February 1, 1744

1744 February 1 (Wednesday).  Mr. Hall came and preach’d my Lecture on Luke 21.36, which Lecture I was the more willing to appoint both because of our Standing so much in need of Quickening and Awakening — and because it happen’d to be the first Wednesday of the Month, according to the manner of our beginning the Lectures last Year.  Reverend Mr. Cushing here.  Mr. Coollidge also din’d with us.  N.B. After Lecture Captain Hazeltine[1] came with a message from Upton Church to Mr. Hall and me, acquainting us with their increasing Divisions and praying that Five Ministers would go over on the 14 Day of the Month and endeavour their Help.  The other Ministers Mr. Peabody,[2] Mr. Bliss, and Mr. Prentice of Grafton.  But he brought no Letters for the Church did not go into the form of voting as a Church nor would Mr. Weld lead them into any, nor make any Records thereof — but they had mutually agreed to choose by Partys each side Two, and then to pitch upon one in which both could agree — and to these Things Mr. Weld[3] Consented — and he the said Messenger was come in the Name of the Church accordingly.  We Consented to go and I wrote to Mr. Peabody, committing it to Mr. Hall who was going to Framingham to forward it.  N.B. Mr. Jonathan Burnap[4] in the Evening here.  Disturbances in Hopkinton are risen to great Heights and Richard and Nathaniel Smith[5] are sent to Jayl for breaking up the Worship last Sabbath.  Great Troubles also in Leicester.  Reverend Mr. Goddard,[6] in such Darkness about his own State that the last Sabbath, though Communion Day, he went not out to preach, but Captain Denny[7] going to him he sent a Letter to the People.

[1]John Hazeltine, a prominent resident of Upton.

[2]Rev. Oliver Peabody of Natick.

[3]Rev. Thomas Weld of Upton.

[4]Of Hopkinton.

[5]See SHG, 6:430, and Manual of the First Congregational Church in Hopkinton, Mass. (Boston, 1881), 27-28.

[6]David Goddard, a New-Light minister at Leicester.

[7]Daniel Denny of Leicester.  Emory Washburn, Historical Sketches of the Town of Leicester (Boston, 1860), 354-55.

February 2, 1744

1744 February 2 (Thursday).  I gave Mr. Coollidge what Serious and affectionate Admonitions I could.  The Lord add his Blessing!  My wife and I rode over to Mrs. McAllisters to visit her in great Trouble and near her time.  N.B. Mrs. Thankful Rice[1] met me with a Confession written with her own Hand of her Drunkenness — but could not give her Encouragement that I would read it, except she would reform, at least give better Tokens of it than she had ever yet done.  The Comet appears larger, the Stream from it much greater than a Month agoe.

[1]Wife of Josiah Rice.

February 3, 1744

1744 February 3 (Friday).  David Crossby[1] who lately made me a pair of Boots price 3.12.0 which I paid him for.  N.B. I had some free Converse with him concerning the Excesses of some in these Times.  He din’d with us.  Sent by him to Reverend Mr. Townsend[2] of Needham.

[1]Shoemaker of Shrewsbury.

[2]Rev. Jonathan Townsend (HC 1716), minister at Needham, 1720-1762.  SHG 6:150-53.

February 11, 1744

1744 February 11 (Saturday).  A Smart Snow Storm, but clear’d off p.m.  The Time appointed for Mrs. Wheelers buryal is the forenoon, so that I could not attend it.  But in the afternoon I borrow’d an Horse and went to meet them at the Grave; but meeting the young man (who return’d the buryal Cloth) a little beyond Captain Maynards, I return’d.  Have the trouble of daily dressing my Mares Legg ever since my ride to Mr. McAllisters.[1]

[1]John McAllister of the north part of Westborough.

February 14, 1744

1744 February 14 (Tuesday).  In my riding to Upton I call’d at Mr. Thurstons[1] who acquaints me that a Number of North Side people met those of the South, last night at Captain Fays[2] to gather subscriptions to a petition to the General Court that the Town may be divided.  At the Same Meeting Eliezer Rice broke his legg by wrestling with Silas Pratt.  I proceeded to Upton and met Mr. Prentice of Grafton on the Road.  We went to Mr. Sadlers[3] — waited for Mr. Hall, but in Vain.  Heard that neither Mr. Peabody nor Mr. Bliss were like to come.  But we at length proceeded to Lieutenant Tafts, where we were directed to Meet — and at 10 o’clock but I had no word of either Time or place whereas Mr. Prentice had a formal Letter from a Number of the Brethren Signifying both (I think) distinctly.  At Lieutenant Tafts were the Brethren gather’d, and there we found not only Mr. Weld, but Mr. Peabody, who had been waiting an Hour or Two for our Coming.  We din’d and then conferr’d together.  Mr. Weld was with us when we pray’d by our Selves (which fell to me to perform), But he was absent for an hour or Two after it while we Settl’d ourselves.  When the Church came in Mr. Peabody pray’d.  After which we made some Overtures but Considering that Five of those which the major part of the Church (as that party was who were against Mr. Weld) had chose, had not come they were against Submitting their Cause to us.  We saw it was in Vain to try to reconcile them.  Neither could we do any thing that would be likely to End well, and therefor determin’d to advise them to Choose a Council.  This we conducted to Effect and assisted them in forming all the votes, and watch’d over them through the whole Affair (Except in the Nominations, and upon their nominating Mr. Peabody and me we each of us as modestly as we could declin’d) but they finish’d the whole that night though it was late and almost worried me down.  Mr. Prentice pray’d before we broke up.  Mr. Peabody is requested by Mr. Weld to preach a sermon in the forenoon tomorrow before he leaves the place, and I am desir’d to preach p.m.  Thus we disperse.  Mr. Peabody and I lodged together.

[1]Joseph Thurston of Westborough.

[2]Deacon John Fay of Westborough.

[3]Capt. John Sadler of Upton.

February 15, 1744

1744 February 15 (Wednesday).  By Day we wake with the Silent sight of a Young Fellow in the room getting up from his Girl in the t’other Bed in the Same Room with us.  Astonishing Boldness and Impudence! nor could we let the Girl go off without a brief Lecture.  But we kept the matter for the Parents for the Time.  We all broke Fast at Mr. Nelsons.  Mr. Peabody preach’d an Excellent sermon on Col. 1.27, latter part, and after sermon left us.  I din’d in quiet at Deacon Nelsons with Mr. Weld, Mr. Dorr and his Daughter, for I had obtain’d leave to do as I would about the Afternoon Exercise, and I saw so much of the extra fervency of many of the people to have Mr. Prentice preach that I gave way.  He din’d at Mr. Sadlers — and he preach’d p.m. on Exod. 5.10 latter part, and 11.12.  At Eve I rode up to Captain Hazzletines and thence (accompany’d by Mr. Fisk[1] of Upton to pilot me) got over safe to Westborough and found my Family well, after the troublesome Turn.

[1]Ebenezer Fisk.

February 16, 1744

1744 February 16 (Thursday).  Dr. Smith here with Mr. Bucknams sermons.[1]  Paul Fay here.  Captain Fay[2] at Evening who brought a Letter for [sic] our Young schoolmaster Richard Roberts, unbosoming his Troubles and griefs.

[1]Rev. Nathan Bucknam of Medway published Ability to, and Fidelity in the Ministry…Preach’d at Shrewsbury…October 26, 1743 (Boston, 1743).

[2] Capt. John Fay.

February 19, 1744

1744 February 19 (Sunday).  On Job 36.24.25.  Jer. 8.5.  I Stopp’d the Church to read Upton Church Letter.  Voted to Comply with their Request But insisted for Two Delegates — and Two Brethren insisted for the Choices to be by written Votes.  Deacon Forbush had the most votes the first Time, and Mr. Nathaniel Whitney the second but neither of them the majority of the whole.  Some Debate arose and I was very uneasy to have this Interruption on the Lords Day; I therefore adjourn’d to next Tuesday one o’Clock.  I inadvertently Said those persons were chose — designing no other than to let the Church know how the Votes stood — and that the Majority of the Church was not for them and I actually Said I know this is not the Mind of the Church, And it being the Sabbath I conceiv’d they would either confirm them that had the most Votes or take some other short Method.  But Captain Baker in Heat Said it was Collusion etc.  Upon which I meekly pray’d him to be satisfy’d and overlook it, for it was verily my own Inadvertence that I did not expect such a choice, was willing the Church Should have their own Choice.  Mr. Coollidge here at noon.

February 21, 1744

1744 February 21 (Tuesday).  Jedidiah Rice[1] went Early in the Morn with a Letter to Mr. Prentice of Grafton, and return’d me Mr. Prentices answer.  Brother Hicks for Cambridge.  Robert Evans Leather Dresser and seller, here and I bought Two of him.  He din’d with us.  Church Meeting by Adjournment.  After Prayer we proceeded to Choose Delegates for the Council at Upton.  Brother Francis Whipple and Deacon Newton were Chosen, and no Difficulty arose.  All, or the Chief, Debate we had was from my recommending it to them previous to the Choice that no Brother ought to be Chose who had Interest in that Town.  The Members of the Council Should be disinterested persons.  It was upon this mov’d to me that no Inhabitant of Upton might vote; which was freely yielded to.  After this Affair I pray’d the Church to take into (which took off Brother Zebulon Rice) consideration the Case of Neighbour Cornelius Cook;[2] and the Church saw cause to send a Committee to him, viz. Deacon Forbush, Brother James Bradish and Brother James Bradish junior.  With Prayer and Blessing the Meeting Concluded.  Before Captain Baker went home I had a little Conference with him upon his unreasonable Warmth respecting my undesign’d and (as to me) innocent Oversight on the Lords Day, and I told him it may be he did not know the Meaning of the Word Collusion, which imply’d that there was intent to Deceive.  He did not make any Reply to that, but said it look’d to him at the Juncture of my declaring those men Chosen that I design’d to let it go if they (He and Brother Whipple) had not Spoke — which verily I hope I should not.  He spake about a fair and full meeting of the Church, and upon asking him what he intended by that?  He answer’d he meant when the North side was duly Notify’d.  I told him the Church was notify’d publickly in the Appointed place; and if any did absent themselves I could not either go after them or hire a man to goe round like a Constable to Warn them.  As for their drawing off, it had never been in such good Order as they ought to have done it in.  They had never acquaint’d the Church though under Covenant to hold Communion and though I had advis’d them to consider their Duty.  I told him that Certainly as to Such peculiar pains and Trouble to notifie them they did not Deserve it.  This expression he did not desire to hear.  But for the foresaid Reasons and their late Conduct toward me in Cutting off my support, I thought to be just and fitt, upon which he declar’d himself Satisfy’d.

[1]Son of Perez Rice.

[2]Cook was guilty of “profane swearing.”  In January, 1743, when Cook’s confession of this offense was read to the church, not one member voted to accept it.

February 22, 1744

1744 February 22 (Wednesday).  Mrs. Bacon of Needham and her Daughter Rice of Worcester here, brought me a Letter from Reverend Mr. Townsend[1] concerning  Some Books he had of Mine (Lord Kings Biography) and some I had of his (Echards Eccl. Hist.).[2]

[1]Rev. Jonathan Townsend of Needham.

[2]Laurence Echard (1670?-1730), the English historian, published A General Ecclesiastical History from the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour to the First Establishment of Christianity by Humane Laws under Emperour Constantine the Great (London, 1702).