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ingham of Milford, were appointed by the legislature of the colony, the chaplains of the Connecticut troops in a military expedition, designed for Canada. He left Windsor for NewHaven in July. A fleet consisting of twenty men of war and eighty transports, sailed for Canada on the 30th of that month. Three companies under the command of Lieut. Col. Livingston, marched from New-Haven for Albany on the 9th of August, with whom went Mr. Edwards and Mr. Buckingham. The country through which their march lay, was at that time chiefly uncleared; and the troops were obliged two nights to lie out in the forest. They reached Albany on the 15th, and found there, including their own regiment, about 1100 whites and 120 Indians. The following letter, addressed to Mrs. Edwards from Albany, not only details the state of the expedition, but unfolds the character of the writer, and the circumstances of his family.
"To Mrs. Esther Edwards, on the east side of Connecticut River, in Windsor.
"MY DEAR AND LOVING wife,
"Albany, August 17, 1711.
"The last Wednesday we came to this place. That we might not travel too hard for the footmen of our troops, (which consisted but of half the regiment, the rest not marching out of New-Haven when we did,) we spent seven days in the journey, which Col. Livingston judges to be about 160 miles, and I am apt to think it may not be much short of it. I lay with our troops two nights in the woods. I took cold in my journey, and have something of a cough, and am otherwise not much amiss. Notwithstanding this, I am able to travel, and hope I shall be so through the whole journey. Col. Livingston has been very careful of me, so that through the whole march, both as to diet and lodging, I fared as well in the main as himself. The rest of the officers and the troops carry themselves as well to me as I can expect or desire.
"Here are about 1100 white men (or will be, at least, when the rest of the regiment come up, whom we expect to-night,) and 120 Indians, beside what are expected of the Five Nations, which many here think will be 1600 or 1800 men, but Col. Schuyler told me that he did not expect more than 1000. About 200 or 250 more whites are expected; so that the whole army that goes to Canada is like to be about 2500 men ; to carry whom over the lake, there are provided, as I am told here, 350 batteaux and 40 or 50 bark canoes. The Governor of New-York and the General are here. The general is in great haste to have the forces on their march; so that Col.
Schuyler's regiment was, as I understand, ordered to march out of town yesterday; but as I slept last night, and still am, on the east side of the river, I am uncertain whether they are yet gone. The General told Col. Livingston, and me also afterwards, that we must march for Wood Creek to-morrow, but I am apt to think we shall hardly march 'till Monday.
"Whether I shall have any time to write to you after this I know not; but however that may be, I would not have you discouraged or over anxious concerning me, for I am not so about myself. I have still strong hopes of seeing thee and our dear children once again. I cannot but hope that I have had the gracious presence of God with me since I left home, encouraging and strengthening my soul, as well as preserving my life. I have been much cheered and refreshed respecting this great undertaking, in which I verily expect to proceed, and that I shall, before many weeks are at an end, see Canada; but I trust in the Lord that he will have mercy on me, and thee, my dear, and all our dear children, and that God has more work for me to do in the place where I have dwelt for many years, and that you and I shall yet live together on earth, as well as dwell together forever in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ, and all his saints; with whom to be is best of all.
"Remember my love to each of the children, to Esther, Elizabeth, Anne, Mary, Jonathan, Eunice and Abigail. The Lord have mercy on and eternally save them all, with our dear little Jerusha ! The Lord bind up their souls with thine and mine in the bundle of life. Tell the children, that I would have them, if they desire to see their father again, to pray daily for me in secret; and above all things to seek the grace and favor of God in Christ, and that while they are young.
"I would have you very careful of my books and account of rates. I sent you from New-Haven a 40s bill in a letter by Lieut. Willis, and since that, ordered the Treasurer to deliver to my father six pounds more for you. You may call for it or send for it by some sure hand.
"Though for a while we must be absent from each other, yet I desire that we may often meet at the throne of grace in our earnest prayers one for another, and have great hopes that God will hear and answer our prayers. The God of grace I am thy loving husband,
On Monday, August 20th, they marched for Wood Creek. At Saratoga, in consequence of the fatigues and exposure of the march, Mr. Edwards was taken severely ill. On the 4th of September, being unable to proceed with the army, he was
conveyed in a boat to Stillwater. Thence he was carried back chouch the woods to Albany, where he arrived in three days in a state of extreme danger. On the 10th he wrote to Mrs. Edwards as follows.
"To Mrs. Esther Edwards in Windsor, N. England.
"Albany, Sept. 10th, 1711.
"I came last Tuesday from Saratoga towards Albany, very ill, in order to return home; having been ill more than a month, and growing at last so weak that I could go no farther than that place, which is near fifty miles above Albany. I came to Albany in a waggon, lying along in a bed prepared for me, last Thursday night. Since then I have been at the house of Madam Vandyke, a Dutch gentlewoman, where I have been so kindly taken care of, that I am much better, and daily gain strength, and my lost appetite is somewhat recovered. I hope to be able to ride homeward next week.
"Last Friday I sent Mr Hezekiah Mason to N. England, to acquaint my father and my friends at Windsor how it is with me, and to desire three or four of them to come hither and to bring an easy horse with them for me to ride upon, and to come provided to carry home my effects, and to bring a blanket or two with them in case we should be forced to sleep in the woods. I should have written by him, but was too ill to do it. This is the first day I have been able to sit up. If the neighbors have not started when you receive this, speak to Mr. Drake that they set out as soon as possible.
"I rejoice to learn, by a letter from my father, that you were all well on the 2d, and hope in the mercy of God to see you all ere long.
"Lieut. Silvy, sent over by the Queen to serve in this expedition, a stout, active young man, who came sick with me in another waggon from the camp to Albany, died this evening just by my lodgings. We came together from the camp sick, we lay together in one room by the way sick, we lodged just by one another several days in this town sick-but he is dead, and I am alive and recovering. Blessed be God for his distinguishing and undeserved grace and favor to me! Remember my love to all the children. Give my respects to Mr. Colton, who, I understand, stays with you. I wish you to provide something for my cough, which is the worst I ever had in my life. Remember my love to sister Staughton and my duty to my father and mother, if you have opportunity. TIMOTHY EDWARDS."
"I am your very affectionately loving husband,
in the course of the month Mr. Edwards returneu' ior
Mr. and Mrs. Edwards lived together in the married state upwards of sixty-three years. Mr. Edwards was about five feet ten inches in height; of a fair complexion; of a strong, robust frame; full, but not corpulent. He was a man of polished manners, particularly attentive to his dress, and to propriety of exterior: never appearing in public but in the full dress of a clergyman.
The management not only of his domestic concerns, but of his property generally, was entrusted to the care of Mrs. Edwards, who discharged the duties of a wife and a mother with singular fidelity and success. In strength of character she resembled her father; and like him she left behind her, in the place where she resided for seventy-six years, that "good name, which is better than precious ointment." On a visit to East Windsor, in the summer of 1823, I found a considerable number of persons advanced in years, who had been well acquainted with Mrs. Edwards, and two upwards of ninety, who had been pupils of her husband. From them I learned that she received a superior education in Boston, was tall, dignified and commanding in her appearance, affable and gentle in her manners, and was regarded as surpassing her husband in native vigor of understanding. They all united in speaking of her as possessed of remarkable judgment and prudence, of an exact sense of propriety, of extensive information, of a thorough knowledge of the scriptures and of theology, and of singular conscientiousness, piety and excellence of character. By her careful attention to all his domestic concerns, her husband was left at full liberty to devote himself to the proper duties of his profession. Like many of the clergy of that early period in New-England, he was well acquainted with Hebrew literature, and was regarded as a man of more than usual learning; but was particularly distinguished for his accurate knowledge of the Greek and Roman classics. In addition to his other duties, he annually prepared a number of pupils for college; there being at that time no academies or public schools endowed for this purpose. One of my aged informants, who pursued his preparatory studies under him, told me, that on his admission to college, when the officers had learned with whom he had studied, they remarked to him, that there was no need of examining Mr. Edwards' scholars.
He was, for that period, unusually liberal and enlightened, with regard to the education of his children--preparing not only his son, but each of his daughters also, for college. In
a letter, bearing date Aug. 3, 1711, while absent on the expedition to Canada, he wishes that Jonathan and the girls may continue to prosecute the study of Latin; and in another of Aug. 7, that he may continue to recite his Latin to his elder sisters. When his daughters were of the proper age, he sent them to Boston to finish their education. Both he and Mrs. Edwards were exemplary in their care of their religious instruction; and, as the reward of their parental fidelity, were permitted to see the fruits of piety in them all during their youth. He always preached extemporaneously, and, until he was upwards of seventy, without noting down the heads of his discourse. After that time, he commonly wrote the divisions on small slips of paper; which, as they occasionally appeared beyond the leaves of the Bible, that he held in his hand, his parishioners called, "Mr. Edwards' thumb papers." Apologizing for this one day to one of his pupils, he remarked to him, that he found his memory beginning to fail, but that he thought his judgment as sound as ever; and this was likewise the opinion of his people till near the close of his life. He is not known to have written out but a single sermon; which was preached at the General Election, in 1732, and was published. It is a solemn and faithful application of the doctrine of a general judgment to his hearers, particularly as legislators and magistrates. As he lived till within a few months of his son's decease, the latter often visited his father and preached in his desk. It was the customary remark of the people, that "although Mr. Edwards was perhaps the more learned man, and more animated in his manner, yet Mr. Jonathan was the deeper preacher."
His influence over his congregation was commanding, and was steadily exerted on the side of truth and righteousness. When he knew of any division among them, he went immediately to see that the parties were reconciled; and when he heard of any improper conduct on the part of any individuals, it was his uniform custom to go and reprove them. Under his preaching, the gospel was attended with a regular, uniform efficacy, and in frequent instances, with revivals of religion; yet no record is preserved of the actual admissions to the church. From some of the family letters, I find incidental mention of a revival of religion, as existing in 1715 and 1716; during which Mrs. Edwards, and two of her daughters, made a profession of their christian faith; and several others of the family are spoken of, as "travelling towards Zion with their faces thitherward." His son observes, in 1737, that he had known of no parish in the west of New-England, except Northampton, which had as often been favoured with revivals of religion, as that of his father.