March 10, 1744

1744 March 10 (Saturday).  I rose very Early and Committing my Case to God I went (as I was able) in his Fear and trusting in his goodness to Phinehas Hardys of Grafton and thence to Deacon Miriams,[1] He being one of the witnesses etc. as above.  He and his wife treated me with great Civility and Courteousness and generousness, of their own accord providing an Handsome Breakfast of Chocolat etc. etc. for me — and Deacon freely Said that what he remember’d of the Conversation we had with Wheeler he would faithfully relate and would Stand by Steadfastly.  He affirm’d that though he could not remember the particular words yet he did that the Drift and Substance of it imply’d his acknowledging that he was Guilty of Fornication with Lydia Pratt etc.  He said moreover that he had not refus’d to testify — but had refus’d to Complain of Wheeler, because he had privately forgiven him — But when lawfully call’d was able and was willing to say much more.  I ask’d him whether I could take minutes of what he said and he freely consented and Signed it.  He having repeatedly assur’d me that he would not fail me, I took leave, and return’d by Simon Tainters and Phinehas Hardy.  At Mr. Hardys I din’d.  He told me that His wife and He had heard Deacon Miriam say that Wheeler had heretofore deny’d, and then had confess’d his Guiltiness etc. — and they had both of them heard Mr. Harwood affirm the Same Concerning Himself, that Wheeler had deny’d it and then confess’d it to Him.  But James Harrington (they Said) was but just gone from their House who was positive that Wheeler had first ly’d and then owned etc.  Mr. Harrington was right in my road, so I took therefor a pen and Ink and Hardy and I went to him, who freely related the whole, was willing I should take minutes of it, and freely sign’d it before us who sign’d it as witnesses.  Hardy was so kind as to ride with me to Winchesters who took of me my letter of the 7th to Mr. Prentice, in order to Convey it — and he affirm’d before Mr. Hardy that the Letter he took of me was well seal’d; and that he deliver’d it So to John Cooper of Grafton to Convey as directed.  Having thus clear’d my way, I return’d Home about 3 p.m. to finish what preparations I could for the Sabbath, having look’d upon Myself as call’d and bound in Duty to look after this affair with what thoroughness I could, even though I Should be oblig’d to omitt making a fresh sermon for the afternoon tomorrow.  But having had such success in my Endeavours to secure my Innocence I was both thankful to God and Calm in my own Breast.  I would have visited Mr. Prentice if it had been another season — but as to his Injury done me in disclosing my Letter I look’d upon it as rather owing to his Inadvertence than wickedness and was ready to forgive it.

[1]Joseph Miriam, a pioneer of Grafton, who served as deacon for fifty-five years.  Pierce, Grafton, 532-533.