1779 January 1 (Friday). I bless God for the Light of another morning, which begins A NEW YEAR of the divine patience and Long suffering towards me, which (I confess) am most unworthy. With Thanksgiving for the Mercies received and penitently acknowledgement of my ingratitude and innumerable offences, I implore Remission, through the Merits and Mediation of my only and most dear Saviour, and humbly beseech the divine Favour to be extended to me and mine still; I desire devoutly to renew my Solemn engagements by Covenant to be the Lord’s, and commit to Him, the Sovereign of my Life, all my Cares and Concernments, all the Changes and Events of this peculiarly difficult year, or what part of it, it shall please the great Supreme to vouchsafe me to continue in this frail uncertain State! But my daughter Cushing being here, and soon to return, and Col. Job Cushing dining with us, Breck also and his, I was much interrupted and prevented: very unavoidably. May the Lord extend compassion!
1779 January 2 (Saturday). My daughter leaves us to return with Mr. Neh. Maynard. I lent her Pool’s Annotations, Vol. 1, Fuller’s Pisgah Light, and the Life of Dr. Inc. Mather. Elias returns from Cambridge. He says that Dr. Appleton is ill.
1779 January 3 (Sunday). I have prepared one sermon on Ps. 90.2, and delivered it. A.M. Master Elisha Fisk, which keeps the South School, dined here. I thought it best to deliver p.m. part of my discourse on Matt. 22.37-38 to page 6, with additions according to the occasion.
1779 January 4 (Monday). Walked a.m. to Dr. Hawes. Wrote Letter to Mr. Forbes. Col. Cushing dined here. At eve came from Brookfield my kinsman Mr. Alexander Oliver, and lodged here.
1779 January 5 (Tuesday). Oliver goes on his journey to Boston. I preached at Deacon Wood’s on 2 Tim. 1.13, omitting in many parts, and adding such passages as were necessary to accommodate it to the Present times. N.B. Breck agrees with a Post to bring Newspapers etc.
1779 January 6 (Wednesday). Capt. Jonas Brigham and his wife were so benevolent as to present me a Cheese. I take the more notice of this because he has been so long aloof, but I rejoice in his friendly Disposition. Elias is Cyphering.
1779 January 7 (Thursday). I rode in the Sleigh to see the Widow Rice (widow of the late Mr. Edmund Rice). As I went I called to see old Mr. James Maynard and his Wife. I visited and dined at Mr. J. Crooks. N.B. He lately lost his pocket book with 300 dollars and other papers. In returning home I called at Mr. Amasa Maynard’s. At evening, Mr. Nathan Maynard, junior here, and returns me 50 Dollars (in one Bill) of the money he lately borrowed. Sixteen Dollars are yet behind.
1779 January 8 (Friday). I reckoned with Breck, and paid the full of his Account. The Ballance from Sept. 1777 to Dec. 31, 1778 (likewise Mr. Stockwell’s account of 5 1/8 and some change borrowed 7/6) was £57.19.2 lawful money.
1779 January 9 (Saturday). Mr. Badcock (the singer) brought me from Mr. R. Cranch’s of (Old) Braintree, Vol. 1 of the Universal and historical Biographical Dictionary in large 8vo. This volume goes no further than A. There are 11 vol. more. A small piece of Cloth for Elias, a great Coat received from Deacon Brown’s.
1779 January 10 (Sunday). I preached what I had composed on Mark 9.24. P.M. I went on and finished Repeating on Matt. 22.37-38. May God graciously concur!
1779 January 11 (Monday). I diligently read Biography. Dr. Hawes in the Evening. He offers to pay me money for Timothy’s work for him last year (15 days in the whole, Stephen Maynard worked 2 1/2 for me, Timmy’s at 2 Dolls. and Stephen’s at 3), but I told the Doctor it was in the way of exchanging work, and therefore I expected to have work again for it. N.B. I wrote by the Doctor to Dav. Sanger.
1779 January 12 (Tuesday). Biography. Have the Surprising News of the awful Death of Benj. Andrews of Boston Esq. who last [blank] shot himself through the Head by a Pistol, which he was handling, and not aware that it was loaded. Lord, what is Man!
1779 January 13 (Wednesday). Suse rode to Capt. Maynard’s in the Sleigh and safely, but in returning the Mare took a start, and tore away with Speed from Suse, who had got out of the Sleigh, and came home o’foot: but the mare first, broke the Sleigh and threw out a Case of Gin — however broke but one Bottle (which might at this time stand at [blank] Dollars, but no Mischief done to Life or Limb. The praise to God!
1779 January 14 (Thursday). Yesterday and today much engaged in Biography. Sent to Mr. Cushing, President Edwards on Free Will, and wrote to him, by the Widow of the late Major Brigham. Young Mr. Frost here and lodges.
1779 January 15 (Friday). Mr. Frost leaves me, but goes to Breck, and I perceive he is about to set up a Store at Mill River.
1779 January 16 (Saturday). Closely applied as I have been for some days before on my preparations. Yet all I can by my slow writing is one sermon.
1779 January 17 (Sunday). Preached a.m. on Mark 14.24, and finish my present Design upon this Text. May God graciously succeed it! Mrs. Maynard dines with us, as well as Master Fisk. P.M. Repeated on Joh. 15.5.
1779 January 18 (Monday). Dr. Hall of Sutton in his Journey to Concord calls here. At eve came Mr. Daniel Forbes junior from Brookfield. Says Mr. Bradshaw grows very weak. Presently came his Brother Nathan from Walpole, going to see him. The latter lodges here. N.B. Mr. Badcock keeps a singing-school at Mr. Barn. Newton’s. Elias and Timothy go to it to hear.
1779 January 19 (Tuesday). A.M. Mr. Badcock here. An uncommonly rigorous Season. By reason of Breck’s agreeing with a post to ride this Road, I have the Benefit to read two of the Boston Newspapers; Saturdays and Mondays, which arrive here on Tuesday evening.
1779 January 20 (Wednesday). Mr. John Forbes of Rutland on Otter Creek which (through mistake) we heard was taken by the enemy, came to see us, being well and safe. In reading the Biographical Dictionary — Life of Dr. Atterbury.
1779 January 21 (Thursday). Though very Cold yet Breck goes in the sleigh to Boston.
1779 January 22 (Friday). At eve came my Kinsman, Nathaniel Bradshaw from Brookfield — tells me his Brother Benj. is so low that he himself gives up and thinks he shall soon depart. Nathaniel lodges here.
1779 January 23 (Saturday). Cousin Bradshaw leaves us to return to Stoughtonham. At eve Breck returns from Boston. Inform. that his sister Sally is become more sociable and chearful.
1779 January 24 (Sunday). Delivered a.m. to a small congregation, an exercise that is part of Expos. of Mat. 17.17 to 21, but it being a continuation of the Discourse on Mark 9.24, I read on in Mark 9 to 29. P.M. preached on Mat. 22.39-40, which I designed as a second part to the Discourse on Mat. 22.37-38. Master Moses Brigham who keeps school at the East Quarter of the Town dined here.
1779 January 25 (Monday). Being at the Shop, Capt. Fisher and Mr. Badcock were there and acquainted me with the Desire of the Singing School to have a Lecture preached to them, and though (as they say) they would be glad if Mr. P. would himself preach, yet because of the disquietment among the People, about singing, and for the sake of drawing in people, it was mentioned to ask one of the neighboring Ministers, particularly Mr. Sumner to preach it. I replyed with Consent, provided they would acquaint the appointed Choristers with it, and endeavor to have them lead in the Affair.
1779 January 26 (Tuesday). Mr. Elisha Parker here a.m. on the Same Business, of the Singing Lecture — to write to Mr. Sumner etc. but I answered him as I did Capt. Fisher yesterday. P.M. Deacon Wood. here — brought a large Spare Rib, advised with him ab’t Singing Lecture and he approved of the Steps proposed. Mr. Peter Whitney, his Wife and Child, also Mr. Hammock, came over in a Sleigh to visit us, and N.B. Mr. Daniel Forbes was here, tarrying after the Company and gave me great Disquietment about the Support of my Family, what number in it they were willing to maintain, and what not — that 300 and my wood was an honorable sufficiency etc. But it was too apparent that he was put out of Humour by my consulting him about my advising the Singers to invite the Choristers to lead in the proposed plan of the Singing Lecture. For he said those men had been too much courted already, and had conducted but indecently towards the Singers; so that they did not deserve such respect to be shown them. On the other Hand, I conceived it would be most prudent in me, in time of so much Difficulty, to advise to a Method that must needs be most conciliating, and prevent further Complaint. May God graciously impart the Wisdom that may be profitable to direct, under such trying Circumstances.
1779 January 27 (Wednesday). Mr. Newton, at eve, after his sledding wood today, thinks he has brought the Quantity agreed for: but it was not so in my Memorandum Book.
1779 January 28 (Thursday). Mr. Newton brings more wood, and brings his own Account which I copy and cast up, but we find that now he has brought enough to make up 35 cord. Mr. N. Maynard junior came with a load of six feet: half of which was for Mr. Joseph Green, and the other half for Mr. Newton. There is still more wood brought out from the Lot to Beeton’s: the charge for cutting and sledding out so far, he throws in, and we part in peace. One Mr. Wm. Parkhurse of Coi’s Hill, calls to inform that on Monday deceased and yesterday was buryed Mr. Benjamin Bradshaw at Brookfield!!! May God graciously support all of us under this His holy Stroke! Especially may my Grand Daughter have grace to improve suitably this Sorrowful Bereavement! At eve Mr. Eli Whitney and Mr. Elisha Parker here, and desire me to appoint a Singing Lecture, and to write to Mr. Sumner to come and preach it: on Thursday next (the 4th of February) at 2 p.m. Breck, Suse with her Baby, Molly Pratt, go in a Double Sleigh, and Mr. Elijah Brigham and Sophy are with them to Mr. Daniel Grout’s at Grafton. Elias and Timothy to the Singing School (as hearers) at Mr. Barn. Newton’s. We have the sad news that Mr. Peter Adams, heretofore of this Town (son of the late Mr. Eliphalet Adams) was suddenly killed by the Falling of a Tree, at New Guildford N. H. May God sanctifie so awful a Dispensation to all Survivors, and in particular to the mournful Widow (who was Susanna Pratt of this place) and her Orphan Children!
1779 January 29 (Friday). This Day is memorable for the Sorrows I was plunged into in the year 36 (43 years since) when the first Partner of my Joys and Divider and Sharer of my Griefs was taken away: I remember still the Wormwood and the Gall — my Soul is yet humbled within me. May God grant me true and thorow Humiliation! I was interrupted by two setts of Company: first Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Davis, which rode over here to making a Visit, but especially by Rev. Grosvenor and his Wife and child, accompanied by Rev. Mr. Farrar and Mr. Grosvenor’s young Brother Nathan — in a Sleigh. All of them dined here. I wrote to Mr. Sumner and sent it by Mr. Elisha Parker to come and preach to the Singers next Thursday.
1779 January 30 (Saturday). Mr. Jonathan Maynard brought a load of Wood to me for Breck, in Return for a load which he borrowed of me, and Mr. Maynard brought gratis a load of that wood which Mr. Ch. Newton left at Beeton’s. N.B. Mr. Badcock has been with me to speak about the Singing (viz. how many times, and what times they desire to sing) on proposed Lecture Day. At eve Mr. Elisha Parker here, to let me know that Mr. Sumner will come (extras accepted) to preach the proposed Lecture, and asks me to his on Wednesday.
1779 January 31 (Sunday). I preached on Mat. 22.39. P.M. repeated Sermon 1 on 2 Cor. 3.15, but read from X. 12 because of the long Explication of the Context, proceeded to the forepart of the Amplification in p. 5 and added cotempore. I appointed a Singing Lecture to be next Thursday at 2 p.m. Dr. Hawes delivered me a Packet from Col. White, Rept. for Rochester. I found it contained principally Rev. Mr. West’s (of Dartmouth) anniversary Sermon at Plymouth, Dec. 22, 1777 with a folio letter of his to me, in six numbers, opening further the prophecy’s in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, and the Revelation, which as he conjectures, point at the present Times in America, accompanyed by a letter from my son Moore, and his Transcript of Mr. West’s Letter of (16 pages octavo) lest I should not be able to read Mr. West’s autography. Which were very acceptable. In the evening, read Mr. West’s sermon above mentioned, as well as Mr. Moore’s letter. Thus I finish this month, and may a gracious God forgive the Miscarriages and Deficientys [sic] I have been chargeable with! And the Day past in Special!
Samuel West (1730-1807), An anniversary sermon, preached at Plymouth, December 22d, 1777. In grateful memory of the first landing of our pious New-England ancesters [sic] in that place, A.D. 1620 (Boston: Draper and Folsom, [1778?]; Evans 43594).