Church Meeting — and the difficulty attending my conferring with the Church to day, by reason of the weather (it being rainy etc.). He answered me that there was no hurry. I replyed, that then the Signers could not blame me for still deferring it. He answered again, “O, no.” I asked him to come to see me. He said he would. Mrs. Sarah Forbush grows worse.
1774 December 26 (Monday). Could not visit old Mrs. Forb. by reason of the storm. I was closely engaged in my studys and Devotions, as the times are very dark and difficult in Church as well as state. The Lord pity us!
1774 December 27 (Tuesday). Mr. Smith kindly visited me, under my Anxietys. He dined here, as did Mr. Benjamin Willard, Clock-Maker. P.M. Mr. Edwards Whipple and Master Waters, who tells me he lives at Mr. Fish’s. Sophy and Hannah went over to visit Mrs. Davis, Fessenden etc.
1774 December 28 (Wednesday). Jejun. and Prec. May god graciously pardon and accept, through Jesus Christ!
1774 December 29 (Thursday). The Snow is so very deep that one Hezekiah Haden with two strong Teams going to Boston was stopt at Deacon Woods, and cant get along with his Loads. A Number of Neighbours come with their Teams to his help and break the way with great Difficulty. Elias goes with my Oxen as far as Andrews’s. Deacon Wood was in here, acquaints me with Capt. Brighams uneasiness with me that I don’t appoint a Church Meeting — whereas we cannot be ready as yet for one.
1774 December 30 (Friday). Town-Meeting to See whether the Town will accept of the Association of the Continental Congress; and how far they would comply with the Resolves, Address etc. of the Provincial — and choose one or more persons to represent them at the Congress proposed to meet at Cambridge next February. I took this Opportunity to Send a Paper to the Town (Since I could not bear the Cold so well as to attend there my Self, as I wanted to), Signifying my Concurrence etc. and endeavouring thereby to remove mis-understandings concerning Me, who am heartily Set against Despotism and Oppression etc. N.B. Mr. Daniel Forbes is here, and is smooth; is Satisfyed with what I do about the Church Meeting. But at Evening Messrs. Eli Whitney and Jos[ep?]h Harrington were here contesting and disputing with me, though Such an Evening as I could not Spare, and I told them I was not willing to maintain any Controversie with them about Church Government. They insisted to know whether I held that the Pastor had a Negative upon the Brethren. Upon which I told them I never had exercised, for I never had Occasion in all these Years to exercise that Power. They Said they Should be offended with me if I held that a minister had it. Upon which I Shewed them Dr. Cotton Mathers Magnalia — the 30 Cases by 17 Ministers at College Library, Venerable Higginson and Hubbards Testimony; Mr. Wise’s Book on Church Government etc. besides these, the Platform. They acknowleged the old Books — for I handed down Mr. Cotton of the Keyes, old Dr. Mathers First Principles — Order of the Gospel etc. etc. etc. But say these Brethren, “mayn’t they Err?” Why, yes (I answered): but they might see what Strength we had for our Defence etc. etc. May the Lord sanctifie these altercations, and prepare me for His holy will!
1774 December 31 (Saturday). So deep and drifted is the Snow that Hezekiah Haden, with 10 Cattle in his two Teams, and though helped by neighbours as he trys to pass the Roads, that he gets no further towards Boston than Dr. Parkers in Southborough, he returns back. Through the Long-suffering of God I am brought to the Close of another Year. The Occurrences of it have been very remarkable: Especially by the Changes in the Civil Government — Governor Hutchinson gone to England, Governor Gage in his Room. The General Court is moved to Salem, which is made the chief Seat of Government. The Counsellors made by Mandamus. General Court soon dissolved. The Company of Cadets resign and are disbanded: Boston port blocked up by men of War: the Common, the Neck, and Fort-Hill have 5 Regiments. The Continental Congress, and the Provincial meet, one at Philadelphia Sept. 5, the other Concord and Cambridge. The Towns in Confusion by Reason that the Superior and Inferior Courts cease. Mobs and Riots; Whigs and Torys — as if our Happiness were nigh to an End! O God save us!