February 1, 1780

1780 February 1 (Tuesday).  I am reading Lord Chesterfield’s Letters.  I highly prize some of them.  They shew him to be a man of very extensive Learning and Sagacity.  Read Mr. Isaac Foster’s sermon on Luke 2.14 delivered at New Salem June 9 last at the Ordination of Mr. Joel Foster.  P.M. I went to Mr. B. Newton’s — reckoned and paid all by a note to Constable John Harrington.  Was at Capt. Fisher’s, at Mr. Graves and Nichols.  Mrs. P. was at Deacon Wood’s, where I drank Tea.  We walked on the Top of the Snow, which was many times as high as the Top of the Fence.

February 3, 1780

1780 February 3 (Thursday).  I walked over to see old Mrs. Kelly and prayed with her — dined there (at Mr. Beeton’s).  Called at Mr. Ebenezer Maynard’s and at old Mr. Pratt’s.  At my return here was Lieut. Marble.  Mrs. Lambson etc. who drank Tea here.  N.B. Breck to Boston — gave him 126 Dollars towards an Hatt for Elias.  Sent by him a letter to Mr. Quincy to be left at Mr. Pattins for Conveyance.

February 6, 1780

1780 February 6 (Sunday).  I was much indisposed still both last night and today.  N.B. I was in my preaching a.m.  I was very unable to see what I had written in my Notes, by reason of the Lines appearing in Rinkles.  I carryed no Spectacles — borrowed Deacon Wood’s, but to no purpose.  I was able to give some account of what I had prepared, though not Verbatim.  After a while could see more distinctly, preached on Zech. VI.15.  Breck and his Family dined with us.  So did Mrs. Maynard and her son Brigham.  Have head the sorrowful news of the Death of our Brother of the Association — the Rev. Thomas Goss of Bolton by a Fever.  The Lord sanctifie this Providence to me, to the mournful Widow, the bereaved Children, to the Association of which he was a Member, but especially the Church of which he was Pastor, and to the whole people of Bolton!  That now they may be directed into methods of Peace, and the new Church especially may be wholly settled and edified.  P.M. I preached on Ps. 55.22, former part (which I delivered in Oct. 1773), now to the end of page 8.  Which may God graciously succeed!  In the evening Exercise, Breck read Fleming’s Confirming Work.

February 9, 1780

1780 February 9 (Wednesday).  Elias goes with Breck and others to break the Roads to Southborough.  Mr. Daniel Forbes from Brookfield, Mr. Isaac Pratt of Hardwick.  N.B. I am troubled that Elias should so readily leave his Books to join with them whose Gain and Interest prompted to clear the roads for their Teams to be going again, seeing that he could have no great Inducement, but Benevolence, public Spirit etc. which had been sufficiently served by five times before now, exposing himself in Cold and Dangers by Night and by Day in this work and all of it Gratis.  This Sixth Time, when his own Time is so extremely precious in which he has so much to read and write before he can be fit to return to his College Exercises again.  And yet this is not the most trying.  He is planning an unseasonable journey to Cambridge to fetch a Table from thence; now at the very Day when the Vacancy is finished, and he should go to stay there, the rather because he has been absent from the Recitations so long, that he ought to be one of the first that returns at this Term.  He proposes also to go and return incog. presuming that the Vacancy is prolonged by reason of the difficult stirring and enormous price of wood.

February 10, 1780

1780 February 10 (Thursday).  The plan for going to Cambridge is so ripened that I can’t defeat it.  The affair is chiefly Breck’s, who loads a sleigh with Grain etc. and loads up with Rum — has provided two Horses as well as the Sleigh.  And his Brother Josiah Brigham was to go down to Watertown therewith, but Elias is so urgent to undertake it, and has already agreed to go with David Fay, who is going likewise, that this morning to my no small Disquietment, sat out.  Master Hazletine dined with us.  P.M. Elias returns, not being able to proceed on his Journey.

February 15, 1780

1780 February 15 (Tuesday).  Walked to Mr. Nurse’s on various small Affairs.  The air is exceeding thick.  P.M. it rains, the snow wastes.  I finish Lord Chesterfield’s first volume.  Many admirable Excellencys in these Letters, and they evidence him a Man of great Understanding, extensive Reading and accurate Taste, and yet too extremely indulgent to his Son’s Pleasures — throws him into dangers that it must be a Miracle if he escapes.  And what affectionate wise, pious Parent could find in his Heart to take such pains to breed him to be a Man of this World, to the so shameful neglect and Inattention to another!  notwithstanding all the Care of his Religion devolved upon his Preceptor; who he ought at least to have seconded.  At eve a Storm of Wind and Rain which beat vehemently, yet unexpectedly Elias came home from Cambridge, brought Rum for Breck and a valuable, though old fashioned chamber Table, with large slate in the Middle, for himselfe.  He got through the Storm with great Difficulty.

February 16, 1780

1780 February 16 (Wednesday).  A fine day after such a violent Storm.  The Snow is much sunk, but it is so pervaded by the Rain that the Creatures slump very deep, and no Horse can pass the Road.  I begin to read Lord Chesterfield’s 2nd Vol.  I am called away to visit old Mrs. Baker.  Two young men Enoch Greenwood and John Baker draw me on a Sled to the House.  She is very low and in great Distress for want of Breath.  She is able to say but very little.  I at her request prayed with her.  The same young men brought me home.  May God prepare me for my own Turn!

February 17, 1780

1780 February 17 (Thursday).  Mrs. Baker expired last eve a little after I left her.  May God grant His Omnipotent Grace to Survivors!  Mr. Sam’l Harrington of New Braintree here.  Mrs. P. and I dined at Breck’s.  Our lowest and best well has been, ever since the great Storm, froze up and filled with Snow that we have not been able to use it, till today, when we got it open.

February 19, 1780

1780 February 19 (Saturday).  Squire sent a Sleigh for me to go to his House.  Mrs. P., Sophy, Suse with her child, and little Suse of Concord rode with me, to the House of Mourning.  I prayed at the Solemnity.  N.B. Breck, Elias, Josiah Brigham, the two Williams (Winchester and Spring) there.  Rev. Bowman and his Wife came after prayer.  I did not go in to the Burying place.  I could not comfortably, especially stand on the snow.  I came home.  Breck and his Family dined with us.  P.M. Pursued my preparations.

February 20, 1780

1780 February 20 (Sunday).  Rev. Mr. Bowman, who attended the Funeral yesterday, came in the morning to my Assistance.  In the Assembly, I prayed first, Mr. B. preached a.m. on Phil. 4.11.  P.M. he both prayed and preached.  His text was Matt. VII.24-27.  At eve, he repeated the latter sermon, but did not lodge here, he returned to his spouse at Squire Bakers.  At dinner were poor Deacon Miles and Master Hazzletine.  May God graciously awaken and quicken us!

February 21, 1780

1780 February 21 (Monday).  Elias went with me in the Sleigh to visit aged Mr. James Maynard, who being weak and decaying, desired Prayers yesterday — found him better and conversible — was not asked to pray.  I went in to Amasa’s.  N.B. Though Amasa has kept House above twenty years, yet had never lift up his Hand for Minister’s Sallery.  At eve, came William’s brother Jonathan from Ashburnham, and brought him Shirts and Frock and Shooes and Stockings etc.  He lodges here.  Mr. Bowman and his Lady made us an evening Visit.  N.B. His people make very little provision for him.

February 25, 1780

1780 February 25 (Friday).  Mr. Buckminster and his Brother Col. William call here.  N.B. Mr. B. owns to me that he is the Author of the Letter which is advertised to be printed.  He tells me also that in his Paraphrase on Romans 10.4, p. 13 by “another in his Neighborhood” he means Mr. Mellen of Chauxit, in his large Book, on Justification.  My Daughter in-law receives a young Cow which her Father Brigham gives her.  She is put into my Barn to be kept.

February 29, 1780

1780 February 29 (Tuesday).  I have spent time in reading Lord Chesterfield and cant but take notice again that a Father with so much Learning and Sensibility has so little to say to a Son in whom his Soul is so bound up, about Religion and the Eternal Condition of his immortal part.  As much pleasure of mind as I feel for my son Elias’s Education and Settlement in the World or Serviceableness in his Generation, yet I have (I think) quite other Solicitude about his most inestimable Interest, that of his Soul, and his Condition in another, an unchangeable State in another world.  And O that God would grant him, and each of my dear Children His renewing and sanctifying Spirit!  Breck removes to lodge here, Suse and the Children also.  Miss Polly Howard makes us a visit and tarrys with us. We have now a pritty round Family, of the whole.