1728 March 3 (Sunday). I preach’d on Is. 1.4, both a. and p.m. I was not a little affected in the afternoon. I request of God to make these sermons profitable to my Self as well as to others that I may deplore my own Iniquities with which as I have been laden with the guilt of them. So God grant that I may be after a godly Sort weary and heavy laden, so under a sense of them that I may be a true mourner for the Sins of others and lament over the Calamities of the Land!
1728 March 4 (Monday). My wife and Child brought home by brother Champney. It was a warm Day, the Snow therefore Soft and the wayes heavy and tiresome, but (Thanks to God alone) got home well. Dr. Gott here but not a long time.
1728 March 5 (Tuesday). I was at Mr. Newtons where was The Ensign and we had pritty much Discourse about our Troubles in Town and the Ensign Said Things had never laid Easy with a certain person ever Sins [sic] Our church Covenant was chosen and my refusing a Quitclaim to Mr. Elmer, which that person had himself written and offer’d me to sign; and that Things Still lay brooding, etc.
Josiah Newton of Westborough.
Thomas Newton, cousin of Josiah.
Reverend Daniel Elmer, formerly a preacher at Westborough.
1728 March 6 (Wednesday). Brother Champney went home. In the Afternoon Mr. Thomas Forbush was here on the Business of his Children, parted quiet though there had been Some warm Discourse. Just after I was got to Bed (about 3/4 after Eleven) we were afrighted by the awfull sound of the Earthquake. All that were awake heard it. I lay awake an hour and half, but hearing nothing I Compos’d to sleep. God be prais’d from my Soul for his wonderous Deliverances. Let me never forget his Benefits.
Prominent early settler of Westborough.
1728 March 7 (Thursday). It being Family meeting at Mr. Forbush’s and earnestly desir’d by him to be present thereat I went to Mr. Forbush’s and repeated a Discourse from John [blank]. After the Exercises Mr. McCollister and Asher Rice requested a Church Meeting which I comply’d with, that is to See whether the Church would consider and Act upon it seeing it is a mix’d Case, etc. Visit’d Lieutenant’s wife who was very low. Riding home Mr. Wheeler set forth the uneasiness people were in on the account of Mr. Newton, and that some, truly, could be scarcely kept from falling upon my Self Seeing I would not let it come forward, whereas I had alwayes declar’d that I waited for nothing more than to have it brought into a proper fitness for the Church to hear. Captain Fay and his wife, Wheeler and James Ball stopt at my house.
Reference to the quarrel between Josiah Newton and Asher Rice.
John Fay of Westborough.
1728 March 8, 9 (Friday, Saturday). I was full of Concern and hearty Prayer on account of the threatening Evils.
1728 March 10 (Sunday). Not very well in the morning and at noon but God strengthening I went through the Exercises. Preach’d a. and p.m. from Isa. 1.5. Church meeting appointed. Full of hearty Concern and I hope mainly for the Glory of God and the Interests of the Souls of Men, for I find no great value for whatever Temporal Interests I can find in this Town.
In the Church Records of this date it is indicated that a number of people were “Complaining of Josiah Newton’s deceiving them in his administration in the office of Military Clerk.”
1728 March 11 (Monday). The Church met. I had great fear of disorder, but by the favour of God we went on smooth. Mr. Forbush, just before meeting began, told me I should have wisdom to take Care of my Self but people Said now Mr. Parkman’s undone — but this person has frequently enough shown that his Passions forc’d him to Speak what makes much mischief, though the most ungrounded. I having given a Serious Discourse to keep us all upon our guard in all church matters and Read the Platform Ch. 10. I laid open the case and advis’d first to an arbitration. It was accepted by all. The chief trouble was to find arbitrators. Mr. Bradish excepted against Peres Rice. Said Mr. Newton had bragg’d he had got Mr. Parkman and Mr. Bradish of his Side and he car’d not for all the Church besides. This Information he said came from John Eames of Hopkinton. Mr. Newton declar’d he spake no Such thing nor had he seen John Eames. I openly clear’d my Self from being of either side and by Gods Grace I will remain impartial. The Arbitrators went out and took up the Time. When they came in they declar’d it their Opinion that if Mr. Newton had taken the money by deceit he should return it, but they enquired whether they ought to bring it to Trial whether he had deceiv’d, etc. I reply’d their work was yet to do. I desir’d they would go on and finish it this Evening or Some day Speedily — for they ought to clear off all that was of a Secular Nature in the Cause. It grew Dark. There was opposition by Peres Rice that the witnesses ought to be sworn, etc. I dismiss’d this Business and propos’d another affair for the Church’s Consideration, Advice and Concurrence in. That is the Case of Samuel Hardy and his Wife, etc. I desir’d the Brethren would give me their minds and make what opposition they would ever offer. When one or Two had spoke Peres Rice (who gave us more Trouble than any one this meeting) Said he thought we must either wait till the Civil part of the Case was dispatch’d, till either the Court had done with it or rather till it had been put to an arbitration (reflecting upon the manner of managing the other Business of his Brother Asher and Newton), but (thought there’s difficulty in keeping our Selves under Suitable Command under such girds) I calmly assur’d him it was a far different Case, etc.
The Church gave their Consent to my Proceeding with the said persons and granting them Priviledges if they should Seriously declare their innocence, etc., upon which we clos’d the Meeting. After prayer Asher desir’d it might still go on that He might be heard in what he had of a Distinct Case to be Heard. I told him the meeting was over. What if the Brethren Should hear it? I am indispos’d but they may mediate between you when I am retir’d home. It Satisfy’d him and the Church might, etc. His Speaking the word church confirmed me in it that he thought it would be as much the Church that would act in the Evening upon anything he should bring before them (as much I say) as before the prayer and Blessing and dismission of the meeting, and as much in my absence as when I was there. So that my Reply was thus, viz. But observe, it hasn’t been known that a Church can act (as a Church) without the Pastor, or make acts without the Pastor, which dash’d the whole and I returned home desiring the Arbitrators to finish their work as [soon as] possible and give me notice of it and when they Should desire it there might be (if needfull) another Church Meeting. Diverse came into my house with me. Mr. Tainter Supp’d with me. He agreed to keep my mare, I being short of Hay. Thus finish’d this troublesome Day. My Soul praise the Lord for his gracious assistances and Restraints; and the Lord forgive Every offence by me, and all the offences of my Brethren this Day! For Scarcely do any come off innocent when involv’d in Dissensions.
Son of Thomas Rice, an original settler, and brother of Asher Rice.
1728 March 13 (Wednesday). I sent my Mare to Mr. Tainters to be kept at his Stable. In the Evening at Mr. Forbush with demands upon Samuel Hardy and his Wife touching their Child, and upon the midwife, etc., etc. Call’d to see Lieutenant’s wife.
Read Dr. Sherlock on Divine Providence.
William Sherlock, A Discourse Concerning the Divine Providence (London 1694). Numerous other editions were printed.
1728 March 14 (Thursday). Mr. Eager with me in the Evening till late. Discourse the Quarrell with Mr. Newton. It was to have been our Lecture but, the above Said Troubles happening, and Mr. Barrett who was to have assisted me Sending word that He could not attend it, but Especially my Seeing reason for deferring the Sacrament, I put it by.
James Eager of Westborough.
1728 March 17 (Sunday). I preach’d on Mat. 10.29.30.
1728 March 18 (Monday). It appears to me of the Last Importance for the people of this Province to take heed to them Selves when they are proposing Holy Dayes to be kept unto God, for without they are duly observed they are Such grand pieces of Solemn Mockery that I cannot but Think God is greatly provok’d by them. They are Loathsome to him and he is weary to bear them. I cannot but conclude that one of the great Reasons of the Lords Controversie with this Land is taken from Hence. O therefore that Care may be taken about the Approaching Fast that it may not be in vain but a Fast that God hath Chosen!
1728 March 21 (Thursday). Publick Fast. I preach’d all Day upon Hosea 13.9. I would Lament that there are So many others that profane these Dayes of our Solemn Assemblies, but I have chiefly Reason to Reflect upon and condemn my Self who have not been suitably prepar’d for, nor have been So full and Sincere in my Humiliation to Day as I ought to have been.
1728 March 22 (Friday). Mr. Coolidge (having preach’d at Southborough yesterday) came up to see me, being conducted up by Mr. William Johnson, Junior, who last night as he was, with Mr. Bigolo, at their Saw-Mill, was Surprised with a very Conspicuous Aurora Borealis. Mr. Coolidge desir’d to Change with me the Sabbath Approaching and truly it was not unacceptable to me Seeing the Labors of this week have been already very great. And a person Sick at Mr. Thorntons whom I was requested to visit yesterday. When Mr. Collidge left me I rode from home to see Mr. Thorntons Daughter who was very Sick. At Mr. Eagers was Mr. Benjamin Flagg of Worcester who inform’d me of Mr. Elmer’s Death.
Samuel Coolidge (Harvard 1724), schoolmaster at Watertown. Sibley, VII, 326-331.
1728 March 23 (Saturday). Josiah Newton and John McCollister came to our house to hear the Arbitration of their Case, which the Arbitrators had sent by Edward Baker this morning. They (after I had discours’d a while with them) were heartily and lovingly reconcil’d (as things appear’d). I had some difficulty with Mrs. Byles about her sons Child, as I told her of the various objections I met with to oppose my Baptizing it as Deacon Tomlins, Mr. Wheelers and Bakers, etc. Mr. Collidge being come hither I rode to Southborough and Lodg’d at Mr. William Johnsons.
Wife of Captain Joseph Byles of Westborough.
1728 March 24 (Sunday). I preach’d at Southborough in the forenoon from John 15.14. Din’d at Mr. [blank] Johnsons. I preach’d in the afternoon from Ps. 95.7. Mr. Collidge came to Southborough in the Evening.
1728 March 25 (Monday). Mr. Coolidge and I rode to Marlborough. Upon the Road he gave me some account of the Sin and Misfortunes of Mr. Samuel Jeffords at Wells. I lodg’d at Mr. Brecks. I took advice of Mr. Breck touching our Affairs at Westborough.
Reverend Samuel Jefferds of Wells, Maine.
Reverend Robert Breck of Marlborough.
1728 March 26 (Tuesday). Return’d to Westborough.
1728 March 27 (Wednesday). Great Disquietments among us. I had trouble enough Every Day and Yet all that came to Me had the Reconciliation of our Two Brethren read to them (as those Brethren desir’d it might be) and Every person went away with the greatest Satisfaction. It was Suspected that I favour’d Mr. Newton which (if I can judge) I acted against, and was full in it that he ought to give Satisfaction to those he had offended for the wrong done them by Him.
1728 March 28 (Thursday). I Rode (with my wife) to Shrewsbury upon my Young Horse, and being disappointed by both Mr. and Mrs. Cushings absence from Home we presently returned to Westborough, but not home, we having determined to Visit Mr. Paterson. We went not only there [entry ends incomplete at this point].
Reverend Job Cushing of Shrewsbury.